There was good news for customers of Atlantic Municipal Utilities during last night’s meeting of the Atlantic City Council. AMU General Manager Steve Tjepkes said their calendar year budget was recently approved by the AMU Board and a public hearing was held. The final step, which was merely a formality, was to make a report to the City Council. He said they’re not anticipating any extra expenditures or other changes this year, therefore “There’s no rate increases proposed for this next year.”
And, representatives with the Iowa Municipalities Workers Compensation Association (IMWCA) spoke with regard to Loss Prevention Controls initiated by the City, as it pertains to Worker’s Comp claims. Ed Morrison, the City’s liaison with the IMWCA, works with the City’s Department Heads and City Administrator John Lund. He told the Council that the City’s Experience Modification Factor — which is an important factor used to adjust workers’ compensation premium and is determined by comparing actual losses to expected losses for the experience period based on the employer’s industry — at .71, is at the lowest point it’s been for nearly the last 11-years.
He says “In essence what that means is your Work Comp premium is reduced…I would say…dramatically. What that tells me as your Loss Control Rep…I’m assigned to your City, is you have very strong management commitment here to having a safe and healthy work environment.”
Morrison, and the IMWCA’s Tim Kirgan, both commended the Department Heads, Safety Committee and Safety Coordinator Amanda Martin for the hard work and efforts they’ve put in creating a safe and healthy work environment. Morrison said the City has had only 13 claims in the past four-years, which he said was “Remarkable.”
Tim Kirgan said programs initiated by the City has saved 29-percent in the cost of premiums. He said before the changes took effect, the Loss Ratio was more than 100-percent. That meant the City was paying a premium in excess of $117,000 per year. Currently the premium is right around $64,000. And, while the City is saving money, Kirgan said more importantly, its employees “Are getting home safe at the end of the day.”
In other business, the Atlantic City Council voted 5-to 1, with Councilperson Kathy Somers the lone “No” vote, to enter into a 99-year agreement with Elite Octane for the delivery of gray water from the Wastewater Treatment Plant. The treated water would normally be discharged into the Nishnabotna River next to the plant. Somers’ objection to the agreement, was with regard to the fact the City was locked-in to the long-term agreement to supply 100-percent of the gray water, when other, future businesses looking to locate in Atlantic, may also require a supply of the water.
City Wastewater Superintendent Tim Snyder said that was of concern to him also, but there are terms in the contract that allow for some flexibility in the amount of gray water, especially in times of drought, when the ethanol or water plant is off-line for repairs or otherwise, and other contingencies. Elite Octane’s Nick Bowdish said that while they do have eight private wells that tie into the City’s aquifer, gray water is critical to the plant’s operation. It costs the citizens of Atlantic nothing, and without it, he warned, the project cannot move forward, and that “The City can wait for the next economic opportunity to come down the road to use that water.”