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The Schuyler City Council held its first meeting of November recently, discussing issues from dental insurance to storm sewers.

Some of the main action completed by the governing body was approving health insurance plans for city employees with United Healthcare and changing their dental plans from UHC to Unum Dental. The action was taken following meetings with the city’s health insurance agent, who recommended staying the course with their health insurance but switching dental plans thanks to a cost reduction.

“We did change the dental plan based on his (the agent’s) recommendation,” Schuyler Mayor Jon Knutson said. “It’s basically the same plan, just a little bit less money out of the employee’s pocket.”

The new dental plan will save employees $6 a month and provide them with equivalent, if not better coverage.

The group also approved a request for improvements to the city’s retirement plan, something that Knutson said he has been requesting since he began his bid for the mayor’s chair. The motion allows for changes to employee and employer contributions, changing those to 5 percent from 3 percent, removing accrual requirements and requiring that employer contributions be made on a per payroll basis.

Knutson said that the changes were part of a sweeping plan that also included city staff pay adjustment, something that was also in the works for some time. The impetus for the readjusted plans came thanks to a realization that the city’s retirement plan was not at the level of comparable cities in the area. He hopes that the pay adjustment and retirement plan changes benefit employees and provide more income for retirement.

“It’s a win for our employees,” Knutson said. “We are matching up to 5 percent of their retirement, which is better than three. (It’s) free money.”

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In other council happenings:

*The council approved an agreement with JEO Consulting Group on an evaluation of storm sewer backup in the city. Knutson said that flooding in the town has been, and would be, exacerbated by the sewer backup and that JEO was attempting to find solutions to fix the problem.

“Bottom line: they’re going to be solving our problem and gauging what kind of possible problems could occur with that,” Knutson said. “Where else could we run stormwater to that would avoid backing up into our city streets?”

*The council also approved a bid for the demolition of a pair of buildings on 12th Street that could eventually turn into parking for downtown. Gana Trucking and Excavating of Martell bid $147,540 for the demolition, which will continue through the end of the year. The buildings, formerly a storage room for The African Store, were deemed uninhabitable by the city.

“We’re not quite sure (what to do with it),” Knutson said. “(Parking) has become quite a problem downtown. People want to come and shop, but it’s hard to find a spot.

The governing body is slated to convene next at 6 p.m. Nov. 19. at 1103 B St.

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Zach Roth is a reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at zachary.roth@lee.net.

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