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COUNCIL MEETING 11/28/16 (LifeFlight Hangar, Health Insurance Bids, Elected Salaries)

City OKs Bids for Hangar, Health Insurance

Chillicothe City Council members on Monday approved the low bid for construction of a hangar at Chillicothe Municipal Airport to house a LifeFlight Eagle ambulance helicopter. Burman, of Ozark, Missouri, submitted the lowest of two bids and was chosen for the project. The company's base bid was at $1,098,850, compared to a base bid of $1,163,900 submitted by Irvinbilt, of Chillicothe. Construction of the hangar will be paid for through the city's capital improvement fund, as approved unanimously by the council on Monday. Interfund loans will be used and will be paid back with an interest rate of 2 percent, according to City Administrator Ike Holland. The city's agreement with LifeFlight Eagle calls for a 15-year lease with base rent at $2,500 per month for the first 60 months, then $2,750 per month for the second 60 months, and $3,025 for the final 60 months of the initial term of the lease. Optional lease extensions will be available in five-year increments. The hangar building will be a one-story structure and include an office, living space, and a hangar. Construction is expected to begin in December with the hope that it is completed as early as June, Holland stated. Councilman-at-Large David Moore and Councilman Paul Howard voted in favor of Burman's bid; while Councilmen Reed Dupy and Tom Douglas voted against the bid. Councilman Wayne Cunningham, who is associated with Irvinbilt, had left the room and did not participate in discussions or the vote. Because of the 2-2 vote, Mayor Chuck Haney was called upon to break the tie. Along with the approved option for an upgrade of siding to the building, Burman's bid came in at $1,103,800. Financing details are expected to be discussed further at the council's next meeting.

In other business on Monday, the city selected Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Kansas City to provide health insurance coverage for city employees for 2017. Four bids were submitted and the council was unanimous in their decision. For the last two years, the city provided health insurance through Lifestyles Health Insurance. The Blue Cross & Blue Shield bid came in at $480,000 for 2017, which will be $100,000 lower than what the city paid in 2016, Administrator Holland stated. The city pays the entire cost of the employee premiums and 25 percent of the premiums for employees' children. The city does not offer insurance for spouses of employees. Overall health insurance coverage through Blue Cross & Blue Shield is similar to what was provided in previous years, and the out-of-pocket deductible was lowered from $5,000 to $4,000. Holland stated that the city administration and council members were happy with the approved health plan. He said that employees, including department managers, provided input in selecting a health insurance carrier. The council on Monday also approved its continuation of providing each employee with $600 in a health flex spending account.

Also Monday, the council approved a health insurance bridge plan for employees with Colonial Life. The city has utilized Colonial Life for several years. The plan provides reimbursement up to $3,000 for major out-of-pocket medical expenses.

Health insurance policies were discussed during the council's workshop meeting held prior to the regular meeting. Also during the workshop, the council was updated about the city's finances and were told that the city's tax revenues are on pace with projections.

Also Monday, the council tabled discussions regarding the setting of salaries for the 2017-2019 term of office for elected officials. The first day for filing is December 13, 2016, and the last day for filing is January 17, 2017. The election is April 4, 2017. The ordinance being proposed are as follows: Mayor, $16,635, plus $75 per meeting of the city council held after office hours and attended by the mayor, plus $200 per month car allowance and $100 per month phone allowance; Council member, $75 for each meeting, regular or special, attended by the council member; Councilman-at-large (also serves as the finance chairman), $75 per finance meeting of the finance committee and attended by the councilman-at-large; City Clerk, $52,773, plus $75 per meeting of the city council held after hours and attended by the clerk; City Auditor, $52,773 plus $75 per meeting of the city council held after office hours and attended by the clerk. The auditor and clerk will also receive employee retirement and health benefits that a full-time employee of the city receives. Salaries for city treasurer and city attorney are expected to be approved at $1 per year. Of particular note, is removing the $75 per meeting for the finance chairman and raising compensation for council members from $75 to $85 per meeting that a council member attends. It was noted that pay for council members had not increased in approximately 10 years. Discussions are expected to continue during the council's next meeting in two weeks.

In executive session which followed the council's regular meeting, council members unanimously approved adding Connor Dixon and Jeff Greer as paid-by-call firefighters, subject to them passing physicals. The council also approved adding the titles of chaplain to Zach Parks and Bill Gutshall, as recommended by Fire Chief Darrell Wright.

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