Price mayor, council address city retirees' benefit plan matters
|Jana Abrams, Melanie Steele and Kathy Smith discuss transferring to different office locations after Price carries out the city's plan to abandon the community building on the corner of 100 East and 100 North.|
Several concerned Price city retirees gathered Nov. 9 at the bi-monthly council meeting to hear government leaders discuss the future of Medicare prescription benefits.
The problem that faced the council was whether to extend payment for retirees benefits which were about to rise in expense or to ask recipients to pay for the difference.
The city council learned that, beginning Jan. 1, 2006, a prescription Medicare plan would take affect and the retirees' current PEHP plan would be dropped.
The council was faced with making the decision to cover the $14 increase in coverage per retiree or to ask the former city employees to cover the cost out of their pockets.
A brief discussion about the constant increase of insurance cost was conducted.
But in the end, Price officials decided that the city would continue to pay the deductible, including the $14 increase.
Councilmembers agreed to revisit the matter at a later date. But for now, the enrollment period was open and current benefits were about to be dropped.
But because Price currently has approximately 22 retirees who benefit from the city's retirement plan, funding is limited.
Soon, even more retirees will need coverage by Price city. Therefore, benefit packages involving the Medicare plan will be discussed next year.
"I think that they (former employees) deserve to be treated well for their service," stated Councilwoman Jeanne McEvoy. "We will review and maintain benefits as well as we can, but we can't give away what we don't have."
Price city will continue to pay for retirees' prescription benefits, including the current increase until the next enrollment period, which will be next July.
By that time, the council will be able to reach a firm decision regarding how much more funding the city can provide to retirees when it comes to rising medical costs.
In other matters, the council was informed that the current Price City Police Department will soon house the entities that are now located at the Central School building.
Carbon County Recreation, however, will not move to the new location. The county recreation department is expected to transfer to the College of Eastern Utah campus.
Last month, the city council was advised that the old school building is falling apart and the expense associated with repairing the facility would not be cost effective.
The Price City Council subsequently recommended closing the building as soon as possible. The race was then on to find new homes for the services currently located in the building.