City sees increase in insurance costs

The city of Jefferson’s insurance premium could increase by as much as 18 percent, from $155,126 to $184,250, when the policy renews for the coming fiscal year.

Jim Unger and Scott Weber, who handle the city’s insurance policy with EMC Insurance, briefed the city council on renewal rates at the council’s Feb. 28 meeting.

The increases are primarily in the workers’ compensation and the vehicle insurance.

Workers’ comp insurance rates are based on the claims paid. Unger said the city had “an unfortunate run of bad luck” with several “horrid accidents in a brief period.”

As the vehicle policy is up for renewal, there are six more vehicles on it than a year ago. Public works director Dave Morlan explained that three pickup trucks will be sold at auction next month. Their replacements have already been purchased. The number of vehicles on the policy will decrease by at least three soon.

The city council approved the low bid of $216,400 from Godbersen-Smith Construction Co of Ida Grove for the reconstruction of Deer Run in Lincoln Ridge Estates and alley work in the block that includes the Stitch and Thomas Jefferson Gardens. The project was bid in two parts to give the council flexibility. The council approved both parts. The funds are in the coming year budget.

Jim Leiding of Bolton & Menk is familiar with Godbersen-Smith and called the company “a solid contractor very capable of doing the work.”

In other business the council approved the final step of issuing $1 million in general obligation urban renewal notes. The loan will pay the city’s $250,000 share of the downtown façade restoration project; real estate acquisition in the TIF district; the city’s share of a Community Development Block Grant project involving owner-occupied housing rehabilitation; the final $200,000 payment on the Highway 4 overpass (that amount is the cost overrun incurred after bonds were sold for the project, which was completed in 2012); and preliminary engineering costs for a storm water project in the northern part of the district, an area which includes Wild Rose Casino.

The council approved the bid from Blohm Inspection/Environmental Services of $2,703 for the necessary asbestos inspection for the downtown façade project.

The council approved the second reading of an ordinance to add a $1 per month on residential water bills to cover costs at the city yard waste site at Daubendiek Park, and the hiring of Jeramie Hinote as seasonal groundskeeper at the Jefferson Community Golf Course at a monthly wage of $2,678. He will work March 1 through Oct. 31.

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