The tree Powell uses for its December tree-lighting ceremony will be replaced with a 12- to 14-foot Colorado blue spruce.

The tree Powell uses for its December tree-lighting ceremony will be replaced with a 12- to 14-foot Colorado blue spruce.

On May 17, city council approved spending $844 to buy the tree. Council members Don Grubbs, Jim Hrivnak, Tom Counts, Brian Lorenz and Mayor Art Schultz approved the spending.

Council members Sara Marie Brenner and Richard Cline were absent from the meeting.

The current tree is dying, city manager Steve Lutz said. Its replacement will be ready for this year's tree-lighting ceremony.

The funds, which were transferred to the parks operating fund, came from council's contingency funds.

Each year, council sets aside money for unplanned expenses. For 2011, it put $75,000 in its contingency fund, which now has about $59,000, Lutz said. Previous expenses from the account include unemployment claims and tree trimming and clearing.

The tree will be part of the bid package for other city trees needing to be replaced, Lutz said.

Council also:

Heard council member Tom Counts say the city's finance committee met with its insurance broker and discussed health benefits.

"We learned that as health care costs go up, the world of health care is changing and the city is on the edge of that with moving to a health savings account," Counts said. "We also learned that because of the size of our (employee) group that it's difficult to generate any additional savings. In big organizations they're instituting management practices a fitness center, wellness program that can create additional savings."

Heard that resident Jane Van Fossen was appointed to the council finance committee as a citizen representative. Counts said Van Fossen, a former council member and mayor of the city, "has served in that capacity in the past (and) brings a wealth of experience in being involved in city finances ... and will serve (the city) well in bringing citizen input into the budgeting and finance process."

Proclaimed June 6, 2011 "Kiwanis Club of Powell Day" in recognition of the 10th anniversary of the local club. The volunteer community service club has joined with local organizations to pay for a number of community events that council cut from its 2011 budget.

Approved the finance committee and staff's recommendations to switch their daily and overnight transactions to Key Bank. The city current uses Fifth Third Bank as its primary bank. Nine other banks and finance institutions will be used for services such as certificates of deposit.

Every five years, the city goes asks for proposals for banking services. The transition to the new bank will begin in August and will complete in October, he said.

Heard that the development committee will meet at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 7, and will discuss potential projects for the downtown tax-increment-financing district.

Heard that Powell's Memorial Day parade and ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. Monday, May 30. The parade will start on Grace Drive, travel to North Liberty Street, head south to Olentangy Street, travel east on Olentangy Street and end before the railroad tracks.