Insurance claims raise Marion renewal by nearly $83,000

Insurance claims against the City of Marion last year have resulted in a renewal increase from nearly $83,000 then to more than $96,000 this year, the Marion City Commission learned Monday.

Casey Case, city insurance contractor, said the increase is due to loss history including property, auto, workman’s compensation and linebacker used for liability in litigation.

Although the renewal date was April 1, Case said commissioners still may modify coverage at any time to reduce rates with the new amount pro-rated.

Among possible savings discussed was raising the deductible from $500 to $1,000, and possible elimination of a million dollars in umbrella coverage because there is already one million dollar coverage each for property and liability.

Case said the umbrella coverage would begin after coverage for the other contingencies was exhausted. The commissioners tabled discussion to examine whether the 73 percent of cities in Kansas doing without umbrella coverage were doing so because they were large enough to self-insure large amounts.

Commissioners tabled action on allowing discharge and sales of Fourth of July fireworks in the city, as requested by a merchant, Darvin Markley, to allow time for a resolution to be developed.

Markley said he didn’t want to sell fireworks himself, but wanted to see it possible for groups such as Boy Scouts to do so.

City Administrator David Mayfield said following newspaper coverage last week, he already has had one inquiry from McPherson on providing fireworks to the Boy Scouts.

City Attorney Dan Baldwin recommended basing any approval on requirements already developed last year for Hillsboro with adherence to state regulations.

Police Chief Michel Soyez said allowing sales might enhance city control over fireworks used because citizens are bringing fireworks to town anyway.

Police Chief Thad Meierhoff told commissioners his department has received free 400 feet of 10-year-old two and a half-inch hose, which is “tested and like new,” from the forestry department. Meierhoff said the hose, which sells for $38 per 50 feet, has as much as a 30-year life span.

Public Works Director Harvey Sanders said he learned at a recent Kansas municipalities meeting that 15 cities in the state, led by towns like Winfield, Chanute and Clay Center, have signed up to form their own electric power pool, combining generation, sales and transport much like a centralized electric company.

Sanders said rising costs are “causing lots of concern. Cities are being hit hard.” He suggested such a move may be in Marion’s future.

Mayfield said he has received word that new speed limit signs at the east end of the city on Highway 256 are being paid for by the Kansas Department of Transportation.

Baldwin reported he will be participating in a seminar on easements.

Mayfield said seven of nine computers networked into a server at the library were damaged last Wednesday night when an antenna was struck by lightning. Two of the computers won’t come on, but he said Great Plains Computers may be able to fix them plus save information on the server.

Mayfield said the computers are covered by insurance with a $500 deductible.

Commissioner Jim Crofoot suggested equipment may have to be replaced because of low success in reviving blown-out computers.

Mayfield said he is checking into Homeland Security funds administered through the Kansas Highway Patrol to provide grant money for a possible $30,000 to $40,000 in security fencing and gate around the water plant with adjacent shop area.

The commissioners approved the April investment and collateral report and financial statement.

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