Council considers plans to reduce insurance increase
Cornell City Council
The Cornell City Council members weighed the balance between deductible and premium for insurance, during a regular meeting Jan. 16.
Board members considered three quotes from Municipal Property Insurance Company, for coverage of the city’s property during the 2020 year.
“The premium jumped up about $2,500,” said Dave De-Jongh, city administrator.
DeJongh says he talked to an agent and the agent told him there are ways to reduce the premium by increasing the deductible.
Under the current plan, the city has a $1,000 deductible and the annual premium would be $17,428. Other quotes given, were a $2,500 deductible, with a $16,551 premium and a $5,000 deductible plan, with a $15,775 premium.
DeJongh says the city filed a claim last year, where a semi hit a utility pole, but the Municipal Property Insurance Company ended up not having to pay, because the semi driver’s insurance policy covered the cost.
“That’s actually the only thing we’ve ever turned in,” said DeJongh, adding that the city has been with Municipal Property Insurance Company since 2016.
Council member Mark Larson said he would go with the $5,000 deductible plan. Steve Turany, council member, also agreed he was comfortable with a $5,000 deductible.
Ashley Carothers, council member, pointed out there is only $1,653 difference in premium, between the highest and lowest deductible plans.
“So, I see both sides of the coin here,” said Carothers.
DeJongh noted that the board could always change the plan next year, if they decide they want a lower deductible.
“If we find we have a number of claims and it’s a little more than we can bite off, we can go back down in deductible later,” agreed mayor Judy Talbot.
The council members voted to accept the $5,000 deductible plan.
Members also acted on the mayor’s appointment of John Ouellette as the non-uniformed dwelling code building inspector, after the previous inspector resigned.
“He (Ouelette) is very qualified for it (the position),” said Talbot.
The council agreed upon Ouelette as the inspector.
Members also discussed the possibility of limiting parking to 15 minutes on Main Street, in front of Kids First Childcare. The discussion came after local parent Jessalynn Gettler wrote a letter to the council, requesting the parking restriction be put in place between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., on weekdays.
Gettler said in the letter, that parking is often limited in front of the daycare, because of traffic for the surrounding businesses, forcing her and other parents to park across the street. Gettler went on to say crossing the street with multiple young children for drop-off or pick-up at the daycare, can be a safety concern.
“The parking there is quite congested,” said Talbot, noting it was especially so during the pick-up times.
Carothers questioned whether Gettler had talked to the daycare owner about the issue and said she thinks employees of the daycare sometimes park in front of the building.
“I’m concerned, that is one space enough when you’ve got how many people, picking up how many kids, at the same time,” said Talbot, questioning if people would wait for the designated parking space to open up and block the street.
The issue was sent to the Public Health and Safety Committee for further discussion.
The council also reviewed a letter in support of making a section of County Hwy. K, between 170th Ave. and 200th Ave., available for ATV/UTV travel. DeJongh said he plans to send the letter to Chippewa County officials.
During the public comment section of the meeting, Bill Kvapil, Chippewa Valley ATV Council member, said the ATV council is now applying to get a portion of County Hwy. EE open instead.
“Is there a reason we can’t do both?” asked Carothers.
Kvapil said putting both highways in the letter would help. Talbot said the county would then have options for the ATV route.
“If you look at the map you can see, once you hit Cornell here, there is nothing that can get you south,” said Talbot.
DeJongh agreed to add a portion to the letter, stating support for a section of County Hwy. EE to be opened for ATV travel between 210th Ave and 155th Ave.
Council members in support of opening the highways could sign the letter, following the meeting.
In the information portion of the meeting, DeJongh gave an update on the Mill Yard Park ballfield fence project. The city got a Minnesota Twins Community Fund grant to help fund the fence reconstruction project. DeJongh says the project was completed in the past few weeks.
Carothers noted not all of the funding was used. DeJongh said he is getting prices on yellow guarding tubes to go along the top of the fence.
Talbot also reported that Tracy Roper-Beachem was hired for the secretary position with the Cornell Police Department. Beachem will serve as Clerk of Courts, as well.
Talbot also reported she applied for, and received, a grant from the Chippewa County Foundation, for technology in the Cornell Visitors Center. She says the county grant will help purchase a TV and DVD player for the center, and, hopefully, a new printer and supplies, and an outdoor TV antenna.
“The issue we were having is, we couldn’t get any TV reception,” said Talbot, adding that people come into the visitors center asking about the weather when storms are anticipated.
Talbot says the ability to get a local weather station would be helpful.
“We tried to do that with radio and could get no reception at all,” said Talbot.
The Borderline Rebels 4-H club held their annual pizza and craft meeting Jan. 6. Before the meeting, the members all got their own personal pizza, which they prepared themselves in a pie tin. Business during the meeting included reports on the upcoming drama and music festival, and a reminder that the club needs to choose two auctioneers for the February lunchbox meeting. Youth leader reports included news on the Bloomer Archery Program, the Mall of America Trip back in December, and a reminder that the houseplant workshop is Jan.19.