Saline employees agree to health-care concessions
Saline's two police unions, members of Teamsters Local 214 and its nonunion employees recently agreed to concessions that will save the city about $190,000 in health care costs in 2011.
An estimated $238,000 increase in health care costs for 2011 was reduced to about $48,000. The City Council recently unanimously approved the changes to the health care plans.
All employees will pay a higher deductible, more of their prescription costs and a higher out-of-pocket maximum for their health benefits. Originally, the city’s employee renewal rates for medical, dental and optical coverage for both retirees and active employees “reflect(ed) an increase of 33 percent or approximately $238,000,” said Todd Campbell, city manager, in a memo to the City Council.
But with the concessions, the total health care costs increased by only about 8.96 percent from $535,121 to $583,069.
When faced with overwhelming increases in the cost of Blue Cross/Blue Shield health care coverage, Campbell recommended that the city change its plan.
The Saline Police Officer’s Association unanimously rejected the city’s request for a switch to the city's proposed plan option and offered a counter proposal for the 10-member police department as well as the two sergeants, who are in the Police Officer’s Labor Council union.
The proposal included accepting a higher deductible and having employees pay 30 percent of it while the city pays 70 percent. The change saved the city $32,440 over the existing policy ratified in the union contract, according to a letter from Theo Helms of the Saline Police Officer’ Association.
Members of Teamster’s Local 214 agreed to the city’s original request for a change in health care plans. Union members will pay 15 percent of the deductible for that policy.
The switch will result in "reducing the city’s increased costs for health care benefits for Teamsters members from 22 percent to a much more manageable 7.5 percent,” a letter from Allen A. Lewis of Teamsters Local 214 said.
The Teamsters also agreed to a one-year contract extension that expires June 30, 2012, but which includes a wage freeze for 2011-2012. Members would still be eligible for annual step increases and longevity payments.
The city has an operating budget of about $11.8 million and has had three consecutive years of declining tax revenues.
According to Campbell’s memo, a fourth year of tax revenue declines is projected.