Home City City Council talks COVID-19 vaccine freezers, CARES funding

City Council talks COVID-19 vaccine freezers, CARES funding

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City Council. Photo by Sarah Donaldson.

Athens City Council discussed storage for a potential COVID-19 vaccine and allocation of Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Emergency Security (CARES) Act funding during their virtual committee meeting Monday.

The council said the city administration has worked with the Athens City-County Health Department and Athens County Commissioners to “jointly fund the purchase of very cold freezers that will be necessary for the storage of a COVID-19 vaccine when a safe and approved vaccine has been prepared for the U.S.”

Buying the freezers would cost $6,701.67 in CARES Act funding. Mayor Steve Patterson said the freezers will be maintained and stored by the Athens City-County Health Department. 

The councilmembers expressed concern about the efficiency and environmental sustainability of the freezers. In an attempt to reassure the concerns, Councilmember Peter Kotses shared his personal experience with the company selling the freezers. 

“I have many friends that have worked for Global Cooling, and I’m aware that the technology, when you look at this versus other temperatures, (is) extremely efficient when using this technology, and these are something that can operate in the county without an additional power source because the electricity use is very small,” Kotses said.  

In other business, the auditor’s office received a check of $884,211.16 in COVID-19 CARES funds.

After the city worked to upgrade its sanitary sewer system and water treatments, the auditor and mayor’s office recommended to pay off these loans costing a total of $170,000. 

The City and Safety Services Committee also discussed efforts to improve internet access for ARTS/West, an art center in Athens. The city has spent $67,000 of the CARES Act for better streaming and broadcasting at ARTS/West.

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