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Farwell “opts out” of EVIP Hard Cap proposal

By Pat Maurer

Review Correspondent

Farwell Village Council members voted Monday that the adoption of a “Hard Cap Proposal” for employee health care will be put off for a year.  A hard cap would require employees to pay additional costs of health insurance over the cap established and be a step required to qualify for additional Revenue Sharing.

As part of the Governor’s EVIP, “Economic Vitality Incentive Program”, local units of government are required to provide a “Performance Dashboard and a Citizens Guide.” By meeting this requirement, they will be eligible to receive additional revenue sharing.

In order to qualify for financial incentives, municipalities “must develop plans by January 1 to consolidate services that will result in taxpayer savings.”

The Council voted unanimously 6-0 (Barbara Roe was absent) to “opt out” until next year. The move will cost the Village approximately ten percent or $987 in EVIP payments, Clerk Janet Conlay said, but will give the Village Council time to work on the health insurance contract renewal with a new DPW Superintendent.

Because Department of Public Works Superintendent Aaron Moline will be retiring March 1, a quote cannot be obtained on insurance costs without a new hire and information about that person, Conlay told the Council. “This will give us more time,” she said.

In another matter, Farwell Village President Steven Grim reported that the closing on the property and building at the site of the old lumber company was held and the property now belongs to the Village.

The Council approved the purchase of the property at a special meeting November 16. The property was purchased for $60,000. The property includes a 40’ by 60’ storage building which will be used for storage.

Gina Hamilton said the property will be a great asset especially during the Lumberjack Festival in the Village.

The Council also decided they will meet next week to interview candidates for the part-time office assistant position. Janet Conlay was named the new Village Clerk/Treasurer at the November meeting after former Clerk Diane Maki resigned. The Council voted to combine the two positions and add a part-time person in the office.

Six candidates of the 24 who applied will be interviewed on Monday and Tuesday, December 12th and 13th.

Other business Monday included:

  • Setting Council dates for 2012 as the first Monday of the Month except for January and September when the meeting will be held on the first Tuesday.
  • Set December 19 at 6 p.m. as the next Committee of the Whole meeting.
  • Approved Council member Vicky Gunden to represent the Village Council on the Planning Commission and appointed Russ Hamilton as a member of the board. Each will serve three years. There are still two vacancies on the board, Grim said.
  • Receiving a certificate of appreciation from Maxine Paesons of the Farwell Area Historical Museum.
  • Hearing a report on county business from County Commissioner Lynn Grim which included information about budget cuts, food distribution to needy families and setting election dates for 2012.
  • Approval of November bills totaling $83,004.41.