The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Village hears various insurance plans


Jan Tucker/Daily Globe

Village Clerk Marcia Aho Black swears in new council member Donald Chastan Monday at the Ontonagon Village Council meeting.

ONTONAGON - Ontonagon Village Manager Joe Erickson informed the council Monday that he has looked into the various insurance plans for village employees but still has questions on what plans would be closest to the plans presently in effect for union members.

The village was notified last month that its union plan does not comply with all the requirements of the Affordable Care Act. He said that he reviewed the proposed Gold Plan and while the medical coverage is similar with only minor differences, the prescription drug plans are very different.

He explained the current village drug plan is two tiered and the Gold Plans are five tiered. Platinum plans are three tiered. He said co-pays are $200 or $300 for a 30 day supply. Erickson said this is "significantly" higher than the $60 employees presently pay.

He added that the Affordable Care Act plans all have out of pocket limit, over and above deductibles. The current village plan has out of pocket only for out of network services.

Erickson said the village will have to pay the $9,000 or $10,000 in taxes included in the premiums as they are not exempt. "My greatest concern is the co-insurance (out of pocket expenses) after the deductible is reached. The out of pocket expenses range from $2,000 to $12,000."

Erickson will meet with the insurer for more clarification on the issue.

The Ontonagon County Historical Society building, which is owned by the village, was discussed.

Last month the village appointed John Cane and Tony Smydra to meet with Historical Society members to discuss an agreement with the village from 2008, where the society would buy the building with payments as they received money. Bruce Johanson told the village last month the society does not have money to buy the building, and outlined the thousands of dollars they have put into the building in upgrades since 1993 when the society took it over.

Cane said some people would like to see the village turn the deed over for $1 and other issues have been discussed. Johanson asked that no figures be revealed until the Historical Society board meets to discuss it.

Sheryl Labyak operates the Design Lines Beauty Shop in a small separate building on the property. Labyak said she wishes to buy the building her shop is in. Presently she pays the Historical Society $175 a month rent and pays her own insurance. She said she wanted to buy the building in 2008 but the Historical Society wanted both buildings. She said she spent $5,000 of her own personal money to renovate the building.

The council agreed to have Cane and Smydra continue the discussion with the Society and include Labyak in those discussions.

The village also owns a 50 foot lot on River Street between two businesses in the village. Both are interested in the purchase. The council agreed to a suggestion by Erickson that the proposal for the lot be advertised with the caveat that the bidder would have to tell what the lot would be used for, the time frame for its development and have a performance bond that would be paid if the work was not done in the stated time. Erickson said the village needs assurance that the property will not become "just another empty lot in the downtown."

The council's newest member Donald Chastan took his seat on the council. He was sworn in by Village Clerk Marcia Aho Black.

In other action the village:

- Appointed Pam Coey to the Village Housing Commission.

- Heard from Steve Wright of OHM that the grant application for sewer and water work, with no local match, is due to the Department of Environmental Quality by December 2. The resolution for the grant application will be approved at the next village meeting.

-Heard Ron Frazer propose that the water in the marina fish cleaning station be metered as well as other water accessibility in the marina. Sis Haas objected to this. She said there might be damage, someone could try to steal the money and boat users need the boat's water to clean off after being lifted from the lake. They are paying for storage and the cleaning is needed to make sure they are not transferring critters, she said.

-Will ask the Houghton County Board if the village could contract with their building inspector Eric Forsberg for building inspections.

-Agreed to amend its snowmobile speed limit from 10 miles per hour to 15.


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