City of Oxford Leaders Approve $10K Bill for Hand Sanitizer

By Alyssa Schnugg
News editor

The Oxford Board of Aldermen approved the emergency purchase of four 55-gallon drums of hand sanitizer made by Cathead Distillery Tuesday night that will be handed out free to local residents on Wednesday.

The total cost for the hand sanitizer $10,480; however, Mayor Robyn Tannehill said the city will be reimbursed 75 percent of the cost by the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency.

Each drum costs $2,260.

Cathead Distillery, located in Jackson, stopped production of its vodka when COVID-19 started to hit Mississippi and began hand sanitizer. Cathead owners contacted Tannehill Monday about providing its hand sanitizer to Oxford. The distillery has already provided dozens of drums throughout Jackson.

During her report at Tuesday’s regular board meeting, Tannehill said city employees spent most of Tuesday pouring the hand sanitizer into 12-ounce bottles and adhering labels to the bottles.

“They’ve gone above and beyond,” she said of the city’s employees. 

Oxford Mayor Robyn Tannehill worked along other city staff to help put labels on bottles of hand sanitizer on Tuesday.
Photo via Facebook/CityofOxford

The hand sanitizer will be handed out starting at 9 a.m. At two drive-thru locations – in front of City Hall and at the Jackson Avenue Center, known to some as the “old mall.”

Each car will be given one 12-ounce bottle.

“No one will have to get out of their car,” Tannehill said. “You will drive up and city employees will hand out the bottles and they will be wearing masks and gloves.”

Tannehill said that while she knows 1,000 bottles can’t serve everyone in Oxford, other opportunities to get more may come in the near future.

“We know how scary these times are and how many people need sanitizer and other safety items,” she said. “We also know that we won’t be able to serve everyone (Wednesday) and for that we are sorry. These are difficult times and we are doing our best to address needs as we see them. We hope this is not the last time we will be able to offer free hand sanitizer.”

Tannehill said healthcare providers and businesses who are in need of sanitizer should contact Emergency Management Director Jimmy Allgood at 662-232-8073 who may be able to provide assistance.


  1. Yikes, $10,480 and all they got out of it was just the sanitiser! It should have been bottled, labeled and delivered for that price. When accounting for 1000 bottles, just the sanitiser alone without the labels or bottles or even labour is $10.48 per 12oz bottle. Two words come to mind, gouging and profiteering. smh

    I am hard pressed to understand, why this was necessary, or how it was justified!?! Can we get an audit?

    • You have it backwards. If one washes their hand properly, then there is no need for sanitiser! The city was wrong to have employees bottle these and then have some of them come into contact with hundreds of people unnecessarily. Buying the sanitiser for a specific emergency could easily have been acceptable, even at that price, but to get some just to give away all willy-nilly upon receiving it is atrocious. Redirecting healthcare providers to someone else is poor nonsense, when she was in a position to do something. She may very well have deprived critical personnel from a product that they urgently needed.

      This was either misguided incompetence or corruption and fraud. They obviously didn’t bother to do any due diligence when pricing the market rate of sanitiser, or maybe, this whole scheme was, in fact, intentional. If it is simply a case of ignorance, then voters can handle that, but if it is, what I hope it is not, then the book needs to be thrown at everyone who exploited the situation for unrighteous gain.
      Why should anyone show gratitude for wasting funds on a morally suspect action? These bottles weren’t even pint sized, and I just realised that the figures presented in this article don’t even fully add up. Something is coming up short and very much off to a red flag level, and a full audit and inquiry is definitely warranted based on the information given.


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