Council approves first draft of 2017 budget

$92 million spending plan to be finalized in coming weeks

By David Lindeman - For the Courier



HUBER HEIGHTS — Huber Heights City Council members were happy to announce the city’s health care savings Monday night.

Council passed a resolution as an emergency measure that approved the purchase of health care insurance for city employees. The vote came after City Manager Rob Schommer explained how the city negotiated a rate with a new health care provider that will result in a savings for the city.

A large number of claims in the past year put the city in a difficult spot when it came to the cost of health care for the coming year.

“Original estimates based on trends and markets would have been nearly 40 percent, certainly north of 30,” Schommer explained. Negotiations brought that down to the 20 percent range, but by changing to the new group the rate increase ended up being less than 9 percent.

Health insurance was just one issue in a busy evening for city council. Other actions taken by council included:

  • Listened to first reading for the 2017 budget. Total appropriations for the year are $92,358,858 with some changes expected before the budget is finalized.
  • Passing on to third reading an update in the city’s public records policy and an agreement with AT&T for fiber communications for telephone service.
  • Passing resolutions that amend the city’s organizational chart and the city’s salary ranges and wage levels.
  • Passing an ordinance for supplemental appropriations that total an increase of $105,200 to the 2016 budget. Items involved include interest payments on notes for construction projects, legal ads, the Fire Department fibre optics project and State Route 202 water main replacement.
  • Approving the appointment of Michael DiFlora to the Board of Zoning Appeals to a term that expires on Jan. 31, 2021; and approving the appointment of Marty Thomas to the Arts and Beautification Commission to a term expiring June 30, 2019. The Arts and Beautification Committee is looking for more members.
  • Approving a resolution for a contract with the Miami County Public Defender Commission for legal representation for indigent persons.
  • Approving an ordinance for the purchase of a new emergency medical vehicle.
  • Approving a resolution after waiving second and third readings for a bridge replacement and relocation of water line on Old Troy Pike south of Chambersburg Road. The Ohio Department of Transportation will pay for the bridge replacement and the city will pay for the water line.
  • Approved a resolution to rename Scarlet Oak Street to Scarlet Oak Drive. This changes the half of Scarlet Oak now designated as “street” to “drive” to provide consistent address information.

City council also heard opposition from two city residents on the proposed water softening project. A non-binding informational vote on the issue will appear on the Nov. 8 ballot.

City council will get updates on Ohio’s medical marijuana law and the city’s project to digitize city records at the next council workshop.

Council also will hear a legal opinion on the energy aggregation program at its next workshop. The original program was passed by council and then vetoed by Mayor Tom McMasters. The work session will be held Nov. 7 at city hall.

Council Member Janell Smith asked residents of the Second Ward to be vigilant following recently reported thefts from cars in that area.

Council member Tyler Starline reminded residents of two big events coming up. Wayne High School’s final regular season football game of the year against Trotwood-Madison will be held on Thursday night instead of the normal Friday night this week. Beggars’ Night will be Oct. 31 from 6-8 p.m.

$92 million spending plan to be finalized in coming weeks

By David Lindeman

For the Courier

Reach David Lindeman at 937-684-8983 or on Twitter @HH_Courier.

Reach David Lindeman at 937-684-8983 or on Twitter @HH_Courier.