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Front Page » June 28, 2005 » Local News » Price officials address city firefighter benefits
Published 3,367 days ago

Price officials address city firefighter benefits


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By CHARI JELSMA
Sun Advocate reporter

The question of benefit reimbursement for volunteer firefighters was finally put to rest on June 22 during the regularly scheduled Price City Council meeting.

Benefit reimbursement, which was originally brought up at the May 25 council meeting, was believed to cut costs for the city and be beneficial for firefighters who already have insurance from regular full-time jobs.

With insurance costs rising annually, providing coverage for all interested firefighters proved to be costly to the city.

Price paid the entire cost of insurance for the city's volunteer firefighter.

Price also paid $50 monthly in compensation for the emergency personnel's work.

Most other cities and organizations require a portion of the cost of benefits to be paid by the employees or provide no health insurance coverage at all, according to Price officials.

The firefighters who did not take part in the city's insurance plan were compensated the $50 received by all volunteers, while the insurance cost $961.90 a month.

With the new policy, no benefits will be offered unless firefighterswho currently work for the city decide to keep benefits that they are receiving. Those who opt out of the city's insurance plan are eligible to receive $500 to $600 in compensation depending on what position they occupy in the fire department.

The new policy will only affect those who are hired after the policy was put in place unless employees who currently receive benefits opt out of the program.

John Daniels, Price City Human Resource Director, proposed the alternative during the May 25 council meeting, which was highly attended by Price city volunteer firefighters.

Daniels expressed his concerns for the previous benefit policy, which he stated was unclear when describing benefit eligibility for all Price city workers. Daniels also stated that as a result to the confusion of the policy, the city may have liability for benefits that haven't been granted to employees by the city.

At the May 25 council meeting, Daniels requested that the Price City Council make two motions on the subject. The first motion was to prepare and adopt a resolution changing the current policies that were unclear when describing benefit eligibility. Daniels requested that the city make it clear that only full-time employees be eligible for insurance through the city.

The second motion would be to prepare a resolution establishing that part-time volunteers of the Price Fire Department would receive compensation for not taking part in insurance benefits. The motion would allow firefighters to receive $500 in compensation, while captains would receive $550 and the assistant chief would receive $600.

The motions both passed unanimously during the May 25 meeting and were added to the list of consent items for the June 22 meeting. Once on the consent items, they were easily passed by the council without even being discussed.

Also discussed at the June 22 meeting, in an unrelated matter, was the presentation of the Fitness Challenge Award won by Price city during the Get Active Utah! Fitness Challenge.

Price city won the award for being the small city participant with the most miles walked by Price city residents. Most of the miles were logged by local schools participating in the Gold Medal Schools program run by the Utah Health Department.

Price city was presented with its trophy at the opening day of the Utah Summer Games on June 16. They award was received by city employee, John Daniels.



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