At the Manlius Village Board meeting July 8, run by Deputy Mayor Harold Hopkinson, one of the main topics of conversation for the second week in a row was the health care coverage offered for retired elected officials. The proposed plan, presented by Trustee Mark-Paul Serafin, has the village paying for 40 percent of the insurance premium, with the retired official paying 60 percent by 2012.
The plan would be effective in the next fiscal year, with a contribution of 15 percent, then 30 percent in 2010, 45 percent in 2011 and then capping off at the 60 percent contribution rate. The plan also specifies that any dependents would have to pay a 100 percent contribution rate for the village health insurance.
Serafin reiterated that the village wasn't obligated to find other health insurance options for anyone involved because the proposed plan will not cut anyone off from coverage, it is just asking those people to pay for their benefits.
Former trustee John Touchette spoke at the meeting, saying that while not illegal, it was morally wrong for taxpayer's money to be abused in order to continue providing the health insurance at no cost. Serafin said that it was time for the board to say enough is enough and to ask for a contribution. There was a little debate about what the level of contribution should be for dependents and their families, but all of the trustees agreed that some level of individual contribution is necessary. It was also agreed that Mayor Rick Penhall and Hopkinson should remain out of the vote due to being involved in the current health insurance plan.
Village Attorney Jeff Brown explained the tentative Westfield Drive Sewer Inter-Municipality agreement in place between the village and the town of Manlius. About 1,850 feet of sewer line needs to be repaired, and both the village and town have residents on the line. It is an initial 10-year plan, with two 10-year extensions available if needed, that has both paying for in a proportionate value for the homes affected, which are 217 for the town and 231 in the village. It also states that if the town leaves the agreement, they will be responsible for covering the cost that would be owed. Village Engineer Chuck White said that the end of July is the latest to start this project in order to finish in this construction season. The village board plans to vote on this agreement after it is approved by the town board.