|Thursday’s meeting of the Murfreesboro City Council included several rezoning requests, a proposal to implement prescription drug payment caps for city employees, a recommendation by City Manager Rob Lyons and Police Chief Glenn Chrisman to pay officers for meal time, and a proposed expansion of Hobgood Elementary School.
City Schools Director Linda Gilbert informed the council Hobgood is operating beyond its current capacity, with some teachers having to share classrooms.
“Hobgood is utilizing all available space and state officials have advised us that the school is in need of a new kitchen,” Gilbert said.
She proposed an expansion that includes six new classrooms, a new kitchen and a new media center.
Gilbert said the expansion and renovation would also provide the opportunity for a “variable flow refrigeration” system for heating and cooling, which will reduce the school’s utility cost significantly.
“As a parent of two children in the city school system, I want to thank Dr. Gilbert for doing such a fine job in leading our school system,” Councilman Toby Gilley said.
“Should I admit that I was once a student in the first class to attend a brand new Hobgood School,” Councilman Doug Young added.
The proposal gained unanimous approval.
City Manager Rob Lyons recommended a change to the pay policy for officers of the Murfreesboro Police Department.
He said upon becoming city manager, he heard numerous complaints about the current policy, which did not reimburse officers for their meal times.
Lyons noted officers’ meal times are frequently cut short by dispatch calls and many times it is a challenge for the officers to account for and receive pay for these interruptions.
Police Chief Glenn Chrisman agreed and informed the council that many other communities in the state simply pay their officers for meal times in order to resolve the issue.
Lyons then proposed paying officers who work four or more hours during a shift for meal times, which will cost the city approximately $400,000 for the current fiscal year.
Gilley motioned for approval and Councilman Ron Washington seconded the motion.
The measure passed by unanimous vote.
Human Resources Director Glen Godwin informed the City Council of a recommendation by consultant Sherrill Morgan to institute caps on prescription drug payments for city employees.
“We recommend capping payments for single prescriptions to $12,000 over a 30-day period and $24,000 over a 90-day period,” Godwin said. “This will have no impact to our employees or their dependents due to such a high cap amount.”
Councilman Chris Bratcher questioned whether the department has experienced problems by not having caps in place. Godwin responded there has been no history of problems in this regard.
He informed the council the proposal would last one year and could be renewed in subsequent years by the council.
“Because we are self-funded, we need to set boundaries,” Lyons added.
Gilley then motioned for approval, Councilman Shan McFarland seconded the motion and it gained unanimous approval.