The Brainerd City Council will look at alternatives to current health care in an effort to reduce health insurance costs.
That was the committee recommendation and Brainerd City Council decision at Tuesday's meeting.
City Administrator Dan Vogt said the council decision not to go with the Teamster's insurance coverage in 2000 was based in part on keeping a larger group together as protection if there were one or two major claims causing rates to skyrocket for everyone.
In the Personnel and Finance Committee meeting, council member Kelly Bevans said it would take quite a catastrophe to overcome the savings. And council member Bob Olson said, "I, for one, am going to push this hard."
Olson said savings could be up to $3,900 per person in premiums with 35 to 40 people covered with a program that includes dental and vision coverage.
About 21 people attended the council meeting. Mayor James Wallin was absent.
Second readings were made of ordinances providing for annexation of property in Oak Lawn Township and Unorganized Territory, as well as a pole barn moratorium ordinance.
In other business, the council:
Set a workshop for 2 p.m. Monday to discuss assessments on Riverside Drive. A report is expected at the March 3 council meeting.
Offered condolences to the Roger Piehl family on his recent death and put a hold on any update regarding the Piehl property sale.
Asked staff to contact Burlington Northern Santa Fe to see if it would consider selling the freight depot so the city could use the area for additional parking.
Approved a $12,812.67 change order in regard to omission of wiring for electric heat coils for the police department facility improvements.
Approved sale of an old city bus for $501 to Larry Nadeau.
Approved a 5 percent sanitary sewer collection administration fee for Brainerd Public Utilities starting this month. The fee is intended to cover administration costs by the BPU in acting as a collection agent for the city.
Approved a $5 increase in all youth programs with a $10 increase in swimming lessons. The change should bring in an additional $6,000 for the Park and Recreation Department. The council also agreed to seek alternative methods of running the concession stand, possibly parent volunteers.
Put a hold on 2004 fire contract calculations for six weeks so the contracts could be reviewed.
Amended current city policy against personal use of city vehicles and equipment to include facilities.
Voted in favor of holding the Northwoods League to its lease agreement for 2003, but the city will check lease language regarding operation of concessions.
Approved an extended training leave request for Brainerd Police Sgt. David Holtz with $860 to cover expenses.
Approved a military leave of absence from Feb. 21 to March 12 and additionally through Sept. 30, 2004, for Larry Helsene with the understanding Helsene has the intent to retire.
Decided not to make a recommendation to temporarily replace Mike Brethorst, Brainerd city planner and community development coordinator, while he is on military leave because of budget reasons.
Approved a carryover of $15,000 from the 2002 capital budget to 2003 to buy a generator for the Brainerd Fire Department.
Heard a police update on calls in January. Chief John Bolduc commended the records staff for achieving a 48-hour turnaround in data entry. Bolduc reported data entry lagged as far behind as eight months since January 2001. Last month, the Brainerd Police Department responded to about 57 motor vehicle accidents, 12 burglaries, 15 domestic calls, nine drug charges, 167 traffic stops, nine warrant arrests, 62 fights/loud parties disturbances and 56 alarms. Investigators worked on the Erika Dalquist case, had 22 new cases referred for follow-up and four additional cases referred for prosecution.
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