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.splash
    Water Fun—Carter Seitz and Colson Walter take a fast trip along a plastic sliding strip while water from a sprinkler provides the lubrication. The boys took a break from tie-dyeing last week at Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program to cool off in the water.
  • Front.starting
    BIKE-A-THON—Children in Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program brought their bikes last Tuesday to participate in a bike-a-thon. Riders await the start of the event at the elementary school before being led on a course through town by organizer Leonie Leahy.
  • Front.drum
    on your mark, get set, drum!—Drew Joughin (black shirt), Maddox Joughin and Kaleea Braun took the front row last week when Angela Rettle and assistants led the Stair District Library Summer Reading Program kids in a session of cardio drumming. The sports and healthy living theme continued yesterday with a Mini Jamboree at Lake Hudson State Park arranged by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Next week’s program features the Flying Aces Frisbee show.
  • Front.art.park
    ART PARK—A design created by Poggemeyer Design Group shows a “pocket art park” in the green space south of the State Line Observer building. The proposal includes a 12-foot sculpture based on a design created by Morenci sixth grade student Klara Wesley through a school and library collaboration. A wooden band shell is located at the back of the lot. The Observer wall would be covered with a synthetic stucco material. City council members are considering ways to fund the estimated $125,000 project and perhaps tackling construction one step at a time.
  • 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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