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November 23rd, 2020

city of liberal logoELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times


The Liberal City Commission hosted its first meeting under new regulations concerning the coronavirus Tuesday evening. 

The dominant topic of the meeting was commission discussion of the comprehensive insurance program renewal with Al Shank Insurance. The renewal will last from April 1, 2020 to April 1, 2021. Al Shank gave the necessary information via phone.

“Our total proposed renewal premium from 2020 to 2021 is $682,971, and as you can see in your packet, your expiring premium, which is what you’re paying this year for the existing coverage which will run out April 1, is $651,287,” Shank said. “But also understand, if you’ll read the first renewal note, there have been some significant additions made for coverages during the policy year like  the City Recreation Center, a new radio tower, $400,000 in new Motorola equipment, and then we added the buildings at 415 N. Pennsylvania and 1401 E. Pine Street, as well as other coverage changes during the year like the purchase of the street sweepers and things like that. So if you take those items specifically in that renewal note, and how those affected your expiring premium, there’s not very much difference between your renewal premium we would propose for the new policy year starting April 1 and what you’re currently paying. Also, in the past 14 years, the City has received $937,844 in EMC dividends, and while dividends are not guaranteed, you have received one every year for the past 14. In the past five years, the annual dividend average has been $94,144.”

“I think it’s pretty fantastic the numbers are only rising by that amount given all our new additions, so I think everything looks great,” Liberal Vice Mayor Taylor Harden said. 

“And to the credit of EMC, they went in to some of those areas where they could give you credit for good loss history and those sort of things, which was something else that happened with the overall premium,” Shank said. “And with the airport liability, as you’ll read in your information, those have not had any changes or adjustments in quite a while. so you’re being held a premium this year that can be locked in for three years if you choose to do so, which means you would have an annual installment of $7,142, and then for the next two years that would not change – even if there’s a significant change in the market, that premium will remain locked in and you won’t be subject to any increases. When we were getting together the pricing, the coronavirus situation was rather on the horizon compared to where all of that is today, so I think that might have also had some effect on those changes. And there were some other things with this I had discussed with Chris [Ford] and Cal [Burke], so I’m sure they have their thoughts on everything too.”

Harden asked Shank if there would be any potential issues continuing the three-year policy route in the future. 

“I know you don’t have a crystal ball or anything like that, but if you had to guess, with all your years of experience, with everything that’s currently going on,  do you think that will rise substantially over the next several years to where it would be a significantly better decision to stick with the three-year policy now?” Harden asked. 

“I do think it would be a good idea to have the three-year policy now,” Shank said. “The significant rise is different for everyone, but I could easily see it rising at least $1,000 to $2,000 throughout the near future. so it’s a good idea to lock in now.”

Shank also talked about other parts of the policy renewal, including property limits.

“Those have gone up this year, and those items we insure include police video equipment, contractors’ equipment, the radio tower and other Motorola equipment. All of that went up this year and it was about $2 million less coverage last year than it is this year,” Shank said. “You also have cyber liability, which you put in place about three or four years ago, and we’re seeing more and more entities include cyber liability since more and more is going digital, so that helps cover any breaches that might happen as far as cyber security. You’ve also got the worker’s compensation part of the policy for slips and falls and other on-the-job injuries that could happen, and I think EMC has done a great job making sure that covers anything that can happen.”

Ultimately, the commission unanimously approved the insurance program renewal. The commission also unanimously approved a second amendment to the KDHE Water Supply Loan Fund and also the issuance of Taxable Industrial Revenue Bonds for National Beef Packing LLC. The commission approved the Kansas Municipal Pool Investment accounts and its signors, and approved renaming a platted road in the city from Barnett Road to Chance Road. To conclude the new business, Commissioners also approved $179,313.30 to replace a water main on Seward Street, which was an added agenda item. 

Commissioners also encouraged the community to continue following CDC and state guidelines while the coronavirus situation is still happening. 

“I want to say thanks to each and every person who works for the City of Liberal, you are all doing a fine job in keeping up the good work and keeping the city going, and I truly do appreciate everyone’s work,” Liberal Mayor Connie Seigrist said. “And like everyone’s said, practice good hygiene and if you do have to be out, keep your distance from people. It’d be great to get through this with no cases.”

“Absolutely, and we still want public input at these meetings, so if there is something you want brought up at the next meeting, send it to Alicia via e-mail in a timely manner and we’ll be sure to bring it up,” Harden said. 

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