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Niota shuts down most city services after insurance co. drops them

3:53 PM, Apr 19, 2013   |    comments
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At midnight Thursday night, the city of Niota in McMinn County shut down most city services including the police department, fire department, and garbage services.

All city vehicles will remain parked until the city can find a company to insure them.

Tennessee Municipal League Pool insured the city for years, but decided not to renew its contract. TML said they insure 500 governmental agencies and dropping Niota was not a decision they took lightly.

TML said there were a number of factors that weighed into the decision.

The city said outstanding complaints of harassment by commissioners and lawsuits are why they were dropped.

At an emergency meeting Thursday night, commissioners learned their insurance broker is having a tough time finding another provider. But he said he could have a policy as early as Friday.

In the meantime, the city is without liability insurance. The commission voted to park all city vehicles and close the city park and basketball court to eliminate some of the liability.

"It's scary to deal with the problem because it affects our citizens and their pocket books," said Mayor Lois Preece.

All city employees will still be paid. The police department won't show up for work Friday. Other departments are coming in even though they can't drive.

"There's only so much you can do without a vehicle," said Street Superintendent Robert Clowers. "I'm glad we're getting a paycheck because we still got bills to pay. I just hope they can settle it real quick."

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