Council discusses employee share of insurance costs

By Sandy Rose Schwieterman - For the Sidney Daily News

NEW BREMEN – New Bremen village employees might have an increase in the cost of their insurance following action at the New Bremen Council meeting Monday night, April 13.

Councilman Jacob Larger initiated a discussion about increasing the employee share of the cost of medical insurance. Presently, the village employees pay 5% of the cost of insurance, with the village picking up the balance. Larger suggested a 90/10% split, saying this increase would bring the insurance costs on the same level as most surrounding municipalities. Also, he said that the increase would not cancel out the recent 3% payroll increase the employees received. Council agreed that such an increase would require an ordinance with three readings, allowing them time to examine issues such as cost to the employees, tax consequences, etc.

Council approved an emergency ordinance updating employee policy in regard to COVID. The measure would allow adequate compensation for affected employees should they become ill.

In her report to Council, Village Administrator Chris Dicke said Tom’s Construction was the lowest and best bid at $$583,690 to install the turn lane on state Route 274 by the Crown Equipment plant. Of that amount, $475,000 was grant funding.

She said that work on some projects had resumed following a work break in response to COVID concerns.

The underground infrastructure was now installed on the Franklin Ash project and that the contractor would begin cutting down the roadway and sidewalk next. She and Councilman Dennis Burnell complimented the contractor on his considerate behavior, keeping drives accessible.

Dicke said the electrical substation work was moving forward, with the transmission lines up and conduit being installed from the substation to the railroad tracks.

The Ohio Public Works Project department notified Dicke that approximately $233,000 would be available in 2021 for resurfacing projects in the village and that they needed to discuss what streets would need it the most.

Council discussed at length a piece of equipment called a RoboMower. The automated mower, which would follow lines buried in the ground, would cost $3,500 with a $1,000 installation fee. Debate centered around the look of the ball diamond where the sample mower was installed. They agreed to leave the unit out at the ball diamond to see how people feel about the job it does.

Dicke completed her report by saying the effects of COVID had canceled reservations of village structures such as shelter houses. People have been given the option to either reschedule or receive a refund.

The May 9 Village Garage sale was canceled and council agreed to delay spring cleanup afterwards. They hoped to hold the event in the fall.

In other action, council approved the Anthem SOCA Medical employee insurance which renews May 1.

Council then adjourned for executive session. No action was taken when they returned to session.

By Sandy Rose Schwieterman

For the Sidney Daily News

The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.

The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.