MMU approves motion to change medical insurance

Friday, November 15, 2013

Marshall Municipal Utilities approved a motion at its meeting Thursday, Nov. 14, to accept Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City's proposal for employee medical insurance that goes into effect on Dec. 1.

Megan Baldridge, director of employee relations, stated in her report Blue Cross Blue Shield, MMU's previous carrier in 2011 and 2012, proposed a plan for premiums that are $128,000 below what Coventry, its current medical insurance provider, is offering for renewal. To renew with Coventry, the company would see an increase of 14.6 percent, 4.5 percent of that is due to the Affordable Care Act. This increase would have amounted to $96,000.

The board also approved a motion to reduce by half its premium for medical coverage. In 2011, MMU temporarily instated additional assistance with dependent premiums. The reduction will see a $15 per pay period for spouse or child coverage cut to $7.50 and $25 for family coverage will be cut to $12.50.

The board approved the purchase of two new computers, a printer, GIS licenses and video recording equipment with an operating budget of $5,000, as requested by Monty Chase, director of underground facilities. In his report, he cited a need for a computer and color printer that will be used with the large sewer inspection camera and a computer for his vehicle with the GIS layers of both water and collection systems. A digital video recorder with a card will be used to store information. The expected cost is believed to be less than $5,000.

The board accepted all bids from Lutz, Daily & Brain, an engineering firm based in Kansas City, to remove all existing roofing on the power plant and replace it with new materials. The project will involve demolition and removal of old equipment that is no longer used above the roof level for Units No. 1 and No. 2. Jim Johnson, director of electric production, stated in his report the engineering firm has proposed to divide the services into two phases.

Phase one will include design work needed for the preparation of a general installation contract that will help with evaluating bids, selection of contractors and assistance in preparation of contract documents for a not-to-exceed price of $43,700. Phase two, which the board hasn't approved yet, includes services that cover all post-general installation contract design activities during the fabrication and construction periods. It has a not-to-exceed price of $25,500. Phase two services are depending on how the project progresses.

Also stated in Johnson's report is the demolition of Unit No. 3, which hasn't been operational since 2003. The state of Missouri is demanding MMU to either get it inspected or remove it as an active boiler. Lutz, Daily & Brain offered a not-to-exceed price of $13,800 for the demolition of the unit, which the board passed. Phase two of the demolition, which also hasn't been approved yet, has a not-to-exceed price of $6,900 for post-award design services.

The board approved to reduce the biochemical oxygen demand surcharge from $.22 per pound to $.18 and total suspended solids surcharge from $.21 per pound to $.20, effective for billing after Jan. 1. Ken Gieringer, director of administrative services, stated in his report that when an industry discharges wastewater that has a BOD or TSS higher than 350 parts per million, it may be subject to extra fees.

The board approved to increase the water rates effective for billing after Jan. 1. Gieringer stated in his report this increase would result in a monthly increase of $2.12 for an average residential customer. The board also approved Gieringer's recommendation to increase the Internet download speed and offer price reduction as incentives for those wanting to have faster Internet speeds. Tier two, which has an Internet speed of 12.0 Megabytes per second to 20.0 Mbps, will have a $5 reduction and tier three, which has an Internet speed of 18.0 Mbps to 30.0 Mbps, will have a $10 reduction.

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