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by Mark Cheffey
The Palmyra City Council last Thursday voted to change the city’s employee health insurance carrier.
Following the recommendation of the Finance Committee, the council voted 4-0 in favor of going with MIRMA, which already carries the city’s liability insurance.
Council member Ellen Goodwin, who chairs the Finance Committee, said the committee met recently to go over the two health insurance quote finalists and decided to go with MIRMA for its cost savings.
“It will save the city $119,000 per year and the deductibles are less,” Goodwin said.
The council approved the change through an emergency ordinance in order to meet the insurance start up deadline.
It required a two-third’s vote. Council members Brock Fahy and Patrick Barns were absent from Thursday’s meeting.
The council also approved by 4-0 votes four ordinances which received their second readings.
One of the ordinances raised the city’s annual business license fee from $10 to $25 to reflect results of the municipal election last April, when voters approved the change.
The council also approved an ordinance that spells out in better detail the procedure the city can take concerning dangerous buildings.
Two ordinances concerning closed records in reference to the state’s Sunshine Law were also approved.
In particular they clarify what records the city can designate as closed to public viewing including the Board of Public Works billing records.
The council also voted 4-0 in favor of submitting for Community Development Block grant funding for storm water projects.
The council tabled approval of a financial advisor to help with storm water projects until the Dec. 1 meeting in order to allow council members to consider submittals from three applicants.
Action was also tabled until Dec. 1 concerning a depository agreement proposal offered by HOMEBANK.
City Attorney James Lemon, said the bank has been helpful with providing information about the proposal, but indicated the newness of the type of agreement was making him do more research to make sure the city will be in compliance with the law if it accepts the proposal.
He said there is, as yet, no case law for him to consult.
“I think it’s going to be an approved way of doing it, but it makes me a little worried I may be missing something,” he said.
The council discussed the possible repercussions of the newly passed recreational marijuana amendment approved by Missouri voters Nov. 8.
Police Chief Eddie Bogue said his reading of it indicated it will affect the city’s employee handbook concerning drug and alcohol testing policy.
Lemon said those who drafted the proposed amendment “did a mess of it” and that it will be like the “wild west” for a while until its affects are better determined and work is done to fix its problems.
BPW Superintendent Brent Abell said the hiring situation has not changed for the two openings they have in water/sewer maintenance and at the water plant and that it has become very difficult to find licensed candidates.
Street Commissioner Austin Dornberger said is considering storing some of the leaves picked up from along streets for those wishing to use it for garden mulch.
He said he has received several requests for it from residents.
Mayor Rusty Adrian said he attended a recent MIRMA training session for the city’s police officers at the Sesquicentennial Building and came away “highly impressed.”