HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – In an effort to push city employees to roll up their sleeves and get the shot, the Hot Springs board of directors is offering a cash incentive.
It’s not the most glamorous job picking up trash from house to house, but it’s a job that has to get done.
“July to August it was really bad,” City of Hot Springs Solid Waste Management Residential Field Supervisor Matt Moody said.
Moody is in charge of staffing the garbage trucks. He says that month COVID-19 tore through his department.
“I have 23 people when I’m fully staffed so eight people out, that’s a third,” Moody said.
They had to put some services on hold.
“They would have to pick it up on another day, but they were on trash. Trash has to go,” Moody said.
Moody even got on the truck himself.
“I go every now and then, but I don’t go three weeks straight like I did,” Moody said.
With those changes, they found a way to get all bins empty.
“It was stressful. It was stressful,” Moody said.
They’re not the only city department that’s dealt with an outbreak.
“We lost everyone in our dispatch center in our police department,” Hot Springs City Manager Bill Burrough said.
Burrough said that’s just one of the reasons the city is now offering a $300 reward to anyone who gets a shot of protection against the virus.
“If this small gesture will make a difference for someone then I’d be very happy with that,” Burrough said.
Using American Rescue Plan funds, it would cost about $190,000 if every employee got their dose.
“We’ve well exceeded that in just the cost of COVID alone in the number of employees we’ve had out, we’ve had off, and the overtime to cover those shifts,” Burrough said.
For moody, he hopes it will keep more of his guys on the trucks and out of quarantine.
“I think it will help a little,” Moody said.
City employees that have already gotten the COVID-19 vaccine will still get the $300 reward.