Town Council faces increased insurance costs

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

CLOVERDALE--Facing a premium increase of 19.7 percent next year, the Cloverdale Town Council began a debate about how to best deal with the price of insuring the town's employees Tuesday night.

"This percentage is very low compared to what other companies are paying," said Cathleen Monaco, the town's clerk treasurer.

The town currently pays around $10,600 a month for the health insurance of eight employees through Blue Cross/Blue Shield, according to board vice-president Dennis Padgett. The increase would put that price at around $12,700 a month if the town kept the plan as it currently stands.

That number could be higher still if the town hires anyone else. Padgett and board president Cathy Tipton said the board might add another full-time police officer, which would cause a further increase.

Currently, town employees pay 1 percent of their insurance costs, which does not include dental or vision. Monaco said she thought the 1 percent charge could be altered.

"I'm on this plan and I think that's too generous," Monaco said.

Alan Yackey was surprised at the cost increase, and the cost of insurance in general.

"There's an awful lot of employees you're paying more per hour in health insurance and benefits than you're paying in gross pay," Yackey said.

Tipton said the board had budgeted for an increase in insurance costs of 30 percent, meaning that this increase would not require any budget alterations. After a spirited discussion involving board members and audience members the board decided to do more research before making a decision.

The board approved spending up to $5,000 to bring a drain project that Endeavor Communications intends to do in-line with the town's specifications. This proposal still has to be approved by Endeavor.

If Endeavor agrees to the board's proposal, this money would allow for the town to pay the difference to increase that catch basin from 15 inches to 30 inches, which is in line with a stormwater- sewer project the town intends to undergo.

Sublett said it made sense to pay the difference to bring the project in-line with what the city intended to do, since the city would eventually have had to address the street anyway.

"Let Endeavor pay for it," he said.

Building Inspector mark Cassida said that a vagrant problem at the old Cloverdale inn was worsening with the weather getting colder.

"About daylight you can see some pretty scroungy looking people coming out of there," Cassida said.

Cassida said there had been fires inside and outside of the building.

"A lavatory makes a nice little fire pit," he said.

Yackey said that, since the owner of the hotel wouldn't address the issue, the next step was to get the property boarded up. He said that if the property was boarded and those boards were removed, it could then become a police issue.

The board heard a presentation from Jess Foury with Cintas Corporation on a variety of uniform options for employees going forward, but did not make a decision at the meeting.

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