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CITY COUNCIL MEETING 11/24/14 (Street Projects, Health Insurance, Tree Carvings, City Elections)

Council OKs Tentative List for 2015 Street Projects
CT 11/26/14

Chillicothe City Council members gave a general consensus approving the proposed list of 2015 street projects when they met Monday evening at City Hall. Streets identified for improvements from the 2015 Permanent Street Fund: Fairway Drive from US Highway 65 to Fair Street (curb and gutter), Tomahawk Road from Mohawk to Broken Arrow (curb and gutter), Bryan Street from Edgewood to west of the Baptist Church (concrete replacement), Park Avenue (cul-de-sac concrete replacement), Third Street from Grandview Avenue to Woodrow (curb and gutter and storm drainage), Fairchild Street from Lambert Street to Dorney Street (curb and gutter). Streets identified for improvements from the 2015 Street Funds: Fairway Drive from Fair Street to US Highway 65/Washington Street (overlay), Tomahawk Road from Mohawk to Broken Arrow (overlay), Peacher Street from Clay Street to Webster Street (overlay), Grandview Street from Calhoun Street to Webster (overlay), Fairchild Street from Lambert Street to Dorney Street (overlay match and curb and gutter), Third Street from west of Southwest Drive (overlay), JFK Street (alternate), from Easton to Locust (overlay).

The council also approved tree carvings for Simpson Park: a lion will be carved near the playground and two bear cubs climbing a tree will be carved near where the existing "Livingston" bear is carved, plus and eagle will be carved near the center circle drive. The carvings utilize the stumps of large trees that have died and will be paid for through private donations.

The council was introduced to new police officer Caleb Clements. Clements fills the department's 16th position.

Council members discussed an approved an ordinance establishing a filing fee for city candidates of $20. The candidate filing period for city offices opens on Tuesday, December 16, 2014, and continues through January 20. The election is April 7, 2015. There is no primary election. Candidates do not need to declare a political party.

In other business, the council gave the city administrator a consensus to seek bids for vehicle replacement for the police and parks departments. The council also discussed an approved a health insurance plan for 2015. Mayor Chuck Haney presided with the full council present.

City Approves 2015 Health Insurance Plan
CT 11/25/14 Catherine Stortz Ripley

The city is changing health insurance providers for the coming year with the intent that premium costs will stay about the same. The city currently spends about $500,000 annually on health insurance for its employees by fully paying the premiums of the employees and 25% premium coverage for their spouses and dependents. The city had been notified earlier this year that the premiums were slated to increase by 45.9% for the coming year. The coverage last year as a $2500 deductible PPO Plan with Blue Cross Blue Shield and included a $500 Flex Spending account for each employee. City Auditor Theresa Kelly stated that early on, when looking ahead, she and city administrator had determined the city could afford a 10% increase or an additional $50,000 toward health insurance costs for 2015.

The new plan was unanimously approved by the council. It increases the deductible to $5,000, but the city will provide an indemnity insurance plan (Bridge Plan) to help employees with the increase in the deductible. The city will also increase its Flex Spending by providing each employee with a $600 account to help with medical out-of-pocket expenses. The new option eliminates spouse coverage and includes a $500 wellness incentive. The cost of the new plan is $506,140 for the city.

The city approved an agreement with Lifestyle Health Plan, Healthy 100. After the $5,000 deductible with Bridge Plan, the plan picks up 100%. Plan designs feature office visit co-pays, prescriptions, and 100% co-insurance once elected deductible is met. Also, 100% coverage is included for preventive services, outpatient labs, and diabetic supplies. The city is working with the employees to assist them in obtaining affordable spouse coverage.

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