SEPTEMBER 17, 2013

The Special Called Meeting of the Council of Columbus, Georgia was called to order at 9:05 A.M., Tuesday, September 17, 2013, in the Council Chambers, Second Floor of City Services Center, 3111 Citizens Way, Columbus, Georgia. Honorable Teresa Pike Tomlinson, Mayor presiding.
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PRESENT: Present other than Mayor Tomlinson and Mayor Pro Tem Evelyn Turner Pugh were Councilors Mike Baker, Bruce Huff, Charles E. McDaniel, Jr. and Judy W. Thomas. Councilor Evelyn Woodson arrived at 9:21 a.m. City Manager Isaiah Hugley, City Attorney Clifton Fay and Deputy Clerk of Council Sandra Davis were also present.
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ABSENT: Councilors R. Gary Allen, Jerry “Pops” Barnes, Glenn Davis and Berry Henderson were absent. Clerk of Council Tiny B. Washington was also absent.
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INVOCATION: Offered by Rev. Gerald Parker, Jr. – New Providence Baptist Church.
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PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE: Led by students from Allen Elementary School.
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Mayor Tomlinson announced that Sheriff John Darr would not be present due to a case pending in federal court; therefore, we would work with the Sheriff to schedule another date for his presentation.
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Human Resources Director Reather Hollowell approached the rostrum to provide an update on the newly opened Health and Wellness Center. She announced the vendor for the Health and Wellness Center is Transform Health. She offered the following format of presentations to include an update on the Health and Wellness Center; employee testimonies; update on healthcare reform; healthcare fund budget impact and proposed changes with regards to health insurance to begin January 1, 2014.

Ms. Allison Judge- Co-owner of Transform Health, appeared before the Council to offer a progress report on the Health and Wellness Center using a power point presentation and is provided below. (A copy of the presentation was not provided during the meeting but listed as part of the agenda material):

Center Participation:

Center Utilization:

Patient Savings:

Patient Savings Pharmacy:

Lab and Referral Savings:

Center Health Plan Savings:

In conclusion, Ms. Judge shared information on wait time, reviewed patient satisfaction surveys, pre-employment drug screen performed and would begin seeing the worker’s compensation patients.

Councilor Huff recalled concerns that he has received in that employees are not being allowed to have office visits during work hours. City Manager Hugley responded that employees should be able to schedule visits during work hours and not docked for time away from the job during their appointments. He then asked to be notified if this is not happening.

Ms. Judge then spoke briefly on the patient satisfaction surveys at the request of Councilor Thomas. There was a suggestion by Councilor Thomas to allow anonymous surveys for the patients. City Manager Hugley recommended posting the survey results on lotus notes for the employees to review.

At this time, City Manager Hugley was the first to speak of his extremely pleasing experience at the Health and Wellness Center.

The following employees came forward to give a testimony on their positive healthcare experience at the Health and Wellness Center: Amber Dykes- Columbus Police Department, Community Reinvestment Director Amy Carabajal, Lionel Haynes, Jr.- Financial Planning.

Human Resources Director Hollowell shared that a