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This Georgia city is offering a monthly 'allowance' to first responders through a pilot program

The city claims it will encourage the workers to live in the communities they serve.

SOUTH FULTON, Ga. — The city of South Fulton is launching a pilot program in which they'll offer a monthly "allowance" for officers and firefighters.

According to a statement from the city, the payroll office will distribute up to $450 a month to go toward the rent or mortgage payments for the first responders. 

City officials claim the cash will encourage public safety personnel to live in the city they serve. Right now, only 27% of first responders who work in South Fulton also live there, according to the city. But 58% said they have interest in relocating.

"Living in the city allows our public safety staff to develop stronger ties with residents and other stakeholders,” City Manager Tammi Saddler Jones said. "It also fosters community involvement and engagement and translates into quicker response times in emergencies."

Leaders in South Fulton also claim this allowance will attract and maintain the best talent.

"Competition for experienced and skilled public safety employees has ramped up in the last year or two," Saddler Jones said. "This program allows us to employ the best in the field who will become even more qualified to serve our city because they live here."

The city said the money will be taxed. Eligible employees must have worked for the city for at least one year, must also rank as a police officer II or firefighter, and must live in South Fulton. They also have to provide proof of mortgage agreements and renters must show a lease or rent contract.

The pilot program will open on Feb. 1 and run through Sept. 30, which is the end of the fiscal year. It's open to 25 people on a first-come-first-serve basis.