Health Insurance, Emergency Sirens, Celtic Festival on Saline City Council Agenda

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 12/02/2012 - 22:41


Saline City Council will discuss the Celtic Festival, emergency warning sirens, and employee health insurance at Monday night’s meeting.

Council will discuss the Celtic Festival during a workshop that begins at 6 p.m. The Celtic Festival is coming off a successful festival. Since surviving a close vote at the council table two years ago, the festival has been revamped and re-imagined.  A new non-profit group called Friends of the Celtic Festival has begun fundraising for the city-owned festival. Some city council members want to see the festival turned over to the non-profit group at some point.

The Celtic Festival is held each July at Mill Pond Park and originally founded as a celebration of Saline’s sister-city relationship with Brecon, Wales.

Request to Change Location of New Outdoor Siren

Washtenaw County is proposing a new location for an outdoor warning siren. The county is in the process of replacing towers in the city. One of the new towers was planned to go near Chelsea Lumber on the 600 block of East Michigan. However, a “confluence of buried utilities” in front of Chelsea Lumber will make construction there impossible. The right of way includes buried water, sewer, power and communication networks, according to city council from Benjamin Pinette, Emergency Services Planning Coordinator for Washtenaw County.

To maintain presence on the eastern side of the city, the county is recommending placement on the north side of Bemis Road, between Old creek Drive and Keveling Drive.

Committee Recommends City Keep Hard Cap on Employee Insurance

A city health care committee is recommending the city continue to use the “hard cap” option for employee health insurance in 2013, and to change the current health coverage from a plan that offers 100 percent coverage to a plan with 80 percent coverage.

In a memo to council, City Manager Todd Campbell explains the cost of the current plan, a Blue Cross/Blue Shield HSA high deductible plan, is rising by 11.23 percent. Renewing the plan would cost an extra $88,000 annually, with employees absorbing about $55,000 of the cost as a result to Public Act 152. The City would be on the hook for about $33,000.

A health benefits committee, representing city staff and union members, is recommending moving a BCBS HSA high deductible plan with 100 percent coverage to a BCBS HSA high deductible plan with 80 percent coverage, and changing from the Community Blue PPO plan to a Simple BluePPO plan with 80 percent coverage.

The city’s non-union and Teamsters employees will be impacted Jan. 1. Employees represented by the Saline Police Officers Association and Saline Sergeant’s Association will be impacted July 1.

Breathalyzer Tests May Cost $5

In the consent agenda is a motion to amend the city’s fee book to allow for the Saline Police Department to charge $5 for preliminary breath tests. The tests are given to people who have been ordered by the court to prove they have not consumed alcohol. Currently, the SPD does not charge for the test. Sgt. Jay Basso contacted several police agencies and learned most charged $5 per test and two others charged $10 per test.

In 2012, the SPD has administered 1,802 tests. A $5 charge would raise $9,010.

The police department budget is stretched out, despite the elimination of the Deputy Police Chief’s position. The department recent began a private fundraising campaign to equip officers with electric shock weapons.

Toarmina Resigns from ZBA

Pete Toarmina is resigning from the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals effective Dec. 31.

2013 City Council Dates

Saline City council will meet Jan. 7 and 14, Feb. 4 and 11, March 4 and 18, April 1 and 15, May 6 and 20, June 3 and 17, July 1 and 15, Aug. 5 and 19, Sept. 9 and 23, Oct. 7 and 21, Nov. 4 and 18, and Dec. 2 and 16.

Driskell and Grossman Honored

Mayor Gretchen Driskell, elected state representative in the November election, and Attorney Allan Grossman, will be honored at a reception at 6:30 p.m., Dec. 17, at City Hall. Driskell has been Saline’s mayor since 1999. Grossman has been city attorney for 52 years.

Tran Longmoore's picture
Tran Longmoore
Tran Longmoore is a veteran community journalist. He is founder and owner of He is co-publisher of The Saline Post weekly newspaper. Email him at [email protected] or call him at 734-272-6294.

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