By Andrea McCann
Washington Times Herald
Prior to the Washington City Council meeting Tuesday, Terry Wininger was sworn in as the new city building commissioner.
Wininger has 30 years of experience as a custom home builder and is a self-employed remodeling contractor. He previously served as building commissioner for other administrations and said he intends to continue the high level of integrity and professionalism established in the position by the late Chris Wimmenauer.
Marilyn McCullough of Thompson Insurance Agency updated the council members on changes to the city’s health insurance plan for employees. She said employed spouses with available insurance should use it. In addition, there now will be a $35 co-pay for doctor’s office visits, and preventative care will be paid at 100 percent. The deductible for individuals will be $500, and for families it will be $1,000.
The current cost of $7 per paycheck will stay the same for employees who participate in an annual preventative blood screening before the end of the year; it will go up to $14 per paycheck for those who do not. McCullough said results from the screening go to the employee and/or the employee’s physician, not to the city.
“It’s so they’re aware of what’s going on (with their health),” she explained.
An ordinance was introduced clarifying the city employee health insurance plan, and it will be up for adoption at the next city council meeting.
Council members approved a resolution transferring funds in the police department: $3,000 from the repair and maintenance fund to operating supplies for fuel costs through the end of the year, and $5,335 from repair and maintenance to machinery and equipment to cover hail damage repairs on WPD vehicles.
An ordinance was introduced to establish a municipal events fund, and the councilmen voted to suspend rules and have the second reading so the fund could be used immediately.
“We occasionally have events or things going on that people or corporations like to donate money for,” Mayor Joe Wellman said, adding there currently are checks waiting for someplace to go. “We’ve never really had a good way of handling that money and keeping records for it.”
He said the fund will allow for an accurate accounting of donors and expenditures for events like an upcoming Mayor’s Roundtable the city is hosting.
“An Ordinance Concerning the Refunding by the City of Washington of its Waterworks Refunding Revenue Bonds of 2006 and Authorization for Bond Anticipation Notes” also was introduced. The primary objective of the ordinance, according to Wellman, is to lower the rate on the 2006 bonds by refinancing.
That savings would allow the city to fund projects such as replacing the old water main under East VanTrees Street and upgrading the water tower by the high school to improve water pressure.
“This action should have little or no impact on the debt service of the water department,” Wellman said, explaining by the time the bonds come due, old bonds will be paid off.
The ordinance will be up for adoption at the next meeting.
In other business:
• There was some discussion of redistricting in the city because population shifts have caused some council members to have more constituents than others.
• Councilman Blake Chambers reported running into a dead end with the mystery water leak issue he’d been investigating. Current state statute doesn’t allow an adjustment for customers unless a leak is identified and corrected.
• Wellman said waste water department numbers appear to be headed in the same direction water department numbers went, so he’s requested an explanation from the company that did the department’s audit.
“It appears to me total revenues are where they were projected to be,” he said. “I think there’s a shortcoming as far as estimated expenses.”