The Hillsboro City Council renewed its employee health insurance package during its June 7 meeting.
The council voted unanimously to accept City Administrator Larry Paine’s recommendation that the city’s Blue Cross/Blue Shield plan be renewed even though the current proposal did not save the city as much money as it did when it was first accepted.
The council also unanimously approved Paine’s recommendation that the city continue contributing up to $500 to each employee’s flex plan to offset health insurance deductibles.
Paine said BCBS had saved the city $80,000 when the city first made the switch. While the new proposal was still the least expensive of three received, the annual premium for the city’s 27 employees will increase 23.6 percent to $304,000.
Competitive bids from Aetna and United Healthcare were both about 60 percent higher than the BCBS proposal, Paine said.
Prior to the vote, Mayor Delores Dalke asked if all city employees use the entire $500 contribution to offset deductibles.
Paine said not all employees use the entire amount, but the city matches whatever amount the employee designates, up to $500. Employees are allowed a $500 carryover.
In other business, the council approved Dalke’s appointment of Clint Corby to the Hillsboro Recreation Commission. Corby, who is the middle/high school principal, expressed interest in the position that will be vacated when Steve Noble, USD 410 superintendent, moves to Topeka.
The council also approved the purchase of a 1991 John Deere tractor for $14,300 from Purple Wave to replace the old Oliver tractor the city has been using primarily to mow large areas of grass, such as the airport.
According to Paine, Dale Dalke, street supervisor, said a new model would cost around $80,000. Dalke also had reported that the mechanic who serviced the John Deere while it was owned by McPherson County gave the tractor a high maintenance rating.
The money to buy the John Deere will come from the city’s Equipment Replacement Fund.
Paine told the council the Kansas Department of Health and Environment asked if it could use the Hillsboro water plant to train state inspectors for surface-water treatment plants.
“Hillsboro has a reputation for running a good plant,” Paine said.
He said 20 to 25 inspectors were attending the school, which was in session in a neighboring room during the council meeting.
Prior to adjournment, Dalke alerted the council that city had received a request to construct basketball courts in Memorial Park. She did not identify the interested party.
Dalke said she asked that a detailed construction plan and projected cost be submitted to the council prior to consideration.
Council Bob Watson said he was curious why Memorial Park was the preferred location rather than the sports complex.