Summit officials handled held-over business Wednesday evening to adopt a COVID-19 policy for town employees, declare a state of emergency for Hurricane Ida and adopt the new budget.
The council spent the better part of the two-hour-plus meeting going over the budget.
They had started with a balanced $1.3 million budget that after proposed adjustments ended up with a $46,000 deficit that needed to be trimmed to zero.
Councilmen made several cuts, including to professional services and proposed capital outlay spending, and moved some public works salaries from the general fund to the water bill-supported utility fund to bring expenses down to $1,284,490.
The council also voted to keep the millage rate unchanged at 39.35 mills, with 36 mills going to the general fund and 3.35 mills going to debt services.
Ida emergency declared
A day after voting 3-1 against declaring a state of emergency as a result of Hurricane Ida, the council unanimously voted to enact an emergency declaration.
The earlier split vote against it came after first-term Councilman Chris Daniels said Tuesday that he wanted more information about what the council was doing. Fellow freshman Councilman Julius Nash and longtime Councilman Joe Lewis joined in dissenting, while Councilman Marcus Pittman said he supported the declaration.
Mayor Percy Robinson explained Tuesday that the declaration would allow the town to receive reimbursements from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for clean-up costs associated with Ida debris removal. Generally, FEMA pays for 75% of the debris removal costs, with state and local governments splitting the rest. That federal funding only kicks in if the state receives at least $4.5 million worth of storm damage.
Robinson said Dungan Engineering will do an assessment on storm debris to clean up and provide an estimate for the work. Because of that, no more cleanup is likely to take place in the meantime, Robinson said.
“We’re keeping it on the ground right now until we do the assessment,” Robinson said.
Town officials also adopted a COVID-19 policy for town employees.
Summit is encouraging — but not mandating — its employees to get vaccinated.
However, the policy says, “A vaccine mandate in the future has not been ruled out for the health and welfare of our employees and citizens.”
Vaccinated employees are required to wear masks but unvaccinated employees are, the policy states. Employees are requested but not required to show proof of vaccination, and a log of their vaccination status will be kept on file. Future mandatory reporting of vaccination status also “has not been ruled out,” according to the policy.
The policy note that employees who miss work because of COVID-19 will have to use vacation and sick days they have available.
The policy mirrors CDC guidelines for isolation and quarantine in the event of exposure or a positive test.
Board attorney Ben Gilbert said he had reviewed it and didn’t think it was out of line with what other government agencies have done.