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The council moved forward with offering new insurance options for employees, and reversed their decision to fix the broken down garbage truck at the regular meeting of the Mount Ayr City Council Monday, December 18.
After a thorough presentation of employee health insurance options available, Mount Ayr city council members had a lengthy discussion about renewing with United Healthcare versus possible benefits of switching to Wellmark plans for the upcoming year.
Two employer health plan options would ultimately be offered to employees for 2024.
The city would see a 6.85% increase in rates if they stayed the course with current United Healthcare plans.
Alternatively, the city could see a 7% decrease in rates by switching to a Wellmark Enhanced Blue 1500 HMO plan providing statewide coverage.
A Wellmark high deductible health savings account (HSA) plan was also discussed as a good alternative for employees, and could result in significant savings for the city of Mount Ayr. Council members then discussed making a financial contribution to the HSA, using money the city would save, if an employee were to choose that option.
The council unanimously agreed to move forward with offering the Wellmark Enhanced Blue 1500 HMO with a 72/28% split in employer/employee contributions and the Wellmark Bronze HSA insurance plan, including a monthly employer HSA contribution equal to the difference between the two plan premiums for the 2024 year. The council plans to re-evaluate insurance options and contributions annually.
City administrator Brent Wise updated council members on the status of the broken down garbage truck, sharing they had received an offer to purchase the truck the day after their last council meeting. Wise stated he was contacted by Elliott Equipment, as they had talked to someone looking for a used garbage truck. The potential buyer offered $31,000 at most.
Brad Elliott asked if they knew who the potential buyer was.
“I believe the guy’s name was Jon Wiegert,” Wise stated, “He said it was the cleanest 2016 he’s ever seen.”
“Maybe we should consider getting other offers from salvage companies like Sam’s Riverside,” stated council member Elliott.
Council members then discussed whether or not the truck was worth repairing if they had an offer to purchase the truck as-is. Wise estimated the city would likely not make $31,000 after repairing the truck and selling it.
Additional discussion followed about whether it is worth it for the city to take care of garbage service, or if it would be better to outsource it.
Council member Elliott asked, “Is it cheaper or better for the city to sell the whole operation?”
“I know Waste Management would be interested,” said administrator Wise, “I talked to them last year.”
“I think it’s time to revisit, it’s been 10 years,” Elliott said, “run a 10 year profit/loss and see if the value still makes sense.”
Ultimately, council members unanimously agreed to rescinded a motion from the December 4 meeting to tow the truck back to Mount Ayr and have Mason Mercer fix it. No further repairs will be made at the present time. No other action was taken by the council to change financing or sell the truck.
The council tabled decisions to sell the 2016 garbage truck until the next meeting.
In other business, the city council approved:
• a resolution authorizing and approving a loan agreement, providing for the issuance of a $500,000 general obligation bond, series 2024A to pay for engineering fees and other costs related to the downtown revitalization project,
• the resignation of city employee Josh Hanawalt,
• participating in the Multijurisdictional Hazard Mitigation planning process,
• a one time salary adjustment of $200 for each city employee,
• the treasurer’s report, and claims.
Administrator Wise also shared a financial update on the status of the swimming pool. Wise stated fundraising was going well and they would have a better idea where all grant applications stand in March or early April.
Wise also clarified the reason there is a large push for capital fundraising is to pay for additional features like an adult size water slide, an additional diving board, and other options including zero entry to the pool. Knowing what extra dollars they have available for the project will also be important when the pool committee makes their final presentation for the CAT grant. Typically, those funds are last dollars in, and they fill the funding gap, so a more specific dollar amount, including individual donations, will be needed at that time.
Elliott ended his last meeting as council member with a suggestion for the future of the pool.
“What are the repair costs going to be 40 years down the road for extra features,” Elliott asked, “Could we put operating money in an endowment fund?”