Morrison Debates Insuring Domestic Partners’ Health & Dental Coverage
By LYNNETTE FORTH | For The Prairie Advocate News
MORRISON – A short meeting of the Morrison City Council was held on Monday, February 11th in the Whiteside County Boardroom.
A lot of discussion took place between members of the council regarding a request to insure domestic partners with Health and Dental coverage. The request, if approved, would allow any City employee wanting to insure a domestic partner with Health and Dental coverage.
Right now, the insurance plan only covers immediate family and couples. The insurance company will provide the employee seeking domestic coverage a list of questions, which the company will use to decide if approval should be granted. The insurance company would have to be satisfied that the couples in question are in fact in a relationship.
Alderman Sullivan stated, “In typical insurance policies, if the holder gets married, they have 30 days to add a spouse unless the spouse is covered by insurance. Clerk Schroeder replied, “We do have an open enrollment period, for a qualifying event with proof of credible coverage, but this needs to be done in a certain time frame.”
Mayor Drey added, “This would put more work on the couple to prove how solid the relationship really is.” Alderman Scott Connelly offered “I think we need to look at what the cost to the City will be, and see how much that will impact our costs.”
Alderman Sullivan added, “I am reluctant; maybe we need to have the council review this further, and see if a Representative from the insurance company could be present at the next council meeting.
The only public comment came from Jim Britt, representing the American Legion. Britt expressed concern about why the Legion was not placed on the Historical Society’s opt-out list. Apparently, Britt says that some paperwork is missing that Mayor Drey was supposed to look for, but has not found it yet.
Board and Commission reports were reviewed by council members, beginning with a meeting of the Morrison Business Advisory Group from January 3rd. During that meeting, Chairman Jennings introduced two new members of the group, Scott Stocker and Angie VanderVinne.
Elections for the 2013 year were discussed, with Jennings serving as Chairman, and Stephanie Vavra to serve as Vice-Chairman.
Kevin Kuehl updated the council on the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting from January 30th. At that meeting, Bill Holt of Northwest Survey was present to present to the Commission a request for Subdivision review within the 1-1/2 mile radius of the Corporate Limits of the City. This subdivision is known as “Whitetail Terrace.” Currently, the property is zoned as Agriculture, which allows for residential building. Approval was given for the subdivision.
Alderman Sullivan questioned how many houses are currently within the subdivision, to which Kuehl replied “1”. Sullivan concluded, “If there is only one house there, why is it referred to as a subdivision?” Kuehl stated that a subdivision can have any number of homes.
The next meeting of the Planning and Zoning Commission is set for February 27th at 5:30.
Historic Preservation Minutes from the February 5th meeting were reviewed as well, discussing the removal of a property from the Historic Landmark Register, along with 6 applications that have been submitted for opting-out of the Historic District. Owners of 508 W. Lincolnway withdrew their previous opt-out request.
Chairman Slavin announced that the City of Morrison is a recipient of the CLG grant award in the amount of $20,000.00. The grant’s term will allow the City to employ the services of a consultant to assist in the preparation of an application to have an appropriate portion of the Downtown Section of the local historic district listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Slavin reported that the expected time frame from start to finish is 1-2 years. The next meeting is scheduled for March 5th.
The consent agenda for the evening contained: January 28th 2013 Public Hearing Minutes (approved); January 28th 2013 Regular Session Minutes (approved); Bills Payable -$138,572.29 (approved); January 2013 Treasurer’s report (approved); Request for Subdivision “Whitetail Terrace” (approved); Animal control agreement with Whiteside County Health Department (approved); Request for payment-DJ Sickley- Well #5 Well House ($6,080.00 approved).
Items for consideration and possible action included: Historic District Opt-Out Properties - 124 East Main Street, 317 East Main Street, 624 West Lincolnway, 101 West Lincolnway, and 104 West Lincolnway.
Alderman Wood made a motion to approve with Dave Rose giving a 2nd. Alderman Thorndike voted “reluctantly, yes.” The motion was approved.
Police Chief Melton informed the council that he is hoping to begin work with the school, council members, and the public to work on making improvements around Northside School.
“I cringe every time I drive by there at Cherry Street during pick up and drop off times. I am looking to find the most cost effective improvements to allow for the assurance of children’s safety in that area. I urge you to talk to people in the community, and amongst yourselves about ideas that will help. I am hoping to bring this to the next council meeting.”
Alderman Rose asked Melton, “What are you looking at doing?” Melton replied, “Regulating parking during drop off and pick up, mostly traffic flow during those times.”
Mayor Drey asked if the Police Department has been seeing many stop arm violations, to which Melton answered, “Occasionally yes, mostly on Genessee.”
City Administrator Wise reminded the council of a budget meeting scheduled for February 12th at 7 p.m. in the Board Room.
The meeting was adjourned at 7:30, with the next meeting to be held on February 25h, 2013. As always, the public is encouraged to attend.