City bonuses, minimum wage hike, in crossfire of vaccine program clash


Augusta, Ga (WJBF) – Augusta commissioners are trying to approve a plan to spend some of the $82M they expected to get from the American Rescue Act.

The vaccine program is just a part of the plan, it also includes money for public safety bonuses and money to increase the minimum wage, but those two caught in the crossfire as commissioner’s clash on vaccines.  

 Some city leaders want to get Augusta’s vaccination rate up but not by handing out $100 gift cards. 

“I’m not sure it’s going to make a big impact I’m much more in favor doing community cookouts getting into the churches spending the money that way to the people and really have the leader’s kind of help these people,” said Commissioner Sean Frantom.

Commissioners are divided on a vaccine program but its only one part of the overall proposal from the administrator.

The proposal includes funding for public safety worker bonuses, and funds to raise the minimum wage for city workers. And right now, all three issues are tied together as a package deal.

“I think they should have been separated out as agenda items don’t know if they will be separated out the next time we have a bite at the apple, but I would hope they would be,” said Commissioner Sean Frantom. 

“Should they be separated, do you want to vote on each of these individually?”

“There’s no need because it’s all part the plan we asked for a plan to address all that and that’s what the administrator brought back so why vote on it separately,” said Commissioner Dennis Williams.

The administrator’s plan does not include paying people who get booster shots later this year, but now that’s part of the discussion.

“To get the community healthier than what it is and if paying for the booster shots would do that, I’m in agreement with that,” said Commissioner Dennis Williams.

“I don’t see us supporting nor would I support 100-dollar booster as well,” said Commissioner Frantom.

Commissioners failed to move things forward on Tuesday. However, an already scheduled meeting is Thursday where the issue is going to be on the agenda again.

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