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Kerens plans City Hall moves

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KERENS–The City of Kerens plans to be out of the current city hall building by August and will temporarily be based in the Chamber of Commerce building until the new city hall is constructed. 
That scenario was discussed during consideration of a demolition project approved during Kerens City Council’s July 6 meeting. The project also includes tearing down all other buildings located between 200-212 S. Colket Ave., which will cost $52,000 and was approved in June by the Kerens Economic Development Corp. (EDC).
Kerens Mayor Jeffrey Saunders said the city looks to have demolition finished by October’s Cotton Harvest Festival and that the row of buildings, including City Hall, have “become quite a hazard, getting worse every day.”
Kerens EDC owns the Chamber of Commerce building at 101 S. Colket Ave. and voted not to charge the city rent while it occupies the premises, Saunders said. The multi-use building also will house the Kerens Police Department, he added.
In other business, council voted to renew the city’s employee health insurance plan for one year. City Administrator Katherine Combs said the plan offered through the Texas Municipal League (TML) will cost $680 per month but as of Oct. 1 will no longer offer short-term insurance continuation coverage (COBRA) after eligible employment separations.
The reason TML removed COBRA coverage is because Kerens has fewer than 20 employees, Combs said.
Also, council approved the rates offered to Kerens through its Texas Municipal Retirement System plan, with the city’s monthly combined contribution percentage increasing from 12.19% to 13.16%.
Council also approved the city’s TML insurance rates for municipal and police liability, errors and omissions and property coverage, which increased 4.9%. Combs said that increase brings Kerens’ cost to about $34,000 annually.