Birmingham City Council approved up to $50,000 in funding for Ideas Inc. which will help spread messages to the public regarding vaccinations in the hopes of encouraging continued masking and social distancing.
The council previously collaborated with Ideas Inc. during the beginning of COVID-19 to encourage testing, staying inside and other safety measures. This time around, the company aims to encourage people to get vaccinated, practice handwashing, socially distance and continue to practice masking.
“This is just an ongoing effort to make sure that we continue to communicate with the public about the importance of being safe during COVID-19.” said council president William Parker.
Councilperson Steven W. Hoyt expressed his concerns on the funding price, going on to say that in the future, the council should look into other packages in order to get the best price due to the city being “strapped for cash.”
Councilperson Valerie Abbott said she thought the cost of the campaign was steep.
“That is a lot of money when the city is having financial issues, and I’m just wondering,” Abbott said. “I am a hundred percent behind encouraging people to get their vaccinations and everything, but I just wonder. That seems excessive.”
Council Administrator Cheryl Kidd said most of the cost is coming from studio time and production to produce quality content, in addition to the price of ads on several news outlets, radio and print publications.
The measure was passed without opposition.
The source of this money comes from staff positions within the council that will not be filled in 2021.
In other business, the council also passed:
- Rezoning of the former Health South Corporate Campus on Highway 280 to become a new campus for Highlands College, a Bible college started by Church of the Highlands staff
- Liquor Licensing for Businesses/Events
- 6 security cameras to be installed outside of Birmingham public works buildings through Alabama Power, each with 30-day server storage
- Funding for Girls Life Unlimited to provide educational services to underprivileged youth (District 7)
- Board of Education funding for schools in District 7
- Funding for the A.G. Gaston Boys and Girls Club to provide services to the poor and needy (District 7 + 8)