Linden City Council approves changes to medical benefits policy

The Linden City Council discussed and took action to change the medical benefits policy to allow them to opt out of the city medical benefits if they have a current policy that is superior on Oct. 10.
City Manager Bob Swisher explains the reasoning behind the change in policy for the city employee’s medical benefits.
“When I was hired I had military medical and I waved taking any city medical and that saved the city when I hired on $7,500 and now it is up to $8,000, in turn I took an additional 15 day of leave, what we are wanting to do is anyone who has full medical coverage that has become employed by the city such as one police officer who has full medical coverage from his previous job in state and it is as good or better than ours and because we have a policy that says he has to be covered he literally doesn’t use his and uses ours and pays a higher co-pay because his won’t become a secondary, if he can wave and drop the city medical he can use his own,” said Swisher. 
“We are saving $8,000 by doing this and giving the employee better benefits.”
Swisher continued to explain further that other cities that he spoke to said they had the same policy. 
The council voted to amend section 14 of the personnel policy to allow the employees to use a medical policy that is not the cities. 
Linden Main Street Manager Allie Anderson presented the Main Street by-laws that the board recently reviewed changed and approved.  
“I gave you all a copy of the highlighted changes and notes that explain the changes,” said Anderson. 
“We basically took the old ones and re-wrote sentences and re-structured them,” said Anderson. 
Anderson answered the many questions that the council had about the revised by-laws for the programs. 
Council approved the new revised by-laws for the Linden Main Street Program. 
Anderson also gave an update of what projects the Linden Main Street Program has and is currently working on. 
“The big thing we have coming up is our pop-up week, we have gotten firm commitments on all of the incentives will be offered to the first business to sign a lease, there will be six months free water and sewer from the city, SWEPCO is doing a free energy audit of the building, ETex is doing free installation of fiber optic service and six months of free internet service, the chamber of commerce is doing a free year of membership and Sanitation Solutions is going to offer six months free trash pickup, the ribbon cutting is included with the chamber of commerce membership,” said Anderson. 
Alderman Sue Lazara asked who qualifies for the benefit package and Anderson explains further. 
“The first business to sign a lease at the end of pop-up week gets the benefit package,” said Anderson.
“It is to make people pull the trigger, we are tired of the maybe’s, this is incentive to get started,” explained Swisher.
Linden Economic Development Corporations Executive Director Gus Gustafson gave presented the city council with a monthly report that highlighted their activities from the month of Sept. 
“The monthly tax report for Oct. was not available but I did give a you a comparison of fiscal year to fiscal year which we just closed out, we have been up every year since 2013-2014 and we had an approximate rise of two percent overall,” said Gustafson. 
The local emergency medical services (EMS) gave a report of the calls for Sept., they had a total of 46 calls within city limits and a total of 56 responses. 
The reason for the number of responses is due to the EMS having a two response vehicles, one of which is not capable of transporting a patient. 
They announced that they do have a new unit and had it available for everyone to tour after the meeting as long as it was available.

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