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JAMESTOWN – The majority of Jamestown’s City Council agrees that a proposal changing retiree benefits should not be included in the 2021 budget.
The lawmaking body held a special budget meeting on Monday night via Zoom to finalize next year’s spending plan.
Last week city employees past and present rallied in support of retiree benefits that Jamestown’s Mayor is trying to restructure as part of his proposed budget.
The Mayor’s proposal would move Medicare-eligible retirees off the city’s self-insured plan to a fully insured plan with United Health Care.
The Mayor says that retirees 65 and up would keep the same medical, vision and dental coverage; with some additional coverage the city’s doesn’t offer.
The change would likely save the city more than $1 Million in the upcoming budget.
Councilwoman At-Large and Finance Committee Chairwoman Kim Ecklund says that the change should not be included in the budget.
“It is very unfortunate to me that it was placed in the budget without going through the proper management of how to do this, I’ve made my thoughts very clear publicly and privately,” said Ecklund. “While I don’t want to say that we shouldn’t look into these cost savings measures, and shouldn’t investigate things, and shouldn’t do a correct form of an RFP, and get health insurance looked at for lower-cost; cramming it down, in voiding Union contracts is not the way to do.”
“I feel this 1.1 million, or 1 million, that’s in there is going to end up in court and we’re going to end up paying it, and we’re also going to have legal fees on the backs of the taxpayers, so the 1 million is unattainable to me,” furthered Ecklund.
Ward Two Councilman and City Council President Tony Dolce, Ward Four Councilwoman Marie Carrubba, Ward Six Councilman Tom Nelson, At-Large Councilwoman Tamu Graham-Reinhardt and At-Large Councilman Jeff Russell all agreed with Ecklund.
The council is scheduled to vote on the Mayor’s budget next Monday.
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