Northwest Arkansas Council asks for American Rescue Plan dollars


FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – Vaccination efforts continue in Northwest Arkansas. However, county and city officials are divided on the best way to go about it. 

The Northwest Arkansas Council has been asking each city and county to contribute to a collective vaccination fund. 

Nonetheless, one county says it will only contribute if the money goes towards the clinics themselves” and not marketing. 

“A lot of money has come through our state legislator and been invested in media outlets, and I don’t think anybody doesn’t know that COVID-19 is an issue,” says Carrie Perrien Smith, justice of the peace for Benton County’s district 5. 

Smith wasn’t the only one vote against the ordinance in the special meeting of the Quorum Court. 

JP for district 6, Brian Armas, says he also has his reservations regarding the American Rescue Plan dollars going towards public information campaigns and not only the clinics themselves. 

“The concerns our constituents had is that we didn’t want to spend $1 million on marketing for vaccinations,” says Armas. 

The Northwest Arkansas Council’s executive director for health care transformation says if Benton County’s stipulation were to stand, it’s something he’d be able to workaround. 

“At the end of the day, being a service of the community, we’re going to do right by that is our goal,” says Ryan Cork. 

However, he says the money from other counties and cities, used for public information campaigns, will be used effectively through educational commercials.

“Being able to be relatable, but open and transparent. About what’s going on, what are the benefits of the vaccine, potentially what would be a side effect of getting the vaccine and not getting the vaccine,” says Cork. 

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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