- Savings will help balance general fund, and tackle some delayed projects
A newly-adopted health insurance policy for city employees will save the City of Brazil nearly a quarter-million dollars, according to Mayor Tom Arthur.
When the city council voted Tuesday to accept employee coverage through Humana Healthcare, effectively saving close to $240,000 in appropriated insurance costs. Arthur said the savings would allow the city to balance its general fund and tackle several long-delayed projects.
He had pared the city's budget deficit down to $44,259 as of Nov. 15. The surplus will comfortably cover that disparity, with a significant portion remaining for various improvements.
The city paid current insurance provider Anthem Health $782,019 to insure city employees in 2005. Anticipating an increase in the cost of health coverage, the city appropriated $908,918 to insure its employees in 2006. The Humana Healthcare policy will cost the city $669,565, a savings of $239,352.
Arthur said the money would allow the city to codify its ordinances, a process which hasn't been undertaken since 1983. The ordinances passed since then are now stored in a series of cluttered file cabinets, Arthur said. He plans to contract Cincinnatti-based American Legal Services to organize the outstanding ordinances for an estimated $10,000.
"Codifying takes all these 25 years of ordinances and puts them in a nice book," he said. "The program we're looking at would put them online, so they can be easily accessible to the public."
The "Comprehensive Master Plan of the City of Brazil," a document detailing city zoning ordinances and plans for various improvements to city roads and facilities, has not been updated for 40 years. Arthur has contacted the Architecture Department at Ball State University about overhauling the outdated master plan, a project he estimated "could cost in the tens of thousands of dollars."
Arthur said the money could also be spread out among city employees, who stand to shoulder greater medical costs under the Humana plan, in the form of a larger-than-average raise. City employees received a 4 percent payraise for 2005 and a 3 percent increase for 2006.
"We're hoping to provide maybe some larger than average salary increases that we haven't been able to offer in the past," he said.