Obion board hires new officer; settlement reached on water well bill

Obion board hires new officer; settlement reached on water well bill
By KEVIN BOWDEN
Staff Reporter
Obion will be getting a new police officer soon.
The Obion City Council voted unanimously Monday night to hire William Keith Ozment from the Newbern Police Department.
Ozment had previously worked at the Obion Police Department from 2001-02 before transferring to the Newbern Police Department, where he has worked for the past 10 years.
“He’s a good person,” Mayor Glen Parnell said. “He’s a good officer. I know him personally.”
The council’s hiring of Ozment brings the Obion Police Department to full force with Police Chief Royce Aker and three patrolmen.
Also during Monday night’s half-hour meeting, the council approved a settlement with Elite Electric Co. for work at two of the city’s water wells. The city will pay a total of $2,900 for the work, which includes two service calls. The original bill for the work was nearly $10,000.
The council also formed an ad-hoc committee to study the city’s garbage collection costs and voted to drop Humana as the city’s health insurance provider and advertise for bids for a new insurance provider.
It was Parnell who brought up the escalating costs for regular and bulk garbage collection.
“We’re not taking in enough money to cover our costs,” Public Works director Randy Evans said.
He provided council members with a financial report dating back to 2009 showing the city has been losing money under its contract with Barker Brothers Waste Inc. The city actually made just over $5,000 in 2009,  but in 2010 the city lost about $4,500 and last year the city lost nearly $11,000.
“Maybe we just need to talk about getting out of the bulk pickup business altogether,” council member Mike Miller said.
“Bulk is costing us big money and we’re not getting it back,” council member Bob Anderson said.
“Obviously something needs to change,” Miller said.
Parnell agreed to serve on the committee to look at garbage collection costs in the city. Also on the committee will be council members Patsy Barker and Jim Depriest and Evans. The committee is expected to make a report at the council’s next meeting.
Once again, it was Evans who brought up another pressing issue — his ongoing frustration with the city’s health insurance provider.
Persistent complaints about the insurance carrier prompted Anderson to make the motion to drop the Humana plan and seek bids for a new insurance provider.
“We don’t seem to be getting as many problems worked out as we’d like to,” Evans told the council.
It was that comment that prompted Anderson’s motion.
“This is getting worse instead of better,” he said. “We’ve played this game long enough.”
In other action, the council:
• Was informed by Evans that the city’s fire department tanker is out of service following a fire call Saturday night.
Evans said the brakes on the GMC tanker truck went out Saturday and the truck is currently at Allen’s Towing & Recovery in Union City.
“I don’t know what the total damage is going to be on it,” Evans said.
• Was informed by Parnell that he wants to discuss the city’s cellphone bill at the council’s next meeting. He said the monthly bills are running about $450.
Monday night’s meeting was opened in prayer by Depriest and Parnell led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Staff Reporter Kevin Bowden may be contacted by email at kmbowden@ucmessenger.com.
Published in The Messenger 2.21.12

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