The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

October 8, 2012

Clinton City Council to mull over insurance

By Katie Dahlstrom
Herald Staff Writer

CLINTON — Members of the Clinton City Council will again discuss changes in city employees insurance during the Committee of the Whole meeting Tuesday night.  

The COW will consider a proposed waiver of health insurance coverage that would entail offering employees a cash payment to opt out of the city’s health insurance coverage as long as the employee could provide proof of being covered under other health insurance.

During the September meeting of the Internal Operations Committee it was suggested this annual cash payment should be $750. The committee discussed raising this cash incentive to $1,500.

Benefits consultant to the city, Tim Kearns suggested the incentive fall between $750 and $1,000.

The incentive was originally tied with the proposed changes to non-bargaining employees’ health insurance, but was separated because it is a separate issue that would be open to all employees of the city, both bargaining and non, according to Finance Director Jessica Kinser.

The COW will discuss whether the city should offer a coverage waiver and if so, what the amount of the annual cash incentive should be.  

The proposed animal protection and control ordinance will also come back to the COW for consideration.

The COW meeting will be held immediately after the  7 p.m. City Council meeting Tuesday.

City Council meeting

Council members will likely take their final votes on a 25-year franchise agreement with Alliant Energy at their regular meeting Tuesday.

The proposed agreement contains franchise fee language, but sets that fee at 0 percent, making the city of Clinton one of the many cities across the country to have fee language in the agreement without having a fee implemented. 

According to Keith Sherman, Franchise and Community Relations manager for Alliant Energy of the 82 franchise agreements that have fee language in them, only 35 franchises actually have franchise fees.

The City Council also could not enact a franchise fee simply because the franchise agreement contains the language.  

First, a public hearing on the franchise fee would be held. Following the public hearing, the City Council would need to vote. After the first two steps were completed the public or council could push for a referendum.

The agreement renewal also details the procedure to be followed when Alliant is performing work in the city right of way, or the city is widening a road that requires Alliant to move its infrastructure, among other items.  

The franchise agreement will last for 25 years, but features a clause that would allow the city to cancel the agreement after 10 years.