City health insurance cost up only slightly

Façade restoration project, financial report, committee reports also on agenda

Jefferson city clerk Diane Kennedy delivered good news to the city council Tuesday – the renewal rate for the health insurance benefit will increase by only 6 percent for the new year. “We’ll take that. It’s very excellent,” she said. “Six percent is awesome.”

The estimated annual group premium is increasing from $373,930 to $402,775. Monthly premiums for individual coverage will increase from $525 to $554; family premiums will increase from $1,197 to $1,274. According to Kennedy, employees will see a small increase in their share of the premium.

The city’s health insurance benefit has a calendar year deductible of $1,500 for an individual and $4,500 for a family. Maximum annual out-of-pocket (coinsurance) costs are $3,000 for an individual and $9,000 for a family.

Kennedy said she received estimates from two other companies that showed increases of 30 and 55 percent. The council approved renewing the Wellmark insurance.

The council approved the third change order for Pinnacle Construction for the façade restoration project in the Main Street district. City administrator Mike Palmer said the change orders now show a net increased cost of $70,000. The project budget’s contingency line item was set at $92,000, so the project has not yet gone over budget.

The council also approved additional structural engineering costs of $13,000, primarily for additional work at Don’s Ace Hardware and Muir Embroidery. Palmer said there may be conversation with the building owners about sharing part of that cost. The additional cost is also covered in a contingency line item.

The council reviewed the finance report for the quarter ending Oct. 31. The report includes the annual budget and the year-to-date revenues and expenditures in city departments and enterprise accounts, as well as the percentage of revenues/expenses. At the end of the first quarter, most accounts are near the 25 percent mark. There were no particular concerns with any budget lines.

The quarterly finance reports are an endeavor of the new finance committee to keep a more informed eye on the budget and to be more transparent with the city’s finances.

Council member Dave Sloan reported that the animal facility committee has sent a draft 28E agreement that will set costs for county towns to city attorney Bob Scharzkopf for final revisions. Don Orris hopes to start a fundraising campaign next month and a Facebook page will launch soon, according to Sloan.

Council member Gary Von Ahsen reported the streets committee has had a request from a resident to consider allowing parking on only one side of Wilcox Way to increase safety on the narrow street. Police chief Mark Clouse suggested alternating days when parking is allowed on either side of the street. Consensus of the council was that other narrow streets could also be considered and no action was taken.

City engineer Jim Leiding reported that his firm, Bolton & Menk, has submitted a proposal for a study of railroad quiet zones. The plan is “from scratch,” but Leiding said he would review studies previously done to see what can be used from them, and then submit a revised proposal. A study would be included in the next fiscal year budget.

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