Members of the Newbern Board of Mayor and Aldermen braved icy conditions on Tuesday evening to host the town's regular monthly board meeting in the municipal courtroom.
The meeting began at 5 p.m. with a public hearing featuring the second reading of the town's sewer ordinance. Alderman Robert Hart moved to dispense with second reading. John Flatt added a second and the motion passed, unanimously. All board members were present at the meeting.
There was very little discussion concerning the sewer ordinance and the public hearing closed quickly. The regular January board meeting followed the hearing.
Hart offered a prayer after the meeting was called to order.
Board members added two items to the agenda of the regular January meeting: the attorney's bill and a change in classification for two employees on the city payroll.
In old business, the sewer use ordinance was approved with a motion by Alderman Kris Smith. Watson added a second and the motion passed without opposition.
City Recorder Jason Roberts presented six bidders vying to provide credit card acceptance service for residents at City Hall.
Roberts said Banccard was the lowest and best bidder of the group. Other bidders included First Data, PES, BIS, Encore, Sam's and Quickbooks. Roberts said each bid offered varied pricing determined by the card brand used in the transaction.
Flatt moved to award the bid to Banccard, with Smith adding a second. The motion passed, unopposed.
In new business, aldermen voted to tie together the amount of the incentive offered to city employees who opt out of the city's insurance plan to the cost of insurance.
"Several years ago, we developed a program to offer incentives to get people off of the city insurance," said Roberts after the meeting. "Our insurance has gone up 13 percent over three years. We increased that incentive 13 percent and tied it to the cost of our insurance."
The increase raised the incentive from $400 to $450 for employees choosing to opt out of the city's policy. Roberts said with that increase, the city of Newbern is still saving $18,240 per year.
Hart moved to approve increasing the incentive and tying it to the cost of the city's insurance, with Watson adding a second. The motion passed unanimously.
Two Newbern employees were moved from part-time to full-time status after a roll call vote.
Newbern Librarian Janice Peevyhouse and Brent Johnson of the Newbern Parks and Recreation Department were both classified as part-time employees, although Peevyhouse had worked full-time hours for several years and Johnson had worked full-time hours since April.
The change in classification provided a salary at the same rate of pay for Peevyhouse, who Roberts reported already had insurance through the city. She will now receive vacation and sick days. Johnson will now be considered a full-time employee, as well.
Hart moved to approve the reclassification, with Flatt adding a second. A roll call vote showed a unanimous vote and the motion passed.
In the Police Report, board members gave permission for Roberts and Chief Harold Dunivant to interview prospects for a position left vacant by a retiring part-time dispatcher. The candidate will then be presented to Newbern Mayor Olen Parker for approval. Due to the short time frame, the position will be filled and the new employee presented to the board at the February meeting.
The Newbern Fire Department reported that firemen responded to 17 calls and seven structure fires in the past month.
Roberts provided a report on the Newbern Municipal Regional Planning Commission, which met on Tuesday, Jan. 8, and Elmo Lund provided the VMS report.
Newbern Mayor Olen Parker reported on the success of the Penny Hardaway Hoop Fest, which averaged 3,000 people attending each night of the event. Parker thanked the community for the huge success.
Roberts said after the meeting that officials with the event are thinking about increasing the event to three days next year.
Parker also announced two appointments to the Library Board.
Serel Mimms and Tom Parnell have completed their service to the board. Kelly Campbell and Jim Lavalley will replace them.