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Hancock City Council to begin interview process for new employee

Within the next few weeks, two members of the Hancock City Council will be interviewing applicants for the city maintenance director position. Four people applied for the job and, after reviewing those applications at their meeting on Monday night, the council members decided to interview all four.

Mayor Bruce Schmidgall and councilman Brett Nelson will conduct the initial interviews after schedules have been set with the candidates. The two will then bring recommendations back to the full council at the November meeting.

In another matter regarding personnel, council members reviewed some options presented by City Clerk Andrea Swenson regarding employee health insurance. The council members have been looking for other options that are less costly in offering this benefit.

The options presented by Swenson show ways that an employee can purchase his or her own plan and be reimbursed by the city for the premium and extra costs. In this plan, the city would pay an employee through a pre-tax, flex type fund. This would be a set dollar amount each month. From this fund, the employee would pay the monthly premium for the health insurance policy they have acquired. The balance of the money in the fund, above the premium amount, would be placed in a health savings account and used for out-of-pocket expenses the employee would incur for health care.

Swenson presented an example. She found a family health plan with a total family deductible of $7,100 a year for $757 per month. If the city would set up a fund giving $900 per month for insurance, Swenson would pay her premium and have the remaining $143 in the fund to use toward the deductible. However, she pointed out, that under this plan, she could be spending an additional $4,000 a year for health coverage if her family met the deductible. This would mean a $4,000 a year loss in wages.

One of the points brought up by Swenson was that she was informed that the amount the city spends on each employee for this type of health insurance fund had to be the same. This would work fine for Swenson and the new maintenance employee. However, the city has a different plan with the police chief. In that arrangement, the city agreed to simply pay more in salary to compensate for no health insurance coverage.

Swenson will need to find out if the agreement with the police position can be 'grandfathered in' before the council members make their final decision about the health insurance plan.

Other business

* The council members approved two new city ordinances. The first was for the use of golf carts on city streets and the second was a fee for buildings sitting empty for extended periods of time.

* Ryan Mogard presented the public works report stating that everything at the water plant was good. He is working on getting the sump pump inspections done and discussed possibly cleaning the exterior of the water tower next year. He informed council that he will probably not need to discharge at the ponds this fall due to dry conditions but will be monitoring this closely.

* A building permit was approved for Gary Barsness for a new home on Fairview Lane.