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Carrollton council rejects plan to reduce city insurance costs

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By Sharon Graves

Carrollton City Council began Wednesday’s special meeting with the swearing-in of one of its newest members, Tammy Miller McBurney.

McBurney, elected to council on Nov. 4, was sworn in Dec. 10 by her brother, Carroll County Magistrate Dean Miller.

The special meeting was held in place of the Monday, Dec. 8, regular meeting, which was cancelled due to a lack of a quorum. To do business, at least four council members must be present for a meeting.

Proposed ordinance

rejected

During the business portion of the meeting, council considered the second reading of an ordinance amending the city’s health insurance policy offered to employees.

Councilman Dean Miller Jr. first requested to table the second reading of the ordinance. Miller said he was concerned that the measure was not in the best interestsof the employees who use the insurance for their family members.

“I’m not comfortable with dropping secondary insurance coverage for children,” Miller said. “I can understand dropping coverage on a spouse, but the problem I have is dropping secondary coverage on children.”

In question is a clause in the ordinance that does not allow for an employee’s family to be covered under both spouses’ insurance plans, giving what is called double coverage.

The ordinance requires that if a city employee has a spouse who is employed and has insurance benefits, then the spouse whose birthday comes first in the calendar year will be the one to provide insurance for any dependent children.

“The city will not provide secondary coverage for the children unless the employee is willing to pay the complete cost of the city’s insurance to cover the children,” the ordinance states.

Any city employee who opts out of insurance for themselves can receive a $100 monthly bonus from the city. If they opt out of coverage for their spouse, they can receive an additional $100 monthly. If they opt out of coverage for their children, they can receive another $100 per month, for a total bonus of up to $300 a month. The city pays $900 in insurance for full-family coverage.

Mayor Dwight Louden reiterated that a city employee can choose to keep their city-paid insurance for themselves and their families, unless the spouse has coverage and the spouse’s birthday comes first.

Councilman Kevin Craig said he thought council needed more information to make a decision that could restrict insurance coverage to city employees.

He asked for solid numbers regarding how much, exactly, the city could save with the plan.

Louden and City Treasurer Becky Pyles both agreed that this move was needed to save money on the expensive insurance coverage paid completely by the city.

But neither could give an amount that the measure could save, if implemented.

Miller withdrew his motion and moved to reject the ordinance on its second reading. Councilwoman Christen Brock immediately seconded the motion.

The vote was split, with Miller, Brock and Craig voting in favor of rejecting the ordinance; council members Nancy Jo Grobmyer and Bill Welty both voted against rejecting the measure.

Following the vote, Louden said he believes council made a mistake in rejecting the ordinance.

The city health insurance plan comes up for renewal in August 2009.

Recreational trails

project

Joan Moore, executive director of the Carroll County Community Development Corporation, requested $5,000 from council to help fund the cost of a master plan to build trails to eventually connect city, county and state parks.

The trails project includes extending a trail from the dead end of Lock Road, at Lock 1 on the Kentucky River, to the county’s Westrick Memorial Park on State Hwy. 36 East and back to General Butler State Resort Park.

Planners also envision adding a ramp at the lock to allow for kayaking down the Kentuck River to Point Park. Eventually, trails and sidewalks also will connect Point Park with Butler Park.

The goal is to promote healthy activities and tourism.

The council agreed to give CCCDC the funds requested. The county and CCCDC is hoping to obtain grants to pay for the project itself.

The council agreed to apply for Federal Emergency Management Agency funds to recoup some of the costs incurred by damage from the Hurricane Ike windstorm Sept. 14.

Council adjourned the meeting to go into executive session. Afterward, the meeting was called back to order and council voted to give the mayor the authority to spend not more than $20,000 plus closing costs for an undisclosed piece of property.

Before adjourning, council voted to cancel the last regular meeting of the year, scheduled for Monday, Dec. 22. The next meeting will be 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 12.

Saying farewell

After the meeting adjourned, Louden presented Brock and Welty with plaques, thanking them for their service on Council.

Brock, who has served on council since 2006 did not seek re-election this fall.

Welty was appointed to council in May after then-Councilman David Wilhoite resigned to become Carroll County coroner. Wilhoite, a funeral director at Tandy-Eckert-Riley Funeral Home, Carrollton, was appointed to replace Coroner Jimmy Dunn, who died in May.