Incentive, $200, offered by Town to motivate employee vaccinations

Town of Farragut employees are in line to receive a $200 bonus if they agree to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Farragut’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved the incentive program Thursday, Aug. 26, at the request of Town administrator David Smoak during its regular meeting.

In a report to BOMA, Smoak noted a U.S. vaccination rate of 49 percent, a Tennessee vaccination rate of 42.18 percent and a 50.01 percent vaccination rate for Knox County residents.

“In order to continue to provide a high level of service to the Farragut community, I recommend the town utilize available (American Rescue Plan Act) funds to provide a $200 incentive to each of the 74 full-time and part-time employees that provide proof against being fully vaccinated for COVID-19,” Smoak’s report stated. “Part of this funding can be used to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

“We are not requiring vaccinations, but we are encouraging them,” he added during the meeting. “It is just another way that we are doing everything we can to have a healthy work place.”

Farragut is estimated to receive about $7 million from ARPA under guidelines yet to be completely defined.

“One thing I would like to add is that getting this vaccine is very much a personal choice, and I don’t want anyone to feel bullied or be teased if they choose not to get it,” Vice Mayor Louise Povlin said. “I want us to make it very clear that no one should feel pressured, and there is no judgement either way.”

In a separate interview, Smoak said employees who already have been vaccinated and who provide proof also will receive the bonus.

Census results

Smoak also reported on the U.S. Census 2020 results for Farragut, which, with a total of 23,506 residents, is an increase of 906 since 2016, when the Town conducted a special census.