The Ellettsville, Indiana, Town Council met in regular session at 7:30 p.m., Monday, June 22, 1998. Members present were Michael Cornman, President, Geraldine McIntyre, Vice President, Donald Ashley, and Patrick Stoffers. Mr. Cornman called the meeting to order. Donald Ashley gave the prayer and Pledge of Allegiance.
AWARD BID FOR POLICE DEPARTMENT:
Mike Spencer opened one bid for $1,111.11. Mike Cornman stated it is the recommendation of the Town Marshall, I suggest we take this bid under advisement. Is there a motion to do so? Don Ashley said I so move. Geraldine Second. Motion passed 4-0.
MINUTES AND CLAIMS:
Mike Cornman asks for a motion to approve minutes and claims. Geraldine so moved, and Don Ashley Second. Motion passed 4-0.
WEB SITE FOR THE TOWN OF ELLETTSVILLE:
Pat Stoffers reported a meeting last Monday with the Department Heads, Kenny Williams of the Chamber of Commerce, and some other interested parties on what we thought should be on a Town of Ellettsville web site. That information was given to Virtual Design, and they are in the process of formulating a proposal for us to review and accept or reject. Mike Cornman asks if there was enough information from the department heads to get a good idea of the cost. Pat said yes the proposal would have the cost of the design, determined by the number of pages we have in the web site. Pat told the Council hosting the web site is a separate matter. We will need an Internet service provider to host the site. Geraldine said she feels we don’t’ need to look any further than our local Telephone Company for the Internet service provider. Mike Cornman agrees. He also said Kenny Williams from the Chamber wants to stay as neutral as possible and make sure no one from the community is left out. Mike Farmer would like to get some competitive bidding before we pick the web designer, that is just good business. He would prefer to go within house per se if we could. Patrick will have the details on the cost by the next meeting. Patrick said design and creation have little to do with hosting. Once the design and creation is done the only expense we will incur will be for updates. Depending on the content there may never be an update. Hosting on the other hand will be a monthly matter. Cullen from the Smithville Telephone Company said they would give the Town their very best, they always have and they always will. Darlyne Sowder asked if we were going to bid out the design work. Mike replied we are gathering information at this time and have not decided if it will be bid out. If it is over a certain price it will have to be bid. It has been suggested to us to bid it out but the Council has not made that decision yet.
Don Ashley made the suggestion to get the information on the cost. He agrees with Geraldine that we should go with Smithville Telephone for the host because they are local. Smithville puts money back into the community.
Jim Davis asked if each department will be saddled with a bill they will have to budget for or will this web site be a Town Council item? Geraldine said when it was first brought up it was suggested it be taken out of the Clerk’s budget and Diana was upset because she didn’t know where she could find the money in her budget. Mike said this takes us back to the original question of how much is this going to cost. It also depends how the Department Heads want to keep it updated and current. If it is all Council related information then it could come out of the Clerk’s line. It could possibly be something they need to budget for. Don said each department can make the decision as to whether or not they want to be on the web site. If they decide to be on the web page then they should pay their fair share to be on there.
Mike Farmer feels it will be very important during the next five years with the Highway 46 improvement to sell ourselves. The web page will be an important selling tool. The question should not be will we do this, but how can be do this and how will the cost be distributed.
Mike said the original idea was that the people using it would be responsible for their part of the expense. This would be the Town and the Businesses involved and the amount of information they each list.
DISCUSSION ON WELL HOUSE ON BANK ROAD:
Bynum Fanyo and Diana Evans the Clerk-Treasurer are still doing research on the ownership of this property.
BENEFIT SOLUTIONS, INC.:
Veronica Martin, CEBS presented a proposal to the Council.
Her presentation was as follows:
I. Background-Benefit Solutions, Inc.
· 14 years working with employers in Indiana
· 11 years Aetna Health Plans selling & servicing group health insurance plans
· 2 years with Healthsource HMO developing and managing small group programs
· Bachelors degree – Hanover College, Hanover Indiana
· Certified Employee Benefit Specialist (CEBS), Fellow
II. Why consider outsourcing?
· Allows for matching of benefit program with company philosophies and needs, thereby increasing ability to attract and retain employees.
· Provides expert level review previously afforded only by larger organizations with full time benefits personnel. Consultant becomes client advocate allowing for decisions to be made in client’s best interest.
· Allows key employees – previously responsible for the review process to focus on their primary jobs increasing productivity.
· Provides checks and balances for information provided by outside insurance professionals.
