No resolution to employees’ health coverage issue

Already spending thousands of dollars more for health insurance than expected this year, Centerville officials still haven’t gotten their problem solved.

Thus, they’re taking an unusual step in March: they’re shopping again for 2023 health insurance for town employees and their families.

Health insurance registration is an issue that town officials thought they had resolved after a committee started research in August to find the best prices and recommended a provider late last year for council’s approval.

They were excited about saving money by changing from Anthem to Principal. The council thought savings were so great, they voted to also offer vision and dental coverage at no cost to employees.

However, the town’s still receiving bills from Anthem at the same 2022 price. Clerk-Treasurer Richard Tincher is paying it, so employees still have coverage.

After Tincher told council several calls to EPIC Insurance weren’t returned as to why the old policy was still in effect, Town Manager Kevin Slick and Council President Dan Wandersee paid EPIC a visit.

Wandersee returned to EPIC on Feb. 24, but as of council’s Feb. 28 meeting, no resolution was in sight. Thus, the council supported the insurance committee’s shopping for quotes again.

In other business

Centerville Youth League: Received permission for its 11 a.m. April 29 parade and June 17 fireworks.

Budget review: Council voted to pay Baker Tilly municipal advisers an hourly rate, not to exceed a total of $18,000, to work on five-year general budget projections to help with long-range planning. Wandersee said current economic uncertainties after COVID make that more important.

Fire station grant: Centerville didn’t get the $500,000 it sought from Indiana’s Office of Community and Rural Affairs for renovations. Wandersee said representatives will meet with OCRA to discuss how the application could be improved and if reapplying is feasible. Wandersee noted that category is “very competitive” since four grants were awarded statewide. Three went to historic preservation, and one was for a fire station.

Councilor Jack Bodiker said a few residents continue to oppose the project, fearing their bills will increase. He said that isn’t accurate, that council isn’t “here to poke at your pocket,” and that it’s important to equip first responders and utility workers with needed facilities and supplies that help keep the community safe.

Community Crossings: Council approved the $91,422.50 bid from Robertson Paving, adjusted by $540, after a calculation error from the company. The other bid was nearly $10,000 more.

Fire: The auxiliary’s chicken noodle dinner is set from 4-7 p.m. March 11 at Fire Station #1, 414 S. Morton Ave.

Electricity: Wandersee said Indiana Municipal Power Agency shared a Wall Street Journal article about complications if electric vehicle use surges. To charge vehicles at homes, the town’s electric grid would need revamping, and homes would need upgrading too.

Caboose hours: Wayne County Railroaders announced the Maplewood Park attraction’s 2023 schedule. April dates are 11 a.m.-5 p.m. April 8 and 22.

Next meeting: 7 p.m. March 14 at town hall

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A version of this article appeared in the March 8 2023 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Millicent Martin Emery is a reporter and editor for the Western Wayne News.