Council projects budget expenses

Staff writer

Hillsboro City Council members looked into the future through City Administrator Larry Paine’s looking glass Tuesday, and saw new street projects and rising insurance costs.

“I wanted to ask of you, if you had any ideas of things we might want to do,” Paine said. “Now would be the time to start talking about them, before we get to the end of the year and have to scramble for funds.”

Paine asked the council to consider things that would improve the community.

Council member Marlene Fast said she thought Grand Avenue needed some attention in the coming year.

“We need new curbs and guttering there,” she said. “This is where many of our outside visitors come when they attend sporting events. How important are those bricks to our city?”

Fast mentioned that the addition of angled parking slots on the north side of Grand would help alleviate current crowd problems along the street.

Mayor Delores Dalke directed the council’s attention to progress that might develop along Industrial Road at some point.

“We need to fix that road, especially if we go ahead and build a new hospital,” she said. “One of these days it will go some place.”

Dalke also said that crossing lights on D Street in front of the college should become a priority for council funds.

“We need to do something before someone gets hurt on those dark crossings,” she said.

Paine gave council members a calendar outlining work sessions in the coming weeks during which further discussion on city improvements could take place.

Paine also reported to the council how health insurance numbers would change in the future, as the city incorporated changes brought about by the national Affordable Care Act.

“I’ve been working on health care renewals,” he said. “What I have learned is that the health care rating policy is valuing our policy higher than others because of two things: issues we have had with health, and our age is much higher than some other entities.”

Paine said the average age of city employees and staff was 55. This dovetailed into an insurance summary requiring higher deductibles and payments of $50 more per person in the future.

“No one knows what will actually happen when the national health plan goes into effect, but as I understand it, we should see reductions in our costs,” he said. “The age factor will be driven down and the younger age pool premiums will get more expensive.”

Paine said the council could expect an 18 percent increase when renewing their current health policies due to a discount taken last year.

“We’re just going to have a big increase that will have to be figured into the budget,” Dalke said.

 

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