After debate, council approves flex plan match

Staff writer

Despite council member Marlene Fast’s objection to feeling blindsided, Hillsboro City Council passed a program Tuesday to match an employee health care flex account up to $500 a year despite it not being an agenda item.

The tied vote with council members Fast and Shelby Dirks against, passed after a tie breaker vote by Mayor Delores Dalke, who still had some reservations about paying the money up front if not all employees are going to match the contribution.

“If we put the $500 in the accounts up front and someone quits in the middle of the year, were out that money,” she said.

Administrator Larry Paine said while that is a possibility, the city has the authority to deduct the money used if employees have not matched the $500 out of their final paychecks and payable vacation and sick time. That is if the employee is still owed a paycheck before leaving city employment.

Employees can choose to put any amount into the account either monthly or yearly, but the city will only match up to $500. If employees use the $500 in the flex account, but it is not matched, than it will be deducted from their pay, similar to a plan already in use.

The money can only be used for medical expenses throughout the year not covered by the city’s Blue Cross and Blue Shield health plan approved at the previous meeting. The onetime $500 match is an effort by the city to level the differences in premiums from the previous plan to the new. Moving plans from Midwest Public Risk to Blue Cross Blue Shield will save the city around $97,000 a year.

A similar measure to match up to $300 per employee was struck down at the previous meeting.

In other business:

  • Mark Chesney from Kansas Power Pool presented Tom Stopple with a gift certificate for winning a photo contest. Two of his photos of Hillsboro were featured in a KPP brochure. A large print of one of the photos will be hung in city hall.
  • The council approved work sessions on June 17 and July 1 and a public hearing for Aug. 5 for the 2015 budget process. The calendar set the latest date for the council to approve a budget at Aug. 19.
  • The council accepted two easements one from Hillsboro Elementary School and one from Hillsboro High School for $2 in conjunction with the safe routes to school program.
  • Kiwanis donated $250 to the city for the youth adventure program schedules for June 18. Already 13 people have signed up, doubling the size of the event from the previous year.
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