A policy in Starkville might leave city workers to pay up

The new year may bring new expenses for some Starkville city employees.

STARKVILLE, Miss.(WCBI)- Unvaccinated city employees will face medical upcharges in 2022.

Mayor Lynn Spruill says the board of aldermen met in a special called meeting on December 1st to discuss how the upcharge will affect unvaxxed staffers.

And workers are given medical options during the pay period.

The new year may bring new expenses for some Starkville city employees.

In a 5-2 vote back in September, the Starkville Board of Aldermen approved unvaccinated staffers to pay $75 a month towards insurance fees.

” The date of the implementation was December 1st. At the last board meeting, the board voted to push it to February 1st. I did not think that was an appropriate approach because we’re going into a very concentrated season where families gather. There’s have Christmas, Thanksgiving, the cold season, and you have the omicron virus,” said Spruill.

Mayor Spruill vetoed the vote.

” There’s so additional cost for health insurance for what the city will have to pay out and what the city will bear in insurance costs,” said Ward 5 Aldermen, Hamp Beatty.

But, there might be a way for folks to keep money in their pockets.

Spruill called a special-called meeting on November 30th to address implementation, and make sure it put the city in a legal position.

“The veto created a situation where we needed to have an alternative measure. The law requires that if you have a medical upcharge, you have to have an alternative measure. There’s a couple of measures that are authorized to do that. One of them would be weekly testing or bi-weekly testing. Another is for them to have a medical waiver of some kind,” said Spruill.

But, the board voted against the measure. That’s what led to a special-called meeting on December 1. The board voted 4-3.

” In that board meeting, the initial idea was to push it to February 1st. After discussion with the board members, what we ended up doing was pushing it to February 1st but including that alternative measure in that,” said Spruill.

So what does this mean?

Ward 5 Aldermen Hamp Beatty says it helps employees decide if they want to get the shot.

” If people are unvaccinated with the city, it doesn’t affect their employment. They’re not terminated because they won’t get vaccinated,” said Beatty.

With an extended time frame, city leaders say this will give wanting to be vaccinated to make an appointment.

” I’m guessing when it’s time for the $75 to kick in again, there may be some effort to bring it forward,” said Spruill.

If city employees choose to use alternative measures, the insurance fee won’t reflect during the pay period.

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