The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

December 8, 2012

DeWitt faces health insurance rate increase

By Janet Huffman
Herald Correspondent

DEWITT — An increase in insurance rates hit DeWitt’s City Council at Monday’s meeting.

The city’s health insurance provider, United Healthcare River Valley, is increasing rates by 14.06 percent. City Administrator Steve Lindner said any rate increase more than 10 percent causes the city’s insurance committee to seek other bids, but another provider’s rates were even higher. Also checked were other options with United Healthcare. These proved impractical.

Vision insurance rates under a guarantee until January 2014 were unchanged, but life insurance rates with Lincoln Financial Group of Omaha, will go up by $134 per year. No other life insurance rates were comparable, according to Finance Director Deanna Rekemeyer. The insurance committee recommended the city to continue with the current companies, and the council approved the renewals.

The council approved purchase of a stand-by generator to power controls at the water plant to ensure power during an outage. Though the generator was not budgeted for this year, purchase of a larger stand-by generator at the DeWitt Community Center is in progress and there is a possibility some savings will occur if both generators are purchased at the same time. A grant from Clinton County Emergency Management will pay for part of the water control generator and the remaining cost will come from water utility funds. Unit cost is $5,200.

A request from the DeWitt Downtown Improvement District board for greenery in the downtown area was passed on to the city. Greenery has already been installed in planters at about $20 per planter for the Hometown Christmas celebration. Since the item was not budgeted, the council was required to formally approve the expenditure not to exceed $500 from Self-Supporting Municipal Improvement District funds. These funds have a balance of  more than $17,000.

The council discussed the proposed golf cart/utility vehicle/all-terrain vehicle ordinance. In an effort to keep costs as low as possible, Lindner suggested a $25 initial permit fee with permits renewed annually for $10 to $15. No reminders to renew would be mailed. Liability insurance for vehicles would be set at $300,000 to $500,000. The city’s insurance carrier has indicated no problems. Lindner was directed to provide a draft of the ordinance at a future meeting.

Vacating 282nd Avenue on the city’s north side also was a topic of discussion. The street is partially in DeWitt and partially in the county.

Councilman Verlyn Scheckel suggested notifying the nearby property owners for input. Public Works Director Mark Proctor said the city does all the maintenance work under a 28E agreement with the county. Councilman Kurt Ketelsen said the county should contact residents and be the deciding body, and also asked how the city would complete work in the area if the road were closed. Lindner said further investigations will be made.