An initial vote failed as inconclusive on a 5-4 vote, with
After more debate, Henderson made a plea to his fellow councilors to accept the program as is so the administration could move forward with open enrollment.
Woodson then made a motion to vote on the matter again and Baker seconded. It passed the second time with Henderson, Baker, Woodson, Allen, Turner-Pugh and Davis approving and Garrett and Thomas opposed. Barnes left the meeting between the votes.
The new insurance plan will increase employee premiums, but a 2 percent cost-of-living pay increase approved in the fiscal 2017 budget will more than cover the higher premiums for the vast majority of employees who opt for the less expensive option, according to Human Resources Director
The new insurance plan replaces the old three-plan program with a two-plan approach. It eliminates the Health and
Employees currently in the Health and Wellness plan will see the most significant changes in their coverage and premiums. Their deductible will quadruple from
The three plans are being replaced with a "silver" and "gold" plans, both of which are Point of Service plans.
Premiums for the current HMO plan range from
Employees currently in the HWC plan have premiums ranging from
The proposed insurance plan also includes a wellness incentives program. Under it, employees would undergo a biometric screening, a health risk assessment and, if deemed necessary, would be provided with a health coach to advise and supervise a wellness program. The program would be voluntary, but employees who participate would earn a
Tueday's debate was over the amount of increase employees were being asked to pay. It's the same 70-30 percent split that the city has been using, but it hits employees harder this year because the city is trying to avoid an end-of-the-year balloon payment that it has incurred in recent years. The payments have occurred because the city hasn't budgeted enough per employee to cover the costs, and when the amount budgeted (which is paid 70 percent by taxpayers and 30 percent by employee premiums) is insufficient, the taxpayers have to pick up the tab.
Last year, for example, when the insufficient funds were added to the city's tab, it was actually paying about 83 percent to the employees' 17 percent.
Some of the ideas batted around today included Walker's suggestion to do away with the employees' 2 percent COLA and take that money, divide it evenly among employees and reduce their premiums by that amount. That, Garrett said, would better assist the lower paid employees, who need the most help.
Hugley responded that the COLA benefits employees more than just by putting a few more dollars in their paychecks. By increasing their salary, they will also increase their retirement benefits, Hugley said.
Allen suggested that the city dip further into its cash reserves to lower the employees' portion of the cost, but he didn't get much support after Mayor
Land swap deal
In other business, Council unanimously approved a land swap with the
The land swap will cede city property on Fort Benning and Cusseta Roads to the school district in exchange for property on
That money would then be placed in an
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