The health care reform bill signed into law by President Barack Obama on Tuesday will have some immediate effects on the city’s insurance plans for employees.


The health care reform bill signed into law by President Barack Obama on Tuesday will have some immediate effects on the city’s insurance plans for employees.

City Manager Tom Short told Carthage City Council members the city’s insurance carrier, Beimdiek Insurance,  said that one immediate impact will see children of city employees eligible to remain on their parents’ insurance plans until age 27. That’s a change from the age limit of 25 years before health care reform.

In six months, the lifetime limit on health insurance payouts will disappear under the reform bill. Short said the city’s insurance plans have a $2 million limit on lifetime payouts.

“No one really knows enough about the effects to know how the new law will affect premiums,” Short said.

CW&EP

In other business, Council Member Claude Newport reported that the Carthage Water and Electric Board had chosen a contractor to supervise the reconstruction of the former McCune-Brooks hospital building on Centennial Avenue as the utility’s new headquarters.

G and G Construction won the bid to manage the project that will see the building renovated to house most of CW&EP’s business operations and some of its maintenance operations.

CW&EP announced plans last year to occupy the more than 80-year-old building after two different plans to use part of the building as a crime lab for the Missouri State Highway Patrol fell through in 2008 and 2009.

The utility spent money to repair the roof over the former emergency room section and stabilize other parts of the building while utility employees tore out wet and mildewed sheet rock and cleaned other water damage.

Storm overtime

Carthage Public Works Director Zeb Carney said last weekend’s snowstorm, that dumped about six inches of snow on the city, also dumped more comp time hours on street department employees.

Carney told council members that the storm put workers on the street for a total of 192 man-hours of overtime, or the equivalent to 288 regular hours at time and a half.

Most of those hours will be used as compensation time, or time off for the workers at the overtime rate of an hour and a half for every hour worked.

This was the fourth major snow storm of the season, all of which hit on weekends or holidays, draining the city’s overtime budget early this winter. In January, the City Council expanded the number of comp time hours a city worker could accumulate in a year to 120 hours.

The problem, according to Carney, is that employees will probably want to take that time in the summer, and employees who get to 120 hours of comp time will have available to them a total of five weeks of time off including vacations.

Mayoral farewell

City Clerk Lynn Campbell announced that the city would hold a retirement ceremony for Mayor Jim Woestman from 2 p.m.-4 p.m. Monday, April 5 at the council chambers.

Woestman, who has served on the council since 2001 and as mayor since 2006, did not seek to return to office in the election that will happen on April 6.

He will preside over the first half of the council meeting on April 13.