Chrisman talks premiums

Chrisman renews insurance, solidifies changes to confusing vacation time regulations


CHRISMAN – The City of Chrisman will see a slight increase in the commercial insurance premium this year.

Lucas Knight of Knight Insurance updated city council members about the insurance package during the city meeting Monday, Jan. 6.

“I bid it out every year,” said Knight.

He added the coverage is staying with the same provider as last year, even though another company offered a price that was $200 less. According to Knight, the lower bid did not match the coverage provided by the successful bidder.

The total bid package of $20,480 is $494 more than was paid for 2019 coverage.

Knight said part of the increase is due to an automatic change.

“Buildings go up 3 percent every year,” he said.

The other driver was the addition of a new Ford F-450 truck to the city’s fleet.

Some features of the policy include $31 million blanket coverage for buildings to allow for full replacement. Earthquake damage is also covered with a $50,000 deductible.

“There is no flood insurance, because we are not in a flood plain,” said Knight.

He stressed something that is helping Chrisman get favorable rates is the city has not had any big losses since 2017.

“Keep that up, please,” he said. “That helps quite a bit.”

Before leaving, Knight passed on a message from the insurance company. The city was asked to put yellow caution tape around the pavilion structure at Centennial Park. The building is in bad shape, and it is scheduled for replacement.

The council approved the insurance coverage at the price quoted by Knight.

In another action item, the council accepted the resignation of sewer superintendent Lawrence Richey and decided to advertise for a laborer to fill the position with a condition of employment the new hire must start working toward a Class 4 license.

Commissioner Thad Crispin informed the others the city’s bucket truck is again out of operation.

“An OSHA inspector looked at the truck and there was a crack in the bucket. He stopped the inspection,” said Crispin.

Hydraulic issues and mechanical problems plagued the truck during 2019.

Crispin’s suggestion was to purchase a set of pallet forks for $1,000 from the Chrisman Farm Center. The forks are useable on the city’s loader tractor. Another expenditure of approximately $600 to $700 will acquire a safety basket for use with the loader forks.

He acknowledged the forks and basket arrangement will likely not go as high as the boom of the bucket truck, while adding the height should be sufficient for most jobs. He said if more height is needed for a task, suitable equipment can be rented.

“It is not worth putting more money into that old truck,” said Crispin.

The council approved his suggestion and instructed him to proceed.

Commissioner Brian Haddix presented a plan to bore under Washington Street at the location of the sanitary sewer lift station at a cost of $1,500. He explained it is necessary to get the controls for the lift station out of the pit and to an above ground site since city workers are no longer permitted to enter the pit alone.

“Nobody has been in there to check the controls since OSHA was here,” said Haddix. “Someone used to do that daily to check the controls and record the data.”

Council members saw it as a necessary expense.

The biggest part of the evening was given over to inconsistencies in the employee handbook regarding  carryover for vacations, sick days and comp time.

Various ideas were bandied about how much vacation carryover to allow or if employees should be paid for any unused vacation time. Haddix had a simple solution.

“I just say use it or lose it,” said Haddix.

The others concurred and the plan is to approve changes to the handbook specifying how much annual vacation time employees get, based on length of service to the city, and failure to use it all during the calendar year means the unused time is sacrificed and will not carry over and continue to build year after year.

Comp time was another sticky matter. City employees who work on the streets, water system and sewer plant get overtime when it is necessary to work beyond a normal week.

Commissioner Tyler Alexander said the clerical workers in the office are not eligible for overtime hours, but they are required to attend city council meetings. He advocated allowing the clerical workers to accumulate comp time up to a maximum of 60 hours since they are not paid to attend the meetings.

It was also suggested to grant comp time to new city works supervisor Thad Arrasmith for the time he attends city council meetings. Other times when Arrasmith must work after hours for emergencies will count toward overtime pay.

Alexander agreed to write the discussion points raised during the meeting for review and possible approval during the Jan. 21 city meeting.