City to absorb insurance increase
By By Robbie Byrd
Monday the City Council announced insurance premiums for city employees would increase by 10 percent, but however Mayor Howard Shell said the city will absorb the cost of the increase.
The average rate per month for an individual for city employees is $250 and around $600 for family coverage.
A representative with the insurance company that handles the cities policies said that premiums in Atmore have been statistically low, thanks to the city's assistance to employees to keep these down.
"Premiums today were the same as they were back in 1983," the representative said.
Shell said that the city has plans to keep rates at their current level by paying for the cost of the increase, but said he wants employees to be aware of the increase.
"I'd like to let the employees know the city will help to absorb this increase as we have done in the past," Shell said.
The council also voted to repair damaged graves at Lucia cemetery.
Louie Turner III said that the city repaired eight late last year, but did not have funds to repair eight others that were desperately in need.
He said after discussing the situation with the Mayor, funding was found to repair the graves.
The graves are unclaimed, so the city decided to bear the cost.
"There are no names on them and that's why we're taking on this obligation," Turner said. "These graves have cracked vaults and that can be unsanitary."
Turner also said the city will repair damaged roads at two cemeteries.
"We ask you to bear with us," Turner said. "The changes will be well worth it."
Mayor Shell said that the repairs will be an improvement to the cemeteries.
"We think repairing them will greatly improve the look of the cemetery," Shell said.
In other business, the council:
heard a recommendation on proposed improvements to city parks that were not completed last year, including a new scoreboard and lighting for the larger baseball field at Houston Avery Park;
approved a motion to give the mayor authority to choose a contractor to remove 19 trees, as opposed to the $10,260 the project originally was projected to cost;
appointed Ver Lufkin to the tree committee to replace Jim Spears;
discussed making changes to city burial permits
was thanked by Fire Chief Gerry McGhee for purchasing turnout gear for all paid firefighters, the first time this has happened in 5 to 8 years, according to McGhee.
Council John Watkins was not present due to illness.