BY PAT BROWN
In a bid opening for the City of Magee the city agreed to accept all three bids that were submitted as depositories for the city funds.
The best bid which would provide interest at 1.46 percent was offered by Peoples Bank. Trustmark came in second with a bid of 1.25 percent and PriorityOne bid at market rate. This means the rate could change daily. The board approved all three of the bids which would allow the city to call around and get the best rate at any given time.
This basically nullifies the bid process because they can shop the rates as they choose. On the converse it could also prevent the city of being able to take advantage of long-term rate guarantees. The bid is for a two year term. Trustmark had been the primary depository for the city. However, the last time funds were available for deposit was from the proceeds of the $250,000 grant from the state. In that situation the clerk called Trustmark and PriorityOne and PriorityOne was selected.
Alderman Whitney Baker left the room for the vote in this circumstance as well as when the depository was discussed. Representatives from the State Auditor’s Office confirmed this is the correct procedure. Stating also that there is an exemption that allows banks to have a representative on a city board and conduct financial business for the city.
Berry brought to the board for discussion the idea of getting an ATM machine to set up in the police department. He said it could be used to pay fines for people from out of town. He also said there are inquiries on a daily basis from customers at city hall wanting to know if the city has an ATM.
Alderman Whitney Baker told the board that PriorityOne sometimes leases space for an ATM or fee could be based on volume of transactions. Lane Hosey, city clerk, said they had inquired about the cost of a machine and it was $2,500 to $3,000. Baker said that was probably for servicing the machine.
Baker told the board they had explored the idea of customers being able to pay bills on-line. The board agreed that they should research the possibilities of options available.
The board was faced with the issue of health insurance for employees of the city. The current plan is Blue Cross Blue Shield and according to David Dunn the city is facing a 24 percent increase in health premiums. Dunn is a former insurance agent. The city is currently funding 70 percent of the cost for employees and the employees were paying 30 percent.
The increase would have cost an increase of $5.10 for individuals or a increase of $15.82 for families for each payroll at the current 70 - 30 split. In dollars that meant employee shares of insurance would see an increase of $5,300 per month and the city’s share would have increased $7,538 per month. The board opted to increase the city share to 72 percent which will lesson the amount due from employees. According to board members this helps offset the smaller raises that were given this year.
Berry cited high claims for the reason of the increase and said that he does not expect that to go down for the next year. The city had $357,000 in claims and paid $369,000 in premiums which includes a $1,500 deductible.
The board agreed to allow change of property owned by Bruce Lewis at 1108 Mill Drive, S.E. to be changed to industrial use. At the same time they said they would not allow truck traffic on Mill Road citing that it was not built for 18-wheeler traffic. Berry said the traffic could be re-routed to 13th Avenue. The board approved.
A request from the Simpson County Development Foundation was tabled to allow for additional findings. The Foundation requested the city pay the utility bill for a lift station at the industrial park where the Pioneer facility was located. The bill is $47 to $48 per month. The letter indicated that the station had been turned over to the city of Magee. Berry said while it did not seem like a lot when you consider the insurance increases those funds matter.
The vaping ordinance the mayor was pushing was determined to be not necessary according to the board attorney. Bruce Smith told the board that their ordinance addressed vaping issues.
Berry told the board the city had received $32,000 from the state for internet sales tax. He encouraged the board to wait on another payment in six months to allow more funding before the funds were spent. These funds may only be spent on roads, bridges, water and sewer lines.
Berry said the proceeds from the auction sale held over the past weekend brought in $29,000 for the city. He said it was from a bunch of junk.