Insurance agency helps city conserve coin

After Tuesday’s City Council, the city will have a new insurance provider and leased property to a gardening company that wants to bring a municipal garden to the city.

Carbondale employed the provider, Illinois Municipal League Risk Management Association, since 1992 and chose to look into other options this May, according to the council agenda, after the company raised its premium from $978,000 in 2008 to the 2012 rate of $1,736, 525. The three insurance companies that showed interest were Arthur J. Gallagher, Mesirow Financial, and IMLRMA, the current provider.

Gallagher presented a proposal to the city Oct. 2 and gave four different combinations of carrier coverage. City staff chose an option they considered comparable to the existing plan, which was priced at $1,183,262.

IMLRMA gave its proposal to the city Oct. 15 and decreased its premium to $1,683,723.

Mesirow never sent a proposal to the city despite phone calls from city staff.

A committee composed of City Manager Kevin Baity and Finance Department members chose Gallagher because it best suited the city’s needs, according to the agenda item.

Councilman Don Monty said while he realizes the company will save the city a considerable amount of money, he noted Gallagher’s deductibles cost more than IMLRMA’s.

“I noticed in looking at the schedule of coverages that many of these deductibles are substantially higher — in some cases 10 times higher,” he said. “How much more in deductibles might we pay out over the years that might offset the amount of savings on the premium?”

Baity said although Gallagher has higher deductibles, it would be worth the change based on the amount the city will save on the premium price.

“The deductibles are going to be higher because (of) the number of deductibles that we’ve had to pay in the last two or three years,” he said. “We’ve only seen two, possibly three claims, and they would not negate or offset any savings based on the premium change.”

Rich Stokluska, Gallagher’s area executive vice president, attended the meeting and spoke of other businesses and organizations the company works with. He said Gallagher has an office in Itasca that works with more than 100 Illinois cities and will do business with more than 130 cities in 2013.

The company also serves 80 percent of school districts in Illinois as well, he said.

The resolution passed unanimously, and the city will receive insurance from Gallagher for 2013.

An ordinance about real estate transference was also discussed at the meeting. City property located at 301 N. Marion St. will be sold to the company Common Greens Inc. after terms of a two-year lease are satisfied.

Common Greens plans to use the land to provide fruits and vegetables to Carbondale as well as space for citizens to grow their own produce.

Monty requested an amendment be made to the resolution, which dealt with what would happen with the property if Common Greens stops business.

“I would make a motion that the lease agreement be amended to include a provision that in the event that property taxes are levied, that the responsibility to pay those taxes will be the responsibility of the leasee,” he said.

Council member Jane Adams said the council should create an additional lease requirement, which states Common Greens must recruit at least 10 neighborhood residents to work with the garden for at least two years to demonstrate their devotion to the community garden.

Sorrel Kunath, Common Greens president, said the property can be passed on to a company with a similar mission if the business dissolves because there are many other organizations like it in the city.

The ordinance and the amendments proposed by Monty and Adams were passed unanimously.

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About Austin Flynn

Austin Flynn can be reached at aflynn@dailyegyptian.com or 536-3311 ext.252.

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