By Brooke Shafer

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Some employees in Hialeah will be getting bonus checks for their non-stop work during the pandemic.

Mayor Carlos Hernandez told CBS4 the $2,000 checks will be distributed in the next few days and will go to essential city employees, including police officers and firefighters.

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“Many of the departments here were open all through the coronavirus (pandemic) when it was really bad last year when most cities were closed,” said Mayor Hernandez at a press conference on Wednesday. “I’m very, very proud of the work of all of the employees of the city of Hialeah.”

The money for the bonus checks is part of the $66.8 million given to Hialeah through the American Rescue Plan Act. The funding amount was based on population.

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Hialeah will also spend about $22 million of those federal funds on water and sewer projects. Mayor Hernandez said city employees will be able to get essential projects done much faster with this already allocated federal funding. He said getting funding for these kinds of projects can typically take years, but Hialeah plans to have these water and sewer projects completed within about a year.

Another portion of the tens of millions of dollars for Hialeah will also help the city financially as the pandemic continues.

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“We lost revenues on services that we usually do, businesses were closing, and our expenses,” said Mayor Hernandez. “We were looking after vaccination centers, our offices were working overtime, our firefighters were working around the clock on overtime. So, if it weren’t for this federal assistance, I can tell you, not only the city of Hialeah, the majority of cities would be in very, very deep problems right now, financially.”