City accepts donated properties

By JENNIFER COHRON
Posted 8/11/17

Daily Mountain Eagle

CORDOVA - The Cordova City Council voted Tuesday night to accept two pieces of property that require cleanup.

Mayor Drew Gilbert suggested that 75 Carver St. could be turned into a pocket park once it is cleared.

The …

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City accepts donated properties

Posted

Daily Mountain Eagle

CORDOVA - The Cordova City Council voted Tuesday night to accept two pieces of property that require cleanup.

Mayor Drew Gilbert suggested that 75 Carver St. could be turned into a pocket park once it is cleared.

The second property, 604 Resevoir St., is located across from a ballfield that is maintained by the city. Gilbert said that space could be used to expand the park or add additional parking.

Houses that fall under the city’s dangerous buildings ordinance are located on both properties.

Council member Bradley Grace asked if city workers would be used to demolish the structures.

“We were probably going to do that anyway through a more expensive and longer process. This puts them in our control so we can shorten that,” Gilbert said.

The council also appointed Vicki Earp, Keri Bagwell and Danielle Dawkins to a previously defunct medical clinic board that has oversight of Cordova Health and Rehabilitation.

“There is some financing that has been lined up and closing has been set for some additional money to be put into the nursing home,” city attorney Ben Goldman said. In order for that to go through, one of the steps for that to happen include the need “to have a full and acting membership on that board.”

Gilbert said the board was established in the 1980s for the sole purpose of issuing bonds in order to create the nursing home.

“Those bonds expired, which means they were paid off. There is a lease-purchase option. Obviously we can’t exercise that option for the company if we don’t have an active board,” Gilbert said.

Gilbert added that one of the companies affiliated with Cordova Health and Rehabilitation is seeking a construction loan to make improvements at the facility.

“We’re in a position where we only stand in their way if we don’t reappoint to this board and let them take action as needed to move forward with improving a structure in Cordova,” he said.

Also on Tuesday, Gilbert updated the council on changes within the public works department.

Former superintendent Harley Gilbert resigned last month. The department is currently operating with two full-time employees and two contract laborers.

“It’s basically the hours of three full-timers. We’re going to try to stay with that skeleton crew for now. It’s enough to handle the garbage route, which is the biggest burden on the street department, and gives us a lighter crew for other days to handle other tasks,” Gilbert said.

The city is also exploring the option of contracting with a firm to handle municipal garbage pickup.

“If that turns out to be favorable financially, we could probably run with just a three-man, full time public works crew that would do everything except rubbish pickup,” Gilbert said.

He added that the city’s other option would be to purchase a garbage truck to replace the current truck, which frequently is in need of repair.

In other action, the council voted to remain with Blue Cross Blue Shield and once again split the cost of health insurance premiums with city employees.

Gilbert announced at the July 25 meeting that the city would pay an additional $13,000 for employee health insurance next year as a result of an annual premium increase from Blue Cross.

In 2016, the council voted to switch from a Gold Plan to a Silver Plan and assume the full cost of premiums.

This year, employees received information about a competing plan from a representative of United HealthCare and then chose which one they preferred. “My understanding is that democracy ruled in favor of Blue Cross Blue Shield renewal. That was presented to employees at at 95-5 percent split this year. In essence, the city eats half the increase, and the employee takes half the increase,” Gilbert said.

Gilbert added that council could return to covering the full premium for employees if the city’s finances improve in fiscal year 2018.