Grand Island City Council discusses funding growth in the city

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Updated: Mon, 09 Sep 2013 08:33:29 CST

Grand Island city employees will now be paying more for their health and dental insurance, but it doesn't come without an upside. City Council voted unanimously to approve the city's new insurance program Tuesday night, and for City Council members, support of the new plan was all about the options. "I like what I see in front us of," said Chuck Haase, Grand Island City Council. "I think it's a good thing. It's a good option for employees so I'm very supportive of it." The new health plan gives Grand Island City employees the option of a high-deductible plan. It also separates dental from the traditional plan-giving employees even more options when it comes to their health care. The rise in cost with the health care plan all comes back to higher costs and more work with the upcoming Affordable Health Care Act. And, that wasn't the only unanimous decision tonight. City Council also voted to approve a new 3-year contract with the Fraternal Order of Police. The new contract means some police officers will be receiving up to a 23-percent pay increase over the next three years. And, as Grand Island is now required to compare their wages to larger metropolitan cities, City Council member Julie Hehnke says council didn't have much of an option. "That's what they say," Hehnke said. "That's what they've determined and so I guess what we need to do is look at that, make the best of it and we need to figure out ways that we can make Grand Island grow." City Council also voted tonight to postpone action on the city's salary ordinance. That vote on Sept.10 could mean even more wage increases for both union and non-union city employees. City council members sported orange at the meeting to show their support of the fight to keep the Veterans Home in Grand Island. After much decision in support of putting $5,000 into a fund to retain legal advice on the vets home decision, council decided to vote on the issue next week.