By Amy Kent Herald Staff Writer
The Clinton Herald
---- — FULTON, Ill. — Fulton city employees will face an increase to their health care premiums but it isn’t the proposal that originally concerned those opposed to it.
What first was introduced during a Fulton budget work session last week as an employee contribution of $15 each pay period and an additional $15 for spousal coverage on each pay check has now been slightly altered.
Instead of asking for a $15 contribution for employee coverage, the City Council is now proposing employees pay $15 for health care coverage of their children.
“We have kind of a commitment to our employees to offer them that basic health care,” City Administrator Ed Cannon said. “However, the added coverage for children or spouses and for families comes with an added cost to the city. Sometimes a more significant cost to the city.”
By implementing a contribution increase for spouses and adding a fee for children, employees will still receive the same coverage they have always had available but the city will save around $8,000
However, in addition to approving the health care option presented by Cannon, the council also approved a 3 percent salary increase to all city employees, matching the Federal Order of Police’s salary increase to the Fulton Police Department.
Although he requested the council look at what it would cost to implement a 3 percent increase across the board, Public Works Director and health insurance committee member Dan Clark still didn’t agree with their decision.
“The committee recognizes the possibility of the insurance next year increasing,” Clark said. “But with a year in a decrease we just felt there shouldn’t be an increase in people’s insurance rates.”
Alderman Randy Boonstra understood Clark’s frustrations but said the city needs to keep any eye on those future rates as they are projected to increase.
Mayor Larry Russell added that as the city has balanced itself out with inflation rates and employee salaries they have managed to keep themselves level, but without a contribution those rates will go up.
“With the employee contribution it remains flat at 1.5 percent,” Russell said. “(Without) then it starts to creep back up.”
Although the decision wasn’t unanimous, a vote of 7-1 did approve the preliminary budget with an employee health insurance contribution for spouses and children and a 3 percent salary increase.
With that approval the city now faces a $20,000 deficit in the budget that will be paid from the general fund reserves if approved at a public hearing April 7.