Wauseon City Council Approves Annual Budget & Employee Insurance

During their regularly scheduled December 2 meeting, members of the Wauseon City Council heard reports and dealt with a variety of legislative matters, mostly pertaining to the annual budget and the insurance plan for employees of the city.

Councilor Shane Chamberlin reported to council on behalf of the Safety and Code Committee that the committee had met and discussed the Lexipol Policy and Procedures Manual that had been being worked on by Police Chief Keith Torbet and Director of Law Thomas McWatters III.  As Chief Torbet had spoken to the committee, asking them to adopt the manual for use by the Police Department, the committee made a recommendation to council to do so.  The recommendation was passed unanimously.

Councilor Heather Kost reported to council on behalf of the Personnel Committee on three different meetings that the committee had recently held.  The first of these meetings was to outline to the committee the results of the negotiations with police unions along with any changes that had been made.  Changes that have been approved by the union include an increase in the deductible for traditional plans from $500 to $1000 for a single plan and from $1000 to $2000 for a family plan. The city will reimburse employees $250 for employees whose $2000 deductible is met and $125 for employees on the single plan whose deductible is met.  The employee premiums for the traditional plan increased slightly.  Copays will count toward the deductible in 2014 while drug costs will be applied in 2015.   In HSA plans, a change from aggregate to embedded plans will affect how much total out of pocket expense a family may pay in a year.  The former plans, which were aggregate plans, had families paying a maximum of $12,000 in out of pocket health care expenses.  The new plan, which is an embedded plan, will lower the total of this maximum to $10,000.  Also discussed was that the percentage wage increase offered to union members of the department is 2% in 2014 and 1.5% in 2015.  Council approved the committees recommendation to approve the Memorandum of Understanding with the police unions, which includes Command Officers, Patrol Officers and Records Technicians, as well as full time Dispatchers.

Councilor Kost continued to explain that the second personnel meetings was held with employee representatives for the non-union employees, who were given an opportunity to ask questions.  One of the issues of the non-union employees raised was that they would like to see an increase in their work uniform allowance.  The committee recommended to council an increase from $350 to $400 per year and this regard and council approved the recommendation.

The third meeting Councilor Kost discussed was the meeting to approve to recommendation for the changes in the PPO and HDHP medical insurance plans and the wage and compensation plan along with giving dental reimbursement for employees who have an HSA high deductible plan.  The reimbursement would be removed in 2015.  Council also approved this recommendation.

Moving on to department head reports, Regional Planning Director David Wright reported to council that he had met with Michael Novakov from the Ohio Development Services Agency about ways to improve Wauseon’s chances for success in gaining funds from the Downtown Revitalization Program’s grants.  While Novakov noted that Wauseon’s application for the grant did look good for the most part, he did offer suggestions to help the city receive the grant that had failed to get this past year.  These suggestions were the inclusion of projects that would benefit the city’s community as a whole and that council commit to setting aside funds for development.

Police Chief Keith Torbet reported that the department is about ready to publish the Lexipol Standards Manual and that the department has recently been working with the Healthy Choice caring Communities Coalition to secure extra enforcement the night before Thanksgiving.  The department has also been working with Lights for Lives that was put out by District 1 Ohio State Highway Patrol for the six county area to do produce extra traffic enforcement in the area.

Code Administrator Tom Hall reported that the Board of Zoning Appeals had met and discussed the number of parking spaces for the new Dollar General store.  With all sides in agreement, work on the new store is ready to begin.

Director of Public Service Dennis Richardson explained the two pieces of legislation that were to be presented under first reading that pertain to the agreements with Arcadis for two separate projects.  One is for a project at the Water Reclamation Plant and the other an Emergency Action Plan and Operations for the Water Treatment Plant.  Richardson also explained the drainage and inspection of the large elevated water tank on Shoop Avenue and noted that it will be repainted both inside and outside sometime in the summer of 2014.

Director of Finance Jamie Giguere reported that she had distributed the 2014 Annual Appropriation budget at the Committee of the Whole meeting held on November 27.  Giguere also provided the November financial reports and the year to date income tax report to council.

Director of Law Thomas McWatters III reported his completion of the review of the Lexipol Standards Policy Manual and also explained legislation being presented under first reading as it pertained to health insurance, wage and compensation plans, liability insurance, and memorandums of understanding with the police unions.

Having heard updates from the two committees as well as the department head reports, council went on to address legislative matters.  The first of these was Ordinance 2013-12, 2014 Annual Appropriation Budget.  Council passed the motion, with funds totaling $12,321,977.00, on first reading.  Ordinance 2013-13, amending section 148.11 and 148.12 of the Codified Ordinances of Wauseon as they pertain to the wage and compensation plan, as well Ordinance 2013-14, amending sections 147.08  and 147.20 of the Codified Ordinances of the City of Wauseon as they pertain to the Health Insurance PPO an MDHP Plans, both passed on first reading as well.

Resolution 2013-33, authorizing the mayor to enter into an agreement with Public Entities Pool for casualty, liability, fire, and property damage insurance was declared an emergency, passed, and is now in effect.  Also passing under emergency language and now in effect was Resolution 2013-34, authorizing the mayor to enter into an agreement with Medical Mutual for health insurance coverage.

Resolution 2013-35 was also passed as an emergency.  The resolution authorizes the mayor to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with the City’s Ohio Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association Command Officers, Patrol Officers, and Records Technicians and Full-Time Dispatchers Unions.

Resolution 2013-36, authorizing the mayor to enter into an agreement with Arcadis for Engineering Services for the design bidding, and construction related to the primary settling tank and flocculation clarified equipment replacement at the City’s water reclamation plant passed on first reading.  Similarly, Resolution 2013-37, authorizing the mayor to enter into an agreement with Arcadis for development of an Emergency Action Plan and Operations, Maintenance, and Inspection Manual for the City’s underground raw water reservoirs also passed on first reading.

With no legislation for second or third reading, council went on to hear new business.  The 2014 Schedule of Council Meetings as well as a motion to authorize the Director of Finance to pay all bills possible before December 31, 2013 were both approved alongside a motion to accept the reappointments of Shane Chamberlin and Fred Allen to the Volunteer Fire Fighters Dependent’s Board for the year 2014.

Chamber of Commerce gift certificates in the amount of $50 were also approved to be given to full time employees and contracted department heads as Christmas Gifts.  A motion to authorize the mayor to enter into an agreement with Jill Hojnaki pertaining to the removal of the dead ash tree on her property located at 420 N. Shoop Avenue was approved with a 5-1 vote, with Councilor Fred Allen providing the descending vote.

Before the close of the meeting, Mayor Shaw noted that it the Christmas Parade held on November 28 had enjoyed both a nice turnout and nice floats and thanks all who participated.

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