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Fulton Lawmakers Get Rid of Health Insurance for Future Council Members

Fulton Common Councilors eliminated health insurance for future members of the Council, a gesture aimed at setting an example for unions in their contract talks with the city.

The city is self-insured and only receives reimbursement for health care costs when the bill exceeds $100,000 per person.

Three of the six members of the Council pay to receive health benefits from the city. A fourth, Peter Franco, receives his health care as a benefit from his retirement from the Fulton police department.

Neither Mayor Ron Woodward nor Council member and former Mayor Daryl Hayden could say how much will be saved by eliminating access to benefits. The city pays about $1,600 for every person on a health insurance plan that covers a family.

However, they said that the city and its taxpayers will avoid the risk of paying up to $100,000 for a major illness to a council member.

“Health insurance is out of control,” said Woodward. “This is not sustainable.”

“I don’t think I should be entitled to it,” said Hayden, who does not use the city’s health insurance.

Woodward said the city budgeted about $2 million for health insurance costs for 2011, but costs have run $800,000 above budget. Reimbursements will lower the deficit to about $500,000.

In its last contract with its police, fire and city worker unions, the unions agreed to accept a less generous health insurance package for new hires, one which does not cap the share of health care costs a worker pays for care.

Negotations are already underway with the union for fire department employees, Woodward said, with talks about to begin with the other unions.

Hayden believes that eliminating insurance for Common Council members, who are part-time city employees, sends a signal to the unions. “We have to cut costs for the city of Fulton and as the representatives, we have to set the example,” he said.

The change was approved unanimously (with Councilor Kim Roy absent) and takes effect immediately.

4 Comments

  1. Finally the city of Fulton is going to take the bull by the horns with this.The Taxpayers just can’t keep footing the bills for health insurance.Now it’s time to cut the over staffed fire dept.That has been out of control for years

  2. Thank you for the token cuts, that should lower our taxes about one dollar. How about cutting some of the high priced assistants in the Mayors office; unfortunately the only way that would happen is if we clean house this coming election day. What they need to be talking about, in other words the big elephant in the room, is what they are going to do with taxes when the Birdseye Plants closes down this December. With the paychecks and loss of other plant revenues that once rippled through our economy gone, and with those ex-employees struggling, they are not going to be able pay higher taxes that will happen if this mayor has his way.
    The mayor has directed his focus to discriminating and chasing away poor people who rent apartments in the city, when it should be on these larger issues. City of Fulton voters and fellow taxpayers, it is time to clean house and start fresh with new ideas, less people!

  3. How do you miss a budgeted amount by $800,000 or 80% over budget (at least that is what they admit to) who is driving this bus, Mayor Woodward? How could you possible explain this to the taxpayers of Fulton?

  4. Seems like too little too late maybe we should have done this at the begining of the year rather than wait until just before election time. Like closing the barn door after the cows have already wandered out. We need a change in thinking in this city badly before its too late. What happened to this so called milk plant that the mayor said had asked about coming into the city? Or was that just hear say?

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