Morenci city council changes insurer 12.12

Written by David Green.

City council members voted Monday to save a lot of cash by changing liability insurance providers. Department heads are hoping they still have the same coverage.

Making the switch from the Michigan Municipal League (MML) insurance plan to one provided by Berends, Hendricks and Stuit Insurance Agency will save the city $7,000 in each of the next three years.

Additional savings could be realized due to the $250 deductible cost in collision insurance compared to $1,000 from MML. The city’s claims for collision coverage are generally below $1,000, said city clerk/administrator Renée Schroeder.

A year ago, the city paid $47,000 to MML for liability insurance coverage. This year’s bid came in at $39,800. Berends, Hendricks and Stuit (BHS), based in Grandville, Mich., gave a bid of $32,800 and guaranteed that rate for three years if the city wishes to renew the contract.

“The last time we went with someone else, it was a big pain for me,” said fire chief Chad Schisler.

Schroeder knew he would be concerned about allowing children to ride on fire trucks during parades, but she checked that issue with BHS and learned it wouldn’t be a problem.

BHS was also aware that Morenci provides coverage in a portion of Ohio, but that was acceptable to them, also.

Police chief Larry Weeks said that he also has concerns about leaving MML because he would be leaving behind valuable resources the company offers.

Weeks said the company has a person on staff who is very familiar with law enforcement issues. Weeks has obtained assistance with policy questions, employee-related concerns and civil liability issues.

Schroeder said BHS also has a support person on staff. She acknowledged a “comfort level” with Michigan Municipal League, also, but after reviewing the BHS proposal, she’s expecting comparable service.

“For the cost savings, I think it’s worth a try,” she said.

“I realize we need to save money,” Chief Weeks said. “I just want council to understand what we’re receiving now.”

Schisler was also concerned about replacement cost coverage on city equipment, noting that the cost of purchasing a new fire truck far exceeds the prices paid in the past for the existing fleet of vehicles.

Schroeder said BHS offers the same replacement costs as MML: for fire trucks  only and not other city equipment.

With councilors Keith Pennington and Jason Bryant absent, council members vote 5-0 to accept a one-year contract with Berends, Hendricks and Stuit.

  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
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    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
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    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
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    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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