CLARKSDALE, Miss. (WMC) - While many people are facing layoffs and unemployment, one Mid-South city is giving its employees a raise.
“We have been financially strong for the last two years and when you’re strong you make sure you take care of people in crisis,” said Clarksdale, Mississippi, Mayor Chuck Espy.
Espy says taking care of the 147 city employees with a temporary raise is the least he can do.
Espy announced every city worker, including police officers, firefighters and public works employees, would receive hazard pay for 30 days. That’s about a five percent raise for two pay periods.
“Families need a little extra security and we want to tell our employees we approach them for staying out there on the job. Staying on the frontline,” said Espy.
Clarksdale is located in middle Coahoma County. According to the state health department, there are 35 positive cases of COVID-19 in the county.
Mayor Espy says Coahoma County and neighboring Bolivar and Tunica counties have been labeled coronavirus “hot spots.” His goal is educate the people of his rural community and make sure they have the resources and support needed.
“If you have those types of disparities and poverty, we need to make sure that not only is there awareness, there’s free abilities to get a test and the information. Information is power,” said Espy.
Until the COVID-19 pandemic subsides, Mayor Espy says he’ll be supporting his city anyway he can.
“Until then we’re going to stand back to back with our employees of the city and stand with them,” said Espy.
Mayor Espy says the board voted unanimously to approve the hazard pay.
He has opted out of receiving the raise.