Councilmen opposing insurance benefit plan

By BRIAN BOHNERT
staff writer
An ordinance relating to elected officials’ insurance benefits again met opposition at Tuesday’s Fostoria City Council meeting.
Council gave a second reading to an ordinance that, if approved, all elected officials of the city of Fostoria will be eligible to enroll in the city’s “optical, dental, prescription and major medical insurance” only if they receive $12,000 per annum in monetary compensation.
The ordinance would be effective for the mayor, director of law, director of finance, city council president and at-large council members on Jan. 1, 2016. The plan would for all ward council members would begin Jan. 1, 2018.
Brian Shaver, alongside 3rd Ward Representative Jonathan Hay, voted not to read the ordinance. In an interview with the Review Times Friday, Shaver said while he agrees with the legislation itself, he does not feel the time is right to discuss this topic given the uncertain impact the Affordable Care Act may have on local legislation.
“The Affordable Care Act is so cumbersome and it’s still in the transition of becoming fully implemented, so we don’t know how it’s going to affect things. It very well could render this legislation moot or useless,” Shaver said. “We could do this in 2015 and still be appropriate in timeliness and have it passed before it would take us into the next round of councilpersons. We have time to let this Obamacare stuff shake out before we have to make a decision.”
With no one on council enrolled in the city’s insurance benefits, Shaver said zero dollars is being spent at the moment.
During the public speaking portion of the meeting, Jack Brubaker, 716 N. Union St., also defended the proposed legislation, saying insurance benefits for council members should be terminated before the beginning of 2016.
Brubaker also expressed another concern, recommending council reduce the number of at-large spots from four to two during the next election.
In other action, Council suspended the three-reading rule to approve a resolution for Fostoria Fire Division to apply for the Ottawa, Sandusky, Seneca County Waste District’s Competitive Funding Grant in the amount of $7,373.36 with the fire division providing 20 percent matching funds in the amount of $1,474.67.
If obtained, the money will go toward purchasing “emergency cribbing material” for firefighters from Phoenix Safety Outfitters.
A first reading was given to an ordinance allowing the city to enter into a contract with the state Department of Transportation to conduct inspections on bridges at Jones Road and Tiffin Street at no cost to the city.
Also given a second reading Tuesday night was an ordinance amending the traffic control map and file to create one handicap parking space in the right-of-way at 323 S. Wood St.
Council was not so kind to an ordinance amending the city’s zoning map involving Fostoria Townhouses on Beier Drive, voting not to read the proposed legislation at all. If passed, the amendment would have allowed Wallick Communities to pursue a grant to remodel units on the back portion of the property.
The legislation would have changed the property’s zoning code from R-2 to R-3, allowing multiple units on the lot. Zoning Inspector Sandy Coleman said the change from R-2 to R-3 is something that should have already been done.
During the year’s first meeting of Fostoria Finance Committee, Shaver announced the committee would change its meeting times to 7:10 p.m. the first and third Tuesdays of each month before council meetings.
The next city council meeting is 7:30 p.m. Feb. 4 in council chambers on the second floor of the Municipal Building.

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