After moving their normal first Monday meeting because of the 4th of July, the City Council met on Monday night, July 10, where the main topic centered around health insurance for the City employees.

Councilman Keith Mensch gave the invocation before some of the Council members had comments about the just concluded 4th of July activities in Stuffy Moorhead park. Mayor Tommy Hicks complimented those that helped make the day long activities such a success. He especially had praises for Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Marilyn McCurley and other members of the Chamber that helped man the different activities. He also had praise for both the City and County crews for cleaning the park before and after all the activities.

Councilman Clinton Bowman complimented Cody Freeman and his family for the fireworks display that was moved back one day because of severe weather. Councilman Mark Sherman complimented Public Works Director Dave Tedford for the work and new playground equipment at the city park on Washington street.

After approving the minutes from the previous meeting the Council moved on to the agenda with most of the time centering around the renewing of the employees’ health care insurance.

“Health insurance news is not good again this year,” City Manager Stan David said. “To renew our current plan would mean an increase from $603.62 a month for each employee to $709.85, a 23% increase.”

David said one option would be to go to an Affordable Care Act (ACA) plan, which would be an increase of anywhere from 10% to 15%.

“I would rather avoid going the ACA road, but right now we don’t have great choices,” David continued.

The biggest difference in the four ACA plans David presented to the Council was the deductible, which is currently $1,000, and out of pocket expenses, which is now $2,500 for the employee and $5,000 per family.

The four plans ranged from a deductible of  $1,200 to $4,500 per employee and out of pocket expenses that ranged from $4,600 to $7,150 for the employee and $9,200 to $14,500 for a family.

David went on to say that should the Council decide to stay with the current plan (a 23% increase) it would cost the city an additional $75,000 to $90,000 total. The current budgeted amount is $378,650 and it would go to approximately $464,455 for next year.

“One thing I don’t want to do is increase our tax rate,” David added. “We need to leave it below the ninety cent mark.”

After more discussion Councilman Ronald Weir said he wanted to keep the current plan, even with the increase. Councilman Bowman agreed.

“We need to take care of our employees,” Weir said. “We’ll just make adjustments in our budget, but we need to take care of these people.”

Weir then made the motion with a second from Bowman to stay with the current plan. It was unanimously approved by the Council.

“I can tell you this, our employees will appreciate this,” David said. “I think you made a good decision.”

The City currently has 66 employees.

Another insurance related item was discussing which city owned vehicles need to be repaired that were damaged in the April hail storm. David handed out a list of 31 vehicles that received damaged and then earmarked 13 vehicles he was recommending being repaired. The total amount of damage to 24 of the 31 vehicles was $53,298.91. There was no damage on seven city owned vehicles. Each vehicle has a $1,000 deductible.

David said he would submit the entire list, but would put a high priority on just 13 of the 24 that received some damage.

In another item David said the city had received a petition that was circulated to place on the November ballot the legalization of the sale of alcoholic beverages, including mixed beverages in restaurants. The petition failed with only 140 signatures. He said the petition needed 170 signatures. This petition had several signatures with a county address instead of a city address.

David also said the five-year bank depository contract with West Texas Bank expires this year and it was time to advertise to take bids from any interested banks. He added that he is pleased with West Texas unless one of the other banks comes in with a great offer.

It was also noted that it was time to look at the auditor for FY2018. The city currently uses Myatt, Blume and Osburn. The Council unanimously approved a motion to continue using the same firm.

And in the last item the Council discussed an advertising proposal from KCBD TV for the live Community Coverage Tour 2017 which will make a stop in Denver City during the week of August 7-11. The advertising includes several advertisement spots leading up to that week and during the week of the newscast. They will broadcast in Denver City for both the 6 and 10 pm news on Wednesday, August 9. After discussing the proposal, the Council unanimously approved the special package price of $1,685.

After approving the payment of $382,727.58 in bills the Council adjourned and went into a budget work session.

Council members Joan Breith, Ronald Weir, Clinton Bowman, Mark Sherman, and Keith Mensch along with mayor Tommy Hicks were in attendance. Council member Robert Hanneman was out of town on business.

The next meeting is scheduled for this Monday, July 17, in the City Hall chambers starting at 7 pm.