City commission votes to put insurance savings towards debt payments
By Jessica LeDuc
Blade staff writer
With nearly $105,000 in savings from switching insurance plans in the coffers, the Concordia City Commission approved amending the 2013 budget Wednesday to put that money toward debt payments.
In August, the Commission approved switching from the state of Kansas employee health plan to Blue Cross Blue Shield. The result, Finance Director Amber Farha said, was a savings of approximately $105,000.
Last month, the Commission voted to use the excess money to pay down the debt service fund. In 2014, the debt service fund will require an additional four mills to cover debt payments. The trend of increasing debt payments will also continue after next year.
In amending the 2013 budget, the Commission approved moving the excess funds from each department and putting it in the debt service fund.
The only other item of business was to amend the City's railroad maintenance ordinance.
City Manager Larry Uri said the intent of the ordinance is to improve the City's ability to compel railroad companies to keep their street crossing in good repair. The amendment increases the penalty for failure to maintain crossings from $50 a day to $500 a day.
"Of course, we really don't want to get to that point with the railroad," Uri said. "I'm hoping that increasing the penalty will be a message from us to the railroad in question, which is the Kyle, that we need them to fix the Broadway intersection."
Uri said he had asked the Kyle Railroad three times to fix its crossing on Broadway, but no action has been taken.
"I'm hoping if you take this action, it will provide us with some leverage," he said.
During Uri's manager's report, he presented a letter he had received from Gov. Sam Brownback concerning the state's persistent drought conditions.
In the letter, Brownback urges all public water suppliers to monitor water usage and levels as well as conservation plans.
Last summer, the City was faced with the possibility of shutting down two of its wells. To avert that crisis, the Commission agreed to enter into an agreement with the Kansas Division of Water Resources to use only 32-percent of its appropriation for those two wells. In an effort to conserve water, the City was placed in a water warning, and consumption declined.
Uri said last night that staff will begin monitoring its well levels earlier this year, so as to avoid a similar situation this summer.
After a ten-minute executive session for attorney-client privilege, after which no action was taken, the Commission adjourned to a study session. Discussion included the review of purchasing, grant oversight, disbursement, information technologies, and records retention procedures.
An attempt to set a world record during Prairie Plowing Days has been put on hold because of the wet conditions. The original plan for the event was to have steam engine and prairie tractors plow a 160-acre field owned by Kurt Kocher, one of the Prairie Plow Days organizers along... [More]
District Court CRIMINAL Shayne Martin Smith appeared Aug. 25 and was found Guilty and convicted of Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. He was sentenced to 90 days in the Cloud County Jail and ordered to pay the costs of the action, $158, attorney fees of $50 and a fine of $100... [More]
Police Dept. Report Arrest—Officers arrested Dwayne H. MacRae, 28, Miltonvale, at approximately 10 a.m., Aug. 24 in the 800 block of Washington on a Cloud County Warrant for three counts of Cruelty to Animals. MacRae was transported to Cloud County Law Enforcement Center.... [More]
GREAT BEND — Barton Community College downed the Cloud County Thunderbirds in four sets in the Jayhawk Conference Division I opener for both teams on Wednesday night. Cloud County dropped the first set of the match, 25-19. The T-Birds defeated the Cougars 25-18 in the second... [More]
McCOOK, Neb. — The Cloud County Community College volleyball team opened its season by defeating McCook Community College in four sets on Monday. Cloud County won the opening set in the match, 25-21. McCook made it 1-1 with a 25-18 victory in the second set. Cloud County... [More]
Back to school memories . . . It is heartwarming to read what several area groups are doing to provide necessary materials for schoolchildren. It brings memories of other much earlier preschool days when Mama and I went shopping together for my first ever school... [More]
Dear Editor, School has started and that means it is time for the annual Booster Club membership drive. CHS Booster Club was organized to raise funds to support all activities and athletics of Concordia Junior Senior High School. USD 333 membership has several levels.... [More]