Highland News Leader

Highland approves new contract with ambulance personnel

The city of Highland has a new labor agreement with its EMTs and paramedics.

The City Council approved a collective bargaining agreement on July 16 with the International Association of Firefighters Local 3672 for a two-year term, ending on April 30, 2020.

“There were really only two changes to the contract that were significant,” said Highland City Manager Mark Latham.

One was the creation of another step increase in pay based on seniority. An addition step was added for employees who hit the 25-year mark with the department.

“It kind of mirrors the police (contract),” Latham said. “We’ve got three or four guys that will be hitting that (25 years) pretty soon.”

There are about 18 members of the EMT/paramedic bargaining unit.

The other major part of the agreement was the pay raise for all employees, which will be 2.5 percent for both years of the contract.

City requires permit for work in rights-of-way

The council also passed an addition to its code of ordinances concerning utility work in public rights-of-way. The new ordinance requires private companies to get a permit from the city before beginning any work in the right-of-way.

“This way we have a little better idea who is in our right-of-way,” Latham said. “They don’t need a permit in an emergency situation.”

“I think this is a good idea,” said Councilwoman Peggy Bellm.

HCS offers additional after-hours rates

On July 2, the City Council approved a change in Highland Communication Services rates establishing an additional $20 cost for select internet service level agreements, providing no-cost, after-hours service for HCS customers.

However, the change left out the after-hours option on two service packages:

Ultimate (Up to 100M upload/100M download); and

200 mb (Up to 200M upload/200M download).

The new ordinance corrected that error of omission.

HCS contract approved with Channel 30

The council approved a retransmission consent agreement between HCS and Sinclair Television Group, which carries KDNL Channel 30, the local ABC affiliate. The contract also requires HCS to carry the Tennis Channel.

“Unfortunately, these cannot be broken up,” Angela Imming, director of technology and innovation for the city wrote in a memo to the council.

The financial impact for subscribers will be approximately $1 for Channel 30 and an additional 26 cents for the Tennis channel, Imming’s memo said.

Exterior design of furniture store approved

The council waived provisions of the ordinance that details design standards in the city’s central business district in order for the new Kloss Furniture store to move ahead with its renovation plans.

Earlier this summer, the store purchased the former a building Schuette’s Market building at 1100 Broadway in order to move its Highland retail operations from its current location at The Tin Shed, 135 Poplar St.

An artist's rendering of the renovations planned for the new Kloss Furniture store in Highland, which will be located in the former a building Schuette’s Market building at 1100 Broadway. Martin Roberts Design Provided

The Kloss family plans to invest about $1 million in the new location, which will be renovated inside and out.

The exterior renovation will include the use of metal siding, which is not permitted by city code without council approval.

The new store’s anticipated opening date is Nov. 1.

Items tabled

Three items had to be tabled due to the absence of two council members, Aaron Schwarz and Rick Frey.

Mayor Joe Michaelis’s re-appointments of Erin Mignin and John Coziar to the Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission had to be put off. Michaelis, who usually only votes in case of a tie, voted on all agenda items during the meeting that were not tabled in order to have the three votes required for passage.

However, the mayor did not wish to vote on his own appointments, and two council votes left did not represent a majority, so the appointment votes were postponed.

Also tabled until the Aug. 6 meeting were two items concerning the annexation of about 4 acres into the city limits. The ground, which belongs to Justin Lowe, is located at 12053 Highland Road. The items had to be tabled because a super majority vote is required for property annexation. On the five-person council, that means four votes. So, even with a vote from Michaelis, the measures could not be passed.