ELLINWOOD — Meeting Tuesday, the Ellinwood City Council received updates from city staff regarding expected cost related to the energy crisis in mid-February caused by extreme cold weather. City Administrator Chris Komarek said there are still several unknown variables when it comes to expenses.
“This is related to both the wholesale purchase of power and the usage within our own infrastructure,” said Komarek. “One of the main issues at hand will be the bills we will be sending to our citizens and businesses on April 1.” He added that, depending on what the increase might be, the city will need to decide on the type of adjustments to pay agreement policies and how long to offer extensions.
“On a good note, while without a doubt bills will be higher, I believe it may not be as bad as I once thought,” he said. “Our staff will also review our agreement with KPP (Kansas Power Pool) and how the pool concept works when it comes to generation.” Komarek also said that once bills are received from energy suppliers, the information will be compiled and discussed at the council’s next regular meeting.
In other business, the council approved an insurance renewal premium of $137,422 from Jensen and Associates Inc. for the city’s commercial liability, causality and workman’s comp insurance.
“They are still working on the ambulance liability policy and it is expected to be an additional $7,500,” said Komarek. “This would make the expected renewal premium approximately $144,922.” He noted that last year’s premium was $126,650, which is an approximate increase of $18,272, or 14%, for the next 12 months of coverage.
On the subject of ambulance service, the council approved an ordinance increasing the rates charged for ambulance calls. These rates are based off Medicare allowances.
“We periodically adjust our ambulance reimbursement rates to cover increased costs and obtain the maximum reimbursement allowed,” Komarek said. “Our last rate increase was in 2018 and the new suggested rates are consistent with the other Barton County EMS services.”
Other items from Tuesday’s agenda included:
• Approval of up to $2,500 for cost of materials related to sidewalk improvements near and around the St. John’s Child Development Center on Main Street.
• Approval of a contract with the Humane Society for the impoundment and care of stray animals or animals at large.
• Approval of the selling of an empty lot at 303 S. Main to Garrett Hayes for $1,050.
• Recognition of Mark Pohlman for his 30 years of service with the fire department.
• A 15-minute executive session to discuss flood control property acquisition.
Following the session, the council decided to table the item until the next regular meeting.