UPDATE: Residents react to vaccine incentive plan

Mayor Robert Blythe broke a tie to approve the measure

UPDATE 11 P.M. JANUARY 26, 2022

RICHMOND, Ky. (WTVQ) – There’s a new COVID-19 vaccine incentive for city employees in Richmond, to the tune of $500. The one-time payout plan getting the green light after a heated debate Tuesday night.

“It’s to encourage them, if they needed something if they were not vaccinated, just something that would help them to consider it more positively,” says Richmond Mayor Robert Blythe, who broke the tie during Tuesday’s meeting.

Blythe says he thought long and hard about the decision and heard the concerns people had about offering money to get the shots.

“Folks don’t like being told what to do. OK, fine, you told me that, I understand that,” says Blythe. “But I’m trying to tell you that we can have a better health situation for all of us if you’ll just do this. Whether you like me or not. Whether you like being told what to do, or not.”

Some Richmond residents think the one-time payout is a good idea to encourage vaccinations without forcing it, even if it’s not something they would participate in themselves.

“There’s other people out there this might lean them towards getting vaccinated just because they would be compensated in a way that they can use towards other things that they may need help with,” says Chris O’Bryan, Richmond resident. “But for me personally, not being vaccinated, it wouldn’t change my views on it.”

Some Richmond residents say while they aren’t sure how many people the $500 incentive will convince to get vaccinated, they hope it convinces some to further protect the community.

“I just think everybody needs to pull together and quit fighting with each other and let’s get vaccinated and go on with it,” says Richmond resident Charles Sullivan.

ORIGINAL POST

RICHMOND, Ky. (WTVQ) – After heated debate and a tie vote that was broken by Mayor Robert Blythe, the City of Richmond will provide a one-time $500 incentive for its employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the Richmond Register.

The action came at Tuesday’s Richmond City Board of Commissioners meeting.

Commissioners Krystin Arnold and Jim Newby voted against the vaccination incentive pay, while Commissioner Mike Brewer and Ed McDaniel voted in favor, according to the report.

Each city employee who is fully vaccinated against the coronavirus will receive the incentive pay after showing proof of vaccination on or before Feb. 28, 2022, for the first payout, and then June 3, 2022, for the final payout, according to the report.  Participation is not mandatory.

The incentive pay is estimated to cost around $154,000 and will come from the city’s expected American Rescue Plan Act money, according to the Richmond Register.

City Manager Rob Minerich says the incentive pay has been used in other cities, along with Eastern Kentucky University and the Madison County School Board.

The commissioners also approved the proposed “Employee Premium Pay,” which pays each employee who worked throughout the pandemic $1,000 each, according to the report.

The Richmond Register reported the following other business:

• The Richmond Active Living Center will reopen on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

• A bid for demolition was approved by the commission for the Armory Building on Second Street. The bid was awarded Southern Contractor of Kentucky LLC of London, Kentucky in the amount of $50,000.

• The city commission voted to approve an order which would authorize action under KRS 241.069 to request additional quota retail package license commensurate with the population increase.

• A first meeting of a budget amendment was approved by the board to account for the city’s expected $4 million worth of American Rescue Plan Act funds. These funds will go towards the Employee Premium Pay, Vaccine Incentive Pay, new police vehicles, a ballistic resistant vehicle, lost revenue tourism replacement, ventilation sterilization system in city hall, the Armory Park project, funding the 2022 MadisonHome program, and COVID-19 employee comp time.

• Walter Brooks Elder was appointed as assistant fire chief.

• The city commission voted to approve an amendment of the city’s budget relating to a Richmond Utility Assistance Project with the Community Development Block Grant.

• The second reading of an ordinance was heard for the annexation of property into the city limits at 649 Caleast Road. The one tract of 152.18 acres will be zoned as agriculture. Previously, City Manager Rob Minerich called this “another piece of the puzzle” in terms of the city’s growth near the Dunncannon exit on I-75.

• The commission entered an executive session regarding personnel matters pertaining to an employee in the fire department who had a disciplinary hearing on Friday. The list of violations and requirements were laid out and signed by the employee and accepted by the board of commissioners.

Categories: Coronavirus Updates, Featured, Local News, News

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