The Atlantic City Council, Wednesday, is expected to act on the appointment of a City Attorney. Former City Attorney David Wiederstein, who also serves as the Cass County Attorney, has been filing-in as needed since the departure in August, of former City Attorney Jamie Arnold. The Council has considered proposals for the position from Clint Fichter, J-C Van Ginkel and Wiederstein, and conducted interviews with both Wiederstein and Van Ginkel in closed sessions.
The City’s Personnel and Finance Committee also discussed each of the proposals but decided to forward the matter to the Council without making a recommendation. Mayor Dave Jones made it clear during the Council’s session Sept. 16th, that he prefers Van Ginkel for the job, but according to City Administrator John Lund, the consensus of Council following the closed session interviews, was to appoint Wiederstein. Lund said he remains neutral and will not offer a recommendation during the Council’s 5:30-p.m. meeting, Wednesday.
In other business, the Atlantic City Council will hear from Fire Chief Mark McNees, with regard to the Fire Department providing commercial fire extinguisher inspection and servicing. And, the Council will act on a Resolution “Approving the Transfer of Surplus Funds from the Atlantic Wastewater Utility Fund to the City Employee Benefits Fund.”
The move is being considered according to John Lund, because the City was recently forced out of its health insurance plan due to a $2-million dollar deductible being placed on a member of the group plan. That was a substantial increase from the $40,000 deductible the City had been paying from its insurance underwriters. When the contract ended, the underwriter was no longer responsible for any billing or claims being processed after May 1st, 2015.
Once claims in the system had been processed, that left the City with run-out claims amounting to over $1.28-million. Lund says the City has exhausted all of its employee benefits fund, and reduced the balance to just over $600,000. The City, he says has five options, with the most logical being the transfer of surplus Wastewater Utility funds to the Benefits Fund, as allowed under Iowa Code. The City will have a “sizable reserve” of more than $638,000 in the Wastewater Utility Fund as of July 1st, 2016 , according to Lund, largely due to cost overestimates for the treatment plant construction and ongoing operations.
Lund says using those funds would be “The most cost-effective, taxpayer friendly and expedient manner,” with which to address the Run-Out claims issue.