OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Ocean Springs employees like the fire department's Battalion Chief Crispus Medley know that health and wellness directly relates to job productivity.
"Especially in the fire department, police department and public works; you've gotta be physically fit to do your job," Medley said.
The City of Ocean Springs agrees, which is why city leaders are entering a partnership to offer city employees free use of the YMCA.
"I was paying $40 a month, now I'll be paying zero a month," Medley said.
The partnership covers the roughly 200 city employees and is set to begin the week of Jan. 10.
"We had this a couple years back, but with the recession budget, this was the first to go," said Ocean Springs Alderman at-large Bobby Cox.
Now, city employees will have access to all the YMCA has to offer.
"We have a full fitness center with cardio equipment, free weights and machine weights, we have an indoor track, we have an indoor swimming pool, an outdoor swimming pool and exercise classes," said YMCA Wellness Director Joey Conwill.
In turn, city officials hope the partnership will help employees better serve the community. The agreement includes a sizable donation from the YMCA and monetary contribution from the city.
"It's a corporate membership," said Cox. "The city is able to help with in-kind services, which helps our corporate rates."
And although the city is putting in some money to make this possible, they say the benefits of this service will reduce costs in other places.
"I really feel like this is a very good investment," Cox said.
Medley agrees, saying, "This will help keep the cities insurance rates down because healthier employee get sick less often and get hurt less often,"
The current partnership lasts a year and will be revisited in 2017. The partnership also offers a discounted rate to the families of city officials.