After reviewing several options, Noel's City Council approved a life insurance and accidental death and dismemberment plan for eight employees during its meeting on Tuesday.
The council heard from a representative of the HIC Agency Inc. who presented a plan from The Hartford that would give the city a much higher benefit without compromising its budget. The approved plan will cost $122.40 monthly with a $40,000 death benefit, which comes in at half the price Sun Life was offering with a lower benefit.
"With a better benefit, you're likely to keep good people around," South Ward Alderman Terry Lance said.
Next, street superintendent Christopher Craig pressed the council for a raise for one of his employees during departmental reports.
"Bryan has been here for 6 months and has only gotten a 0.50¢ raise," Craig said. "Personally, I think a 0.50¢ raise is insulting and I don't know why we can't give him more."
Several members of the council spoke to the work they have seen Bryan Collins do for the city, including using his own tools to get the job done. Lance made a motion to approve the raise, resulting in a $2 increase in Collins' pay, bringing his hourly wage to $12.
Marshal Randy Wilson reported that, in the last month, 18 arrests have been made and there have been 180 cases, bringing the total cases for the year to 1,484.
He also shared with the council that Eric Mazer, a producer from the Oxygen Network and Scott Sternberg Productions, will be conducting interviews for a true-crime documentary on the Agofsky family and the drowning murder of Dan Short this week.
Lastly, the council heard from Mike Newman of Refugee and Immigrants Services and Education who came back to the meeting with a different approach to try to acquire the former Harp's building as a location for a community center.
Newman brought forth the idea to include an international cafe in the community center. The cafe would serve hot and cold drinks, as well as pastries from the 15 different nations that comprise Noel. However, a concern that the council has with the former Harp's building becoming a community center is that it may not be able to generate sales tax daily as other businesses could.
"We'd be taking away opportunities for a greater source of revenue," Mayor Davis said.
The council agreed that the idea of a community center is great, but the location is problematic due to zoning.
"We're here to help and be a bridge," Newman said. "We have a great opportunity to help all of Noel. You aren't generating any sales tax there now. The former Harp's building has been sitting there for four years."
After hearing from Newman as well as other supporters of RAISE, the council proposed a few options for buildings the organization could look into purchasing instead.
"We will refocus. We don't want to fight city hall, we want to partner with you," Newman said.