“We have got to find some way to incentivize people to get out,” said Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley.
And when it comes to incentives, he says cash is a good option.
“Maybe $50. If we pay $50, that’s close to $100 million if you look at Tarrant County being at about 2.1 million people,” Whitley said.
Tarrant County is on track to receive a little more than $407 million in federal funds for Covid-related expenses, while the cities in Tarrant County are expected to receive about $456 million.
“So what I would like to see us do is maybe go in, and partner with the cities, so that if one of their citizens come forward maybe we pay half, and they pay half and we just give them a cash incentive for getting the vaccine,” Judge Whitley said.
The idea to offer incentives isn’t new.
West Virginia is offering their young adult population savings bonds, while the city of Detroit is giving pre-paid debit cards to those who drive a neighbor or friend to a site.
To make it happen here, Judge Whitley says they need to confirm under treasury regulations that the payments would be a covered cost.
If so, the decision would be up to county commissioners.
“I think it’s a very serious option,” Whitley said. “I mentioned to the court, I just said ‘think about it, and next Tuesday let’s talk about it.’”
They’d need to discuss amounts and how to streamline the payments.
He says cash is likely the easiest option and believes everyone vaccinated in the county, should get it.
“My vote will be that everyone who gets the vaccine or who has gotten the vaccine and is a Tarrant county resident will get it.”
He said, it could happen soon.
“Well I guess this could happen as soon as next week.”