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Federal hazard pay premiums approved: Council OKs $1,000 each for a dozen city first responders

ISHPEMING — Officers on the Ishpeming Police force will receive $1,000 each for hazard pay for their work during the pandemic.

During a special meeting Tuesday, the Ishpeming City Council unanimously approved a $12,000 budget amendment that will allow the city to accept and pay out the federal hazard pay premiums provided to first responders who have “performed hazardous duty or work involving physical hardship related to COVID-19 under the 2020 Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.”

Police Chief Steve Snowaert said 11 police officers and one dispatcher will receive the funds.

Under the program, law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, 911 operators, local unit of government corrections officers, airport public safety officers and eligible personnel associated with ambulance operations are eligible if they meet certain guidelines.

The city’s volunteer fire department did not put in for the funds, Ishpeming City Manager Craig Cugini told the council.

“The fire chief opted not to apply for the grant as he did not feel that the department’s activities currently met the criteria of the CARES Act,” Cugini said. “…We were very cautious that we would meet the conditions.”

Councilors Pat Scanlon and Jason Chapman asked if anything more was planned for either the first responders or front office staff members who could have day-to-day contact with the public.

Cugini said the city had applied for several grants under the CARES Act, and that more budget amendment requests could be forthcoming for that reason.

“We have applied for everything that we can,” Cugini told the council. “We still have grant applications out with the CARES Act that have not been determined. We are working through all the CARES Act issues.”

Lisa Bowers can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242. Her email address is lbowers@miningjournal.net.

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