Insurance, internet coverage, project bids on council agenda

How much of the health insurance costs for city employees the city will cover, the upgrades to internet services provided to the city and accepting of bids on three projects were among the items on Tuesday's Wayne City Council agenda.
Council members debated the percentage of the insurance cost the employees should be responsible for and a request from several city employees to eliminate the penalty (in extra costs) for not getting a yearly physical.
Several reasons were cited for not wanting to get a physical, including the fact that many times, procedures done as part of a physical are not 100 percent covered by insurance and employees being responsible for the costs.
It was noted that because of the city's insurance coverage structure, it is sometimes harder to attract new employees.
"Tobacco users have to pay more for their insurance and I feel they are being singled out. There are other medical issues that cost the city more than the tobacco use," said Police Chief Marlen Chinn.
Currently, the city pays 70 percent of an employee's family coverage and 80 percent of single coverage.
Mayor Ken Chamberlain suggested increasing the percentage of the premium the city pays for those employees who receive a physical and those who are non tobacco users. This would offset the increase in premiums that are expected to occur.
Also discussed was the fact that the current policy does not pay for a number of procedures and often times the cost of a prescription is higher when going through the policy than if paid for outright.
Council members voted to table the topic and discuss it again at a future meeting.
A presentation by American Broadband included a history of the company in Wayne and proposed updates planned in the near future.
Joe Jetensky, President of American Broadband, spoke to the council and said the company currently has five employees who live in Wayne and are active members of the community. He also said the company has done a number of upgrades in the infrastructure in the past five years to ensure customers' needs are being met.
"Our goal is to try to stay ahead of demand. Any of our improvements going forward will be fiber. We will be working with the city's electric department to install underground cable at the same time they are making upgrades," said Shane Morris, Network Operations Manager.
Jetensky, Morris and Cory Sandoz, Broadband Supervisor in Wayne, answered questions from the council. These included whether the future upgrades will result in increased costs to American Broadband customers. They indicated that there are no increases expected at this time.
Council members received good news from Senior Center Director Diane Bertrand.
While approving the submisison of the Senior Center's Fiscal Year 2017 plan of operation to Northeast Nebraska Area Agency on Aging and accepting the Service Awards from the agency, Bertrand told the council that the city's contribution will be $57,700, which is considerably less than in recent years.
Bertrand told the council this number could be even less when the Senior Center begins preparing meals at the Center rather than having them catered.
Council members awarded three bids during Tuesday's meeting.
These included a bid to Robert Woehler & Sons for the Logan Creek Bank Stabilization project, a bid to Grossenburg Implement for a new 4x4 mower for the Parks Department and to Guarantee Roofing for the Library/Senior Center Roof Replacement project.
Council members also authorized the borrowing of funds from the Electric Fund for the LB840 funds.
Council member Cale Giese questioned the interest rate the city was charging the LB840 fund and said that it would be better to charge less in interest (but more than the electric fund would receive from a bank) and have more money available to lend to businesses seeking LB840 funds.
Following discussion, the council voted to borrow $200,000 from the Electric Fund at a .5 percent interest rate.
Also during Tuesday's meeting, the council gave Jacob Jones permission to keep an African Pygmy hedgehog within city limits.
Jones said he has gotten his landlord's approval to have the animal and that his research on the animal has not indicated that any vaccines are necessary. He also noted that the animal is not classified as a rodent.
Council members approved the final plat for a piece of property known as the Schulz Railyard Addition and a request to re-zone a portion of the Tuffern Blue Estates Subdivision from A-2, Agricultural Residential, to  A-1 Agricultural.
Both of these requests were granted following public hearings in which no one from the public spoke.
The Wayne City Council will next meet in regular session on Tuesday, March 7 at 5:30 p.m.

The Wayne Herald

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