Columbiana introduces smoking ban, raises insurance costs

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Should citizens be told where they can and cannot smoke near buildings or sports arenas?

The public will be given an opportunity to comment on smoking restrictions at a public hearing at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 1 at Columbiana City Hall.

Councilmember Tom Seale introduced the ordinance at the regular Oct. 18 meeting of Columbiana City Council.

In other business at the meeting, the cost of health insurance is going up for city employees.

The council unanimously approved an increase in the employee deduction for health insurance from zero to $34 for single coverage and from $115.70 to $225.70 for family coverage, effective Oct. 29.

When asked about the increase, Mayor Allan Lowe said, &8220;Since we took office (five years ago), the city has absorbed all the increases in health insurance costs.&8221;

He said during that time, the cost of insurance has increased more than 40 percent.

&8220;We just feel we’ve absorbed all we can at this point,&8221; he said.

In another matter, over the opposition of Danny Kelley and Councilmember Frieda Abrams, the council voted to hire Timothy Hyde as a Patrolman 1 at pay grade 10, step 4 contingent on a successful pre-employment physical and drug screening.

Kelley said he was concerned that another person was in line for the position.

And Abrams said, &8220;This was the first time this was introduced to the council.&8221; She said she did not have enough background information.

According to information provided to the council by Lt. Sean King of the Columbiana Police Department, Hyde is 40-years-old, has three children and makes his home in Maylene.

He worked as a dispatcher for three years, put himself through the Police Academy and has worked as a police officer for two years in Kimberly.

The council also voted unanimously to transfer the city’s Heritage Trust Investment account from Colonial Brokerage to Sterne Agee and Leach to stay with the same person who has been handling the account.

Councilmember Tim Billingsley was absent