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UC Council approves insurance premiums

UC Council approves insurance premiums

Posted: Wednesday, December 3, 2008 9:18 pm
By: Donna Ryder Messenger Associate Editor

 By DONNA RYDER Messenger Associate Editor Union City Council members got some good news and some bad news at their meeting Tuesday night. The good news is the city will not have as large an increase in healthcare expenses as was first thought. Mary Nita Bondurant of Union City Insurance explained that prior to the acceptance of a contract renewal with BlueCross BlueShield, the city was told by the company that it could redistribute premiums over the different plans because employees signed up for the family policy were being charged a disproportionate amount. It was only after the council approved the new contract with a 2.6 percent increase in premiums that the city was informed the company was unable to comply. After Mrs. Bondurant brought this problem to the attention of city manager Don Thornton, he asked what would happen if the city “balked” by rejecting the company’s proposal. So, Mrs. Bondurant returned to the healthcare company and renegotiated. The results included BlueCross BlueShield’s getting rid of the increase it had placed on the premiums and some plans actually going down in price. Currently, the city pays $346.33 per month per employee. That rate would stay the same. The employee-plus-spouse plan rate would go from $744.60 to $727.29 and the employee plus child(ren) would be reduced from $640.69 to $623.40. The only plan that would see an increase is the family plan. It would go from $1,004.35 to $1,038.99. With the knowledge the city will see a significant savings over the previously accepted plan — and that the only reason the city is getting the reduction is because of the disproportionate fees being charged on the family plan — the council decided to pick up the increase on the family plan for this contract year only. While the city will enjoy a savings on health insurance premiums, the council learned that a well behind public works cannot be repaired and will have to be closed and a new well opened. “With the economy like it is, this is a bad time to have a well go out,” councilman Bill “Rat” Harrison said. Thornton said they’ve known it was going out and the city was able to make it through the summer “by the skin of our teeth.” The city manager said the old well was built in the 1950s or ’60s and cannot be repaired. It will be closed and a new well dug about 80 feet from it. Two bids were received with both more than what had been budgeted for the new well. Thornton said the engineers checked the figures and a price increase in pipe justifies the increase. The council agreed to contract with Lane Christian in Memphis at $439,650 for the new well. The company will have 90 days to complete the work after the contract is signed. The new well will be 650 feet deep and pump 2,500 gallons per minute. After the meeting was opened in prayer by city attorney Jim Glasgow Jr., the council: • Approved amendments on second and final reading to the appropriations ordinance for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2008, and ending June 30, 2009. • Agreed to contract with Solutia Healthcare Inc. to collect unpaid fines and court costs. The accounts will be turned over to the company after 60 days of nonpayment. The ordinance requires two readings. • Voted to purchase a 2008 Dodge Charger from Herman Jenkins for $20,500. Police Chief Joe Garner said the emergency equipment for the vehicle will cost another $3,500. • Agreed to make an interest payment of $98,984.13 on a $3 million loan from Obion County for the new spec building at the industrial park. Bedford Dunavant said the building has been shown three or four times and he thinks it will sell quickly. • Canceled its December orientation session. • Learned Planning and Codes has called a company about signs which were placed on the right-of-way around town and most of the signs have been picked up. The Codes department is also working with the owner of a burned out home on Palmer Street, it was noted. • Requested the city check on limbs and a ditch on Lannom Lane. Associate Editor Donna Ryder can be contacted by e-mail at dryder@ucmessenger.com. Published in The Messenger 12.3.08

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