The Guthrie City Council and the Guthrie Public Works Authority (GPWA) held their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday night. Mayor Steve Gentling was absent, so Vice Mayor Gaylord Z. Thomas had the gavel.
The GPWA approved a change order that will save the city $24,723 on a sanitary sewer project and approved a new health insurance plan for employees with United Healthcare that will only raise the city costs by 2.7 percent versus the Blue Cross/Blue Shield plan that would have raised costs 13.5 percent. The city spent $756,358 on insurance premiums in the current fiscal budget and with the new plan it is at $843,758 compared to BCBS plan of $860,758. United Healthcare also offered the city a bundle plan to include dental and vision which helped reduce the cost.
The council then gaveled into session with approval of the same insurance plan for the city employees. The approval was unanimous at 5-0.
The council nominated and approved Brian Bothroyd to fill the vacant Ward II seat left by the resignation of Chuck Burtcher earlier this month. City Judge David Hood swore Bothroyd in and he took his seat for the rest of the meeting. Bothroyd will serve out the remaining term until May 2023.
The council also approved the new agreement for School Resource Officers (SRO) with Guthrie Public Schools on a unanimous vote. Dr. Mike Simpson then took the podium to discuss a new city ordinance that will deal with truancy in Guthrie schools. There is currently a state law on truancy, this local law will give the district and the SRO’s more tools to work with on absenteeism and truancy in Guthrie. If a ticket is written under this ordinance, the family would be visiting with Hood. Simpson related to the council how a current case has been in the works two years in Logan County because it requires a jury trial.; The ordinance passed unanimously. Dr. Simpson, Diane Long from the district attorney’s office, Hood, Billy Wheeler, Kim Biggs and Leroy Alsup all had input to ensure the legality of the ordinance and that they do not overload the municipal court docket. The district attorney’s office and the district court can still be used if the behavior cannot be corrected.
The council then approved on a 5-1 vote with James Long dissenting an interlocal agreement to provide dispatch services to Crescent for $22,000 a year. The original negotiations started at $50,000 a year. The city also receives $30,000 a year from the rural fire departments for dispatching services. The city goal is to add another dispatcher in the foreseeable future. The contract is subject to annual review and depending on call volume can be adjusted. The city has handled over 5,000 calls from Crescent since November 2018 already. Guthrie Police Chief Don Sweger addressed the council advising them when there is down time the dispatchers have a list of projects they can work on. Currently they are scanning all the paper records into the computer so that everything will be digital soon.
The council adjourned with no city manager report or executive session at 8 p.m. The council will not meet again until September 10 because of the Labor Day Holiday and the final budget for the 2020 fiscal year will be the subject of a public hearing that night.