Williamstown swears in mayor, council members

WILLIAMSTOWN – New terms of office began for two councilmen and the mayor of Williamstown when they were sworn in Tuesday.

Mayor Jean Ford was sworn in for her ninth two-year term and Councilmen Marty Seufer and Ron Erb were sworn in for new four-years terms. Ford won over her two opponents in the May primary. Seufer and Erb were unopposed.

Ford announced the city appointments for the coming year. Ford will chair the committee for public safety, Seufer will handle the department of accounts, finance and the park commission. Councilman Gene Duncan will handle the water works and planning commission, Ron Erb will handle the department of sewer and sanitation and Councilwoman Barbara Lewis will handle the department of street, sidewalks and the tree commission.

Susan Knopp will remain as city clerk and treasurer and C. Blaine Myers will remain as city attorney. J.L. Dean will remain as fire chief, George Chandler will be city judge and Alan Gates will remain as director of sewer and public works

Ford said police chief B.D. Adkins has been appointed to the post through the end of the month because he has tendered his resignation effective July 31. Ford said the city will begin a search for a new chief.

After the swearing-in, council accepted the lone bid for street paving from Kelly Paving for $201,382.50.

Seufer said after a review of the bid he recommended the council accept the bid. He said the city has the funds to cover the project.

“The money for this is coming from our carryover that is better than expected,” he said. “We are able to supplement the street line item in the budget to more than cover the costs so I make the motion we award the contract.”

Seufer’s motion was seconded by Councilwoman Barbara Lewis and was approved in a unanimous vote. Ford said the paving project will start soon.

Council also approved a new supplier for the city’s workers compensation insurance. Seufer said the city’s rates will see a significant increase due to two claims in the past year.

“Our insurance carrier, Commercial Insurance, who is through the municipal league, went ahead and priced our current provider, Brick Street, and Companion,” he said. “Basically it’s the same coverage. Brick Street is in at $42,366 and Companion is $32,790. Last year we paid $24,000.”

Seufer said the city has no option and since Commercial Insurance is still the main carrier he is comfortable with the change of underwriter to Companion.

Because of the two claims, Seufer said, the city’s experience modifier, which insurance companies use to figure rates, went from .86 to 1.18. He said the modifier will be in effect for three years.