III. What standard services are provided?
1. Client Interview
· Determines/develops philosophies for benefit programs;
· Evaluate historical performance of benefit programs;
· Assess perceptions and misconceptions regarding current programs
· Discuss desired changes or enhancements
· Discuss historical and current known large claim situations
· Discuss implementation plan so all parties have clear understanding of time frames for accomplishment
2. Evaluation of existing/available information to determine ability of existing program to meet identified needs of company. Includes review of following documentation:
· Current benefit booklet
· Three years claim experience if available
· Copy current census information
· Copies of last three renewal packages and any changes in benefit plan design
· Discussion of plan provisions, concerns, etc. with incumbent insurance agent
· Participation in renewal delivery meeting
3. Request For Proposal
· Sent to insurance agents identified by client
· All proposals returned to Benefit Solutions, Inc. for evaluation
4. Quotation Evaluation
· Evaluation of all proposals received and compilation of information into report format for presentation to client
5. Client Meet/Recommendations
· Discuss findings from quotation evaluation process
· Provide recommendations along with supportive reasoning
Cost of program: $1,500
IV Optional Service Offering
· Conducted two months (or more) prior to the renewal date
· 73 questions divided into the following eight categories:
Health (level of satisfaction with claim and deductibles)
Retirement (how prepared are they to handle retirement)
Choices (would they increase contributions or change doctors to improve
Background (age and marital status)
Communication (to what extent doe they understand benefits exp. Time off)
Personnel – policies, procedures, and perceptions (do they have employee
Handbook and do they use it)
Reaction to survey (do they think good things will come from survey)
· Appropriate number copies of survey, explanatory cover letter, and stamped envelope address to Benefit Solutions is provided to client for distribution to employees
· Results – delivered in report format – provides:
- Information to be considered when quoting alternatives at renewal time
- clear understanding of employee needs and desires as they relate to benefits
- identification of potential areas for future improvement
- report card on ability of current programs to meet employer and employee needs
Cost of Optional Survey: $1.00 per employee = $150 consulting fee
Additional points of interest she made during her presentation were:
1. She has worked with small groups with 2-200 employees.
2. In working with small Company she found they did not have an employee benefit specialist, therefore it took someone from their regular job to try to become an insurance specialist reducing their productivity.
3. This made it difficult to evaluate the value of plans. Therefore insurance was selected on cost rather than value.
4. She encountered employers who were not fully aware of the contractual provisions of the plans they were buying and were unpleasantly surprised at time of claim or of determining what their financial obligations were.
5. Benefits Solutions, Inc. provides employers with the alternative of outsourcing rather than hiring a benefits manager for $70,000 to $80,000 per year. They can act as an advocate on short term basic when it is more crucial to have the expertise on staff, which is during the renewal process.
6. This proposal is not to replace your current insurance agent, it is to act as an advocate on your behalf.
7. Bid for insurance renewal should be by 2 to 3 agents for a more wide spread of plans available.
8. The process takes about 2 months
Mike Cornman said we need to know what our insurance cost will be by late July or August for our budget. Veronica said her cost will be a firm $1,500. Sandy Hash said optimistically this would save us money correct? Mike Farmer asked how forecasting had been done in the past. Sandy replied we use a 20% increase as a guideline and hope we do not use it all. Mike Farmer ask Mike Cornman if he is looking for a water mark for next year. Mike Cornman said yes so we can find out how much money we should budget for next year. Veronica said that she couldn’t make that determination. She has not looked at any proprietary information about the town’s insurance program at all. The services that are proposed are exclusive of your insurance company. Price is determined by factor out of my control, such as claim utilization of your employee group, medical trend, what loses have been this year by your insurance company, mergers and acquisitions. All kinds of things go into what effects the cost of your insurance plan. I am bringing you the ability to help you evaluate the plans based upon my knowledge of the industry.
Geraldine said in the past we left the May agency and went with a different agent and a lower rate. The next year it went up 17%. The supervisors should make up a list of the needs of their employees for our agent and bring it to Diana. She does not see the need in doing this.
Mike Farmer said it is not a problem then that our insurance always goes up. Geraldine said you don’t know it depends on the amount of claims we have.
Don Ashley said basically what the young lady said is correct, but with the May Agency, the young lady we work with over there, is not glued into one company. She can go to several companies for quotes. She performs almost the same service you do except she includes it as part of the package. She works only in health insurance. Veronica replied the services she has proposed are not to replace the May Agency. They may continue for a number of years to be your insurance agent representatives taking you to the same insurance market or a number of insurance company markets over time. My proposal is not to replace them. My proposal is to work on your behalf when you as an employer are having to make these decisions so you have someone expert on your staff to in turn deal with these insurance professional/experts who would be coming to make proposals to you. My position is not to sell a product to you or walk away with a commission on a product sold to you. My position is simply to act on your behalf with the other individuals coming to sell you a product.
Don asked Veronica if our Firemen wanted someone to come in and talk to them about their insurance you would be glad to do that? She would be very glad to do that at the beginning during the employee interview process. It would be your determination who those individuals would be. Don ask the supervisors if the young lady we have now comes in and has a meeting with your folks when things change, to answer your questions? Mike Cornman answered on policy yes, but on financing no. Veronica replied, on policy, the agent should continue to do so because that is part of their responsibility. They should conduct employee meetings and be sure the employees understand what their benefits are. If there is a change they should make sure that change is well comminuted to the employees. Those responsibilities should not change whether your agent is from the May agency or from any other independent insurance agent we have working on our behalf. Those responsibilities should not change.
Sandy commented that after hearing the proposal it would be nice to hear from our employees if we are meeting their needs. Mike Cornman asked the supervisors if they have any comments. Jim Davis asked if it was our policy to have someone come in and tell us to increase our insurance 20%, which is what we were told last year, and after the budget process is over we will see if we can find you cheaper insurance somewhere else. A supervisor did not like the answer he was given prior to the budget process therefore we started seeking cheaper insurance somewhere else, and saved the Town $20,000 the next year. Jim feels this should have been done before the budget process. Sandy informed the Council that until the law changed on July 1, 1997 we were locked into our existing insurance because of preexisting conditions. Making in impossible until that point to go out for insurance bids. Veronica said that was correct. Mike Farmer said he has his insurance with the May Agency, but their people work for the May Agency he is proposing we have someone work for us. His personal feelings are, if you continually go through the same process we lose our competitive edge. Mike Cornman said one of the biggest concerns is the cost to the Town and employee trying to make the piece of the pie go around, and also to draw employee. Sandy also said it was her understanding that Mike Farmer had stated the Utilities would pay for this service. He replied if price is a concern then we could put it on the table for discussion. He would leave it up to the Council to decide if that is the way they wanted to go. If budgetary concerns are a problem then utilities could horse it until your budget is approved or how ever you want to work it. Everything is up for discussion. This is progressive thinking and he thinks it is worth a try. We are not signing a contract on a yearly basis and I do not know what other alternative there is out there. On the utility budget he can’t afford to hire a personnel manager to take care of our insurance on a year to year basis. You can get the best quality product for the best price if you shop and shop and shop, but who has the time. Everyone has to go on with running the town and we need someone to concentrate on insurance.
Mike Cornman ask if the Department heads were in favor of hiring Benefits Solutions. Jim Davis, Jim Ragle, and Steve Bartlett all said yes.
Pat Stoffers asked Veronica if one of her roles was to save the Town money? She replied no she is not walking in here and saying she is going to save you money. She will evaluate the contracts and if you choose to take the insurance to bid this year then she will provide the evaluation of the programs. Bringing the best value for the insurance dollars we are spending. Does the insurance meet ours needs as an employer to attract and retain employees, are you finding your insurance is letting you down then how and why is that happening, these are the types of question she will answer. Sandy asked if Veronica would propose we put our insurance up for bid on yearly basics, this will cause problems for the employees if we change insurance every year. She would not encourage moving every year because you need to build a relationship with your insurance company although the new law prevents then from offering you insurance if you do change frequently.
Mike Cornman made a motion to the Council that we accept Benefits Solutions, Incorporated proposal as presented to us tonight, which includes the $1,500 plus the optional service employees, survey. Pat Stoffers seconded. Mike Cornman and Pat Stoffers voted aye, Geraldine McIntyre and Don Ashley voted nay, making it a tie. Mike Cornman asked Mike Spencer if the Deputy Clerk could break the tie since she is standing in for the Clerk-Treasurer, who is ill. Mike Spencer checked Indiana Code and answered. The rule says whenever the legislative body has an even number of members for any reason the Clerk-Treasurer is the exofficio member for the purpose of casting the deciding vote to break the tie. He said it looks like we have an even number of members. Geraldine said but she is not the Clerk-Treasurer, she is the Deputy, and we have always gone with the Clerk-Treasurer breaks the tie not the Deputy. Ruth Chrena sat in for Rogette the past Clerk-Treasurer and she could not break the tie, it has to be the elected Clerk. Mike Spencer said his position is if we pass an Ordinance today and it would need signed and she could sign it as the acting Clerk-Treasurer. So I don’t think you would assign her powers on one level and not the other. She is taking the position of the role of the Clerk-Treasurer when the Clerk is not present.so it my position that she would in fact have the same powers as the Clerk-Treasurer to vote at this meeting. Mike Cornman then ask for Sandy the Deputy Clerk’s vote. Sandy Hash voted I.
Geraldine again stated this should be checked out. I don’t think she can legally do it. It has to be the Town Clerk.
Mike Cornman stated at this present time unless something comes up about the vote this motion has passed.
ORDINANCE 98-16 AN ORDINANCE OF THE ELLETTSVILLE TOWN CODE CONCERNING RATES FOR SLUDGE DISPOSAL:
This is the second reading of Ordinance 98-16. Mike Cornman ask for a motion to accept Ordinance 98-16 for the second reading. Don Ashley so moved. Geraldine asked if this was for the sludge from our plant. Mike Farmer replied it has sludge coming into our plant, it is a moneymaker. Mike said there is a motion on the floor is there a second. Pat Stoffers seconded. Mike ask for questions. Geraldine asked if this would fall under all the rules for sludge testing? Mike Farmer answered certainly. Mike Spencer commented the Ordinance states that it will be the decision of the Utility Superintendent of the Sewer Treatment Plant. Geraldine asked if they test the sludge that is coming in? There are certain regulations with sludge. We are running into a problem with that on our sewer plant now with Solid Waste. Mike Farmer said he doesn’t think there is any problem. The Solid Waste District has ask us for more testing, my brother Jeff, who is the operator, could better answer these questions, the sludge we are disposing of now at the land fill is perfectly safe and has been treated. It is just hard to deal with and I think that is why the Solid Waste District doesn’t want to handle it. It is just hard to move around. It is safe to dispose of and it has been treated. It might stick to your feet but it won’t cause you any health hazards. Mike Cornman said this is just for pricing. Mike Farmer said we would not accept anything into our plant that is harmful to the environment or harmful to our plant. We would not let anyone bring in anything with oil in it or anything like that. We will have an employee inspect everything that is brought in.
Mike Cornman called for the vote. Motion passed 4-0.
Mike Farmer added that sometimes bringing sludge into a plant help activate the process and make it a benefit helping the sewer plant do what it is suppose to do.
Mike Cornman asked Jim Ragle if he is still working on a statement for brush removal. Jim replied no he is just going to take care of the brush.
Mike Farmer announced that he would propose at the next meeting comp time for the utility employees. He had no idea we would need an Ordinance for the utility workers to take comp time. He assumed that comp time was something that was available to all employees. We have some new employees and our temporary employees who do not get vacation. He would like for his employees to be able to accumulate about 40 hours of comp time. The reasons are as follows:
1. We ask our employees to work all kinds of emergency hours. This interrupts their family and personal life’s. They work long hours 12, 18, even 24 hour days. Any time we need them they come out to the call. Instead of being paid overtime they would rather have comp time so it could benefit them and their families so they can take off to be with their families.
2. It saves the utilities dollars by not having to pay them. There will be rules regulating how you take comp time. They could schedule a comp day or use it for an emergency. They could not just call in and say I want a comp day today.
3. Comp time is a benefit for the employee. It is pay back for them working for us when we need them.
4. For the temporary full time employees they could save comp time for holidays. Then they can have paid days off with other employees receive paid holidays.
Mike Cornman stated with our ever-growing community including, our work force things are changing and we need to change along with them. We should consider an annual or biannual Personal Policy review. We could have a committee of the Department Heads and one Council member maybe. They would make changes, more clear, and equal to every one.
Geraldine brought up a problem the Town had in the past with comp time. They had to pay out quite a bit of money and some employees took advantage of the comp time therefore the Council did away with comp time. When we redid the Personnel Policy the Council approved several more holidays through out the year and longevity pay.
Jim Davis said the money paid out several years ago was not comp time it was for vacation time the employee did not receive. They had to work extra hours to cover for vacations.
There was some more discussion on comp time. The supervisors can take comp time now, but the rank and file are not included. Mike Farmer will present an Ordinance for comp time at the next meeting.
Don Ashley suggested we look for an advisor for a personnel policy.
Geraldine recommended that each Supervisor compose a list of things they would like changed. The Council can review the request and then decide what action to take.
PADDINGTON PARK PICNIC:
The Council received a letter from the residents of Paddington Park requesting a community picnic at Hanover Glen Cul-de-sac on July 19, 1998.
Mike suggested to the Council that we approve the community picnic for the Paddington Park neighborhood. Geraldine McIntyre so moved. Patrick Stoffers second. Motion passed 4-0.
Geraldine McIntyre made the motion to adjourn. Pat Stoffers second. Motion passed 4-0.