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Borough faces decision over health-care costs for employees

October 16, 2003|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - A 42 percent increase in the health insurance premiums that the Borough of Waynesboro provides free for its 55 full-time employees is prompting the Borough Council to look at alternatives.

"We got zapped," Borough Manager Lloyd Hamberger said in announcing the rate increases during Wednesday's council meeting.

The borough pays $360,000 per year for health insurance for its employees under the current rate, Hamberger said. The premium for an employee with a family runs about $980 per year.

If the 42 percent increase holds, it will cost the borough an additional $151,200 per year in premiums.

Councilman Clint Barkdoll suggested forming a consortium with other municipalities.

"We need to form a health alliance with seven or eight municipalities and pool our resources," Barkdoll said. "These costs are getting outrageous."

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Council President Douglas Tengler said the council has no plans to ask employees to contribute to the cost of their insurance. He said the council would try to find coverage with a lower rate increase, possibly as low as 6 percent or 7 percent.

Other issues raised Wednesday included:

n Barkdoll, in a report on the council's property and public safety committee, said the committee actively is looking for real estate for space for new fire and police stations.

Waynesboro Fire Chief Dale Fishack said the South Potomac Street firehouse is adequate for current needs, but the floor could not handle the weight of a new ladder truck the department will need in the future. Fishack also said that modern pumpers weigh more.

Police Chief Ray Shultz said his department is running out of room at its headquarters in the downstairs of Borough Hall. The full-time secretary has to share office space and equipment with officers, he said.

There is no meeting room for the officers, and suspects under arrest are led past civilian employees and any residents who happen to be in the station at the time, Shultz said.

Barkdoll said while the goal of the real estate search is to find a separate property for the fire and police stations, he wouldn't rule out a single public safety complex housing both the police and fire departments.

Shultz said he had no problem with such an arrangement. Fishack had no comment when asked.

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