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City Will See Insurance Increase

By Staff | Dec 22, 2009

New Martinsville City Recorder Bonnie Shannon noted the city will experience a three percent increase in the cost of employee health benefits which, she said, “Is not all that bad.”

At December’s council meeting she noted the city employees had several healthcare needs this year, but still did not go above the maximum on health benefits.

She recommended the city go with the same insurance, with only a few positive changes. Council passed the recommendation unanimously.

The city’s commercial liability insurance will see a two-and-a-half percent increase, or $3,090. Council also unanimously approved that policy.

In another matter, on recommendation of the electric committee, council unanimously approved the purchase of a 2004 Chevrolet 4500 mid-size truck with a dump bed. It is a 6.6 liter Duramax diesel with automatic transmission. The vehicle with 28,000 miles on it does have a reconstructed title, but Electric Department Manager David White said it has been through a certified repair shop.

The department wants it to pull the chipper when they are doing tree trimming and maybe to haul an occasional load of gravel. They may also equip it with a snow plow.

The estimated retail price is $33-35,000, but this seller was seeking $25,500 for the truck and low boy trailer. It will paid for by the electric department’s capital improvement fund.

White said the tree trimming program is finished for now. “That really helps significantly to lessen the outages we have,” he said. “That’s a program that works really well.”

Council also agreed to change Dawn Myers’ position from administrative assistant position for the electric department to assistant general manager/payroll adjustment.

White said there are more requirements and reports.

“It has required her responsibilities to increase significantly,” said White.

The administrative assistant job will remain on the books, but unfilled, said White. That way if someone leaves and they need to start at the beginning, they could fill that position.

“It’s time that we recognize her for her competence and ability,” said White. The change will increase her base salary.

The demolition of a dilapidated building, located at 339 Virginia Street, is scheduled for the first week in January. “That will be one less property we have to worry about it,” noted Building Inspector Joe Hanna, who has been working with Mayor Blum to rid the city of some of its dangerous eyesores.

Also, the shell of an old Greyhound bus was moved from Second Street. “They have done some additional clean up in that area,” Hanna said.

Hanna reported that 15 building permits were issued in November, down 10 from the average. One was for AirEvac’s hangar near Wetzel County Hospital.

He further noted the city building currently doesn’t have an operable air conditioner unit. The current unit is 20 years old. “It is basically outdated. It has served its life by what they tell us,” said Hanna.

It will cost $30-35,000 for a rebuild. If the city wants to purchase a more energy efficient unit for $110-125,000, then H.E. Neumann will credit the city about $15,000, their estimated cost of one rebuild.

The life expectancy of a new unit is 20 years, said Hanna.

Street Commissioner Gary Willey mentioned two completed projects. The storm sewer on Rebecca Street is now finished and operating. Also, the leaf collection in the city is finished. “That’s a good thing we do for the city,” noted Mayor Lucille Blum.

Police Chief Tim Cecil commended his three officers who worked about 36 hours straight catching the suspect in the armed robbery at the gas station in Hannibal. “I want to commend the guys,” he said.

Also, the new radios are now installed in the department cars. All of the vehicles, except the K-9 unit, now have new radios in them.

The next project will be the dispatch unit in the second-floor police station.

“There’s just no laid out room,” said Councilman Steve Pallisco. “There’s plenty of room upstairs, but it’s not being well used.”

The NMPD hopes to have the upstairs reconfiguring project completed in mid-April. They plan on having some sort of an open house. Lautamus is doing the project for the amount acquired from Congressman Alan B. Mollohan, a $75,000 Resource Grant.

Council agreed to purchase a floor scrubber for the city building. The had expected on to cost $1,300, but estimates came in at $865 and $790. It will do hard surfaces and carpet. Mayor Blum commend the city’s janitor, Robin Hoskins, for her hard work. She said the building is as clean as she has ever seen it.

Water Department Head Pat Durant thanked the Street Department for their work on the storm sewer that will get rid of the water in the area near of the new water well.

Since yearly testing of wells is necessary, Durant said the new well will begin operation after the first of the year. This will save the cost of a 2009 testing.

The Water Department is also starting to install flood monitors as required by the Department of Environmental Protection. The devices must be in place by the end of the month.

In another matter, Fire Chief Larry Couch reported, “It does appear that our number of calls will be down this year.” He noted the number has gone up for the past seven years. Couch attributes that change to the false alarm ordinance and fewer storms.

Council unanimously approved the hiring of Paula Gump, effective Dec. 7, to the position of administrative assistant in the water and sewer department.