July 30, 2019 Special Meeting

The Lakota City Council held a special meeting on July 30th, 2019 at the City Hall.  Mayor Russo called the meeting to order at 2:10 p.m. All Council Members were present, except for Member Rainsberry who was absent; Mayor Russo, Members Vasichek and Hess attended via speaker phone.  Audience members were city supt. Josh Ulland, city employee Kim Burkland and employee Matt Herda.

Auditor Vasichek stated the health care insurance renewal date is September 1, 2019, but if the city were looking at changing the coverage plan it would need to be submitted by July 31, 2019.  Auditor Vasichek provided the council with a spreadsheet showing the cost for alternative plans including options for cost share with the employees.  Auditor Vasichek stated the current grandfathered insurance plan is very expensive for any employee seeking a family plan as the employee is responsible to pay the difference from the city paid single plan.  Auditor Vasichek stated BCBS representative Tim Greene has suggested the BlueCare Platinum 80 250 plan as it would be the most comparable plan to what the city currently has.  Auditor Vasichek reminded the council that once the city elects to leave the grandfathered plan, the city can never go back to that plan. 

Auditor Vasichek stated if the city were to go to a cost share plan with the employees, employee Herda has indicated he will drop the city’s plan and enroll under his spouse’s plan.  Member D. Mattern stated he understands at the previous meeting the council stated that health insurance is a benefit and if the employee elects to not have it, that employee would not be receiving any compensation in lieu of the benefit.  Member D. Mattern stated he feels employee Herda should receive a bonus of at least half of what the city would be saving in expense by dropping him from the plan.  Member D. Mattern proposed to provide employee Herda a bonus of $2400/year due to him electing to drop insurance coverage.

Member Vasichek stated he still agrees with not providing compensation to any employee for opting out of a benefit provided, but he does understand since the city is seeing a cost benefit for having employee Herda off the plan he is fine with it.  Member Vasichek stated he wanted to remind the council the city will not really see any cost savings by employee Herda dropping the coverage since the proposed 70% cost share to the city without employee Herda is roughly the same expense as with the current plan.  Member Vasichek stated the council would need to consider this with any future hires as this is an increased benefit to the employee and we would be changing the cost structure.

Member Solberg stated he feels the city should do what we can in providing an affordable health care option to the employees.

Member D. Mattern made a motion to approve the BCBS-ND healthcare BlueCare Platinum 80 250 plan with a 70% cost share for all full-time employees, with an option of providing a bonus of $2,400/annually to an applicable employee who elects to opt out of the provided coverage, seconded by Member Solberg.  On a roll call vote, all members voting in favor.  Motion carried.




Member D. Mattern made a motion to adjourn, seconded by Member Vasichek

Meeting adjourned at 2:25pm

            APPROVED BY:                                             SUBMITTED BY:



Jeff Russo, Mayor                                            Amie Vasichek, Auditor