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Board rejects proposal for vaccine promotion effort

A proposal to conduct a local COVID-19 vaccination awareness campaign has been rejected by the Warren County Commissioners.

The proposal was initially pitched last month by Commissioner Jeff Eggleston.

He suggested that the county use a portion of its American Rescue Plan funds — approximately $22,000 — to build a series of promotions that highlight “local voices” and the “recommendation of folks in the community” to boost vaccination efforts.

Improving the vaccination rate, he suggested, is an effort at “shoring up what is a huge liability for the county as long as the county stays at a low vaccination rate.”

“I don’t know that I have anything at this time to add,” Eggleston said on Wednesday.

He said he would be supportive of any changes to his proposal as long as it appeared “the medical community was supportive of it.”

He then moved to use a portion of the county’s American Rescue Plan funding “as outlined in the plan to do a vaccine awareness campaign via the county.”

Commissioner Tricia Durbin said she has received much comment on the proposal that she described as “fairly equally” split between individuals in support and in opposition to the idea.

“My intention was to have an impact on understanding what is going on in our medical community and our hospitals,” she said, questioning whether it was the county’s role to do that.

“I don’t want to go forward with spending a lot of money on the plan,” she said.

A motion tabled last month to approve the proposal failed 2-1 with Commissioner Ben Kafferlin also voting in opposition.

Eggleston’s motion on Wednesday failed for lack of a second.

Kafferlin said last month that the effort as proposed was “not likely to be effective in my opinion; mainly because people have made up their minds.”

He suggested that such a campaign is not “in our scope of work as the county government” and further claimed that he isn’t qualified to endorse a vaccine or not. “(I) don’t think there’s any point in really arguing about it,” he said.

C-PACE APPROVED

The commissioner did sign off on C-PACE — commercial property assessed clean energy.

“The best way to understand this program,” Solicitor Nathaniel Schmidt explained, is that it “allows owners of a business or commercial property anywhere in the county to acquire lending for purposes of increasing sustainability of that building and then have that obligation be treated as it it was a real estate tax.

He called it a “different way of financing that kind of development.”

“I don’t know if it will be used or not,” Kafferlin said, noting the City of Warren and Warren General Hospital came out in strong support. He said there’s no downside for the county except some additional clerical work.

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