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CITY COUNCIL MEETING 11/27/17 (City Health Insurance, Downtown Speed Limit; Airport Board Meetings, Railroad Bridge, Street Superintendent)

C-T 11/30/17 - Chillicothe City Council members selected Aetna Insurance Company to provide health insurance coverage for its 70 employees. The plan, submitted by local agent Randy Steele, was considered the lowest and best bid for coverage. While the plan has a $6,000 deductible, an increase over the $4,000 deductible of previous years, the city has agreed to pay the $2,000 extra deductible if an employee surpasses the $4,000 mark. By opting for a plan with a higher deductible, the city was able to save $40,000 annually over the next lowest bid that was submitted. In the past, just a few employees had met the $4,000 deductible. The city pays the full health insurance premiums of all employees and 25 percent of coverage for the employee's children. Similar to the last couple of years, the city is not offering spousal coverage. Once again, the city will continue offering the health insurance bridge plan, which allows for the reimbursement of certain medical expenses.

The health insurance plan was among several topics discussed during the council's regular meeting Monday evening at City Hall. Also Monday, the council:

  • Discussed increasing speed limit enforcement of U.S. Highway 65 (Washington Street) through Chillicothe.

  • Approved changing the meeting frequency of the Airport Board from quarterly to every other month;

  • Approved the request by Police Chief Jon Maples to place "In God We Trust" decals on patrol vehicles;

  • Discussed the request from Airport Manager Bill Kieffer to use the old 4-H concrete block building at the airport for a storage garage; and

  • Discussed the removal of the railroad bridge at Muddy Creek.

Chillicothe police are stepping up patrols along U.S. Highway 65 through downtown Chillicothe in an effort to increase safety among drivers and pedestrians. Police Chief Jon Maples stated that excessive speed is a concern on Highway 65, also known as Washington Street, as it cuts through the center of the downtown business district. In addition to police enforcement, the city will soon have a digital speed reader trailer from the Missouri State Highway Patrol that will be moved to various locations in town to show motorists how fast they are going. The reader is expected to be put in place later this week or next. Maples said that his department has already stepped up traffic enforcement on Washington Street. City Administrator Darin Chappell said that excessive speed has been apparent to him since moving to town a few months ago. He added that the visibility of speeding may fade into the background among many people who live in Chillicothe and see it frequently until a tragedy occurs. The potential for accidents increases in the downtown area, especially, when there is pedestrian traffic, cross traffic, and parallel parking. He said that much of the excessive speed can be attributed to out-of-town motorists. The administrator and police chief stated that police will give warnings if necessary and use their own discretion as to whether a ticket is issued to a speeding motorist.

Jeff Gillespie, who was named interim street commissioner in October was announced as the new permanent street commissioner during an executive session of the Chillicothe City Council Monday evening. Gillespie fills the vacancy created by Barry Arthur, who had held the position since 2011. Gillespie has been with the street department for more than 16 years, having served as a foreman for the last eight years prior to being named assistant superintendent in April.

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Health Insurance Talks to Top Council Meeting
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Chillicothe City Council members will gather for their regular meeting Monday evening at City Hall. The evening will begin with a workshop at 5:30 p.m. at which time the council will discuss health insurance bids and city finances. Discussions about health insurance will continue in the regular meeting and council members are expected to vote on the lowest responsible bid for the city's health insurance carrier. The council will also consider continuing with the Health Insurance Bridge Plan. The regular meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. and is open to the public. Newly-appointed Police Chief Jon Maples will lead discussion regarding decals on patrol vehicles. City Administrator will present an ordinance setting the airport board meetings every other month, rather than every month. The administrator also will discuss converting the old 4-H building at the airport into a storage garage and will lead discussion regarding the railroad bridge at Muddy Creek.

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