SUMMERDALE - The Summerdale council voted during the April meeting to provide hazard pay to Summerdale police officers working during the COVID-19 crisis. The decision does not include hazard pay to …
SUMMERDALE - The Summerdale council voted during the April meeting to provide hazard pay to Summerdale police officers working during the COVID-19 crisis. The decision does not include hazard pay to the police chief, a salary employee. The move follows similar approvals from the City of Daphne and the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Department, which are paying officers $3 extra an hour and time and a half respectively.
“This isn’t about working more hours, it’s about the officers having to expose themselves to the virus,” said Chief Kevin Brock. “They’re still answering just as many calls, they’re having to go to houses, they’re having to go into cars, so it’s the hazard of being exposed. The officers are not only essential workers who are continuing to work, but they have to work in a hazardous situation a lot of the times, so that’s the concept behind this.”
Brock voiced his concerns, saying if paying extra to the officers would hurt the town financially then himself and his officers did not want it to be done. Currently there is no guarantee the town will be reimbursed by federal funds, and the hazard pay will come directly from town funds. Excluding Brock, the town employs ten officers.
After discussions and taking into consideration the size of Summerdale, it was decided that the officers would be paid $1.50 hazard pay per hours worked, not including overtime. The hazard pay went into effect Tuesday, April 14, and will continue until the next council meeting, May 11. Discussions will be held at that time whether to continue or discontinue the hazard pay.
Another decision made in light of the COVID-19 pandemic was to waive all late fees on water and garbage bills for the months of March, April, and May.
“There have been a lot of people who have not been able to pay their water and garbage bills,” said Mayor David Wilson. “We have not cut anyone off during the month of March, and I feel we should waive their late fees until these citizens are able to get back employed.”
The council was unanimous to waive all utility late fees during the upcoming months, as well as not disconnecting anyone’s service during the crisis.
Any citizen who pays their bill with a credit card is typically charged a credit card usage fee. Town Clerk Tiffany Lynn stated that while these fees are automatically charged, the town is crediting the amount back on customers’ accounts.