Troup County may pursue an incentive program to encourage county employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
County director Eric Mosley said on Tuesday the county is strongly encouraging citizens, as well as employees, to get vaccinated against COVID. He said when county workers get sick, it not only affects the departments they work in, but the community has a whole.
“We’re definitely seeing that when the employees are away… it certainly affects the workload we can handle,” Mosley said at the Troup County Commissioners Council meeting on Tuesday night. “We really want to encourage our staff to take this last step to get vaccinated for the betterment of Troup County and the citizens we serve.”
In recent weeks, many county department heads have come forward to call for the hiring freeze to be lifted to fill vacancies in their departments due to COVID. Many employees who are not sick are working overtime to make up for the shortfall, Mosley said.
The costs of health care for those who have been infected have been a particular burden.
“I think I heard that [hospital costs] can reach $ 30,000, ”Mosley said.
Mosley noted that he and members of the commission were already vaccinated as well as most of the heads of county departments.
Mosley could not provide a percentage of county employees who have been vaccinated, but said the majority of people he spoke to are vaccinated.
Other states and counties are pursuing similar incentive programs, Mosley said.
In August, Governor Brian Kemp announced vaccine incentive plans for state employees in the form of VISA cards.
In Alabama, the Talladega Superspeedway offers people 16 and older who choose to be tested and / or vaccinated a chance to drive their vehicle on its 2.66 mile track. The Alabama Department of Public Health has also previously sponsored a TikTok contest for people ages 13 to 29 to encourage vaccination against COVID-19, according to the National Governors Association.
Other areas offer monetary incentives.
“They ran up to $ 25 to $ 1,000,” Mosley said.
Funding for the incentive program could come from the American Recovery Plan Act that the county received, Mosley said.
The Commissioners finally accepted Mosley’s idea and encouraged him to return at a future meeting with some ideas to consider.
“I feel like every person has a right to choose what to do with their own body… but I think we need to think about it,” said Lewis Davis, District 3 commissioner. “We are here to be responsible for the welfare of the county. If there is a tool that could potentially help them… I think we need to look at it.
Other business during the meeting:
- Commissioners approved the Mutual Aid Agreement with the Town of West Point Fire Department and the Troup County Fire Department. The deal was tabled at a previous meeting because of the language of some aspects of the deal, Troup County Fire Department chief John Ekaitis said, but the language has since been changed and approved by both parties. The agreement stipulates that the two sides will receive “automatic and mutual assistance in extinguishing fires and other emergency response purposes”. Fire departments will be directed for all of Harris County to the city limits of West Point, Ekaitis said.
- Commissioners voted to approve the Georgia Department of Transportation’s right-of-way acceptance for a public service project. The project involves extending the sewer line from Long Cane Creek to Whitesville Road to the freeway, said Patrick Bowie of the Town of LaGrange utility department. The property is located outside of the incorporated city limits, Bowie said, and the GDOT is expected to hand over the property to the county for the project to proceed.
- Commissioners voted to approve the bid award request for the replacement of the roof of the Government Center and the Juvenile Court Building. The bid for the project was awarded to Roof Technology Partners with a 30 year warranty for a total cost of $ 1,003,900.00. The project is funded by SPLOST V, as reported in county documents.
- The commissioners voted to approve the request for the award of the tender for repairs to the parking lot for the Government Center. The bid for the project was awarded to Ketom Construction Company, Inc. for $ 747,591. The project will take 120 to 150 days.
- The commissioners voted to approve the lifting of two hiring freezes for the parks and recreation department, a hiring freeze for real estate appraisal staff and a hiring freeze for a specialist in etiquette and taxation.