By CHRIS MORRIS
NEW ALBANY —
By a 7-2 vote, the New Albany City Council voted down an ordinance that would have provided a health insurance subsidy to permanent part-time employees Thursday night. The measure passed the first two readings at the last council meeting.
The ordinance was geared toward part-time employees who earned at least $700 a month. In October, the council voted to abolish its own insurance option.
Councilman John Gonder proposed the ordinance and it was seconded by Councilwoman Shirley Baird. They were the only two members to vote in favor of the bill. There was no discussion prior to the vote.
Additional appropriations approved
The council passed unanimously on first and second readings three additional appropriations for the street, fire and police departments.
• New Albany Street Commissioner Mickey Thompson asked for $300,000 to shore up his budget heading toward the end of the year. The street department’s budget was cut by more than $400,000 last year by the state and these funds will help make up for those cuts. He said $75,000 will be used for road salt.
“We waited as long as we could,” Thompson said of asking for the additional appropriations.
The money will be taken out of both EDIT and Riverboat funds.
• The fire department received approval for $125,000 to help purchase a new truck.
The vehicle was described as a “light truck” by New Albany Fire Chief Matt Juliot and will be used at crime scenes and for rescues. It will also help haul equipment to fire or rescue scenes. Juliot said he has two to three rooms full of equipment, but has no room on any of the existing trucks. The new vehicle will be housed at fire headquarters at Fourth and Spring streets.
• New Albany Police Chief Sherri Knight asked for $127,200 in additional funds for gasoline, vacation sell backs and specialty pay. She said $87,000 will be used for gas. Officers also have the option to sell back one week of vacation each year and also receive extra pay for special certifications.
Knight and her staff received praise from Councilman Dan Coffey.
“I’ve never seen the department run so tight as it is ... you are doing a bang-up job,” Coffey told Knight.
Update to voting district passes
An ordinance to update and divide the city’s six election districts passed 6-3 on the first two readings. As required following the 2010 U.S. Census, the council must have a new redistricting plan in place by the end of the year.
Councilman Kevin Zurschmiede introduced the ordinance and said out of the two plans considered, the one he proposed was fair and less complicated.
However, Sixth District Councilman Scott Blair said the plan made his district “more jagged.”
But Zurschmiede said the plan he favored “affected fewer people and brought the numbers closer together.”
Blair, Coffey and Pat McLaughlin voted against the ordinance on the first two readings.
Two ordinances up for third reading — one to appropriate funds for the restoration of the Second Baptist Church clock tower and a second to require filing of documents with the city clerk — were both tabled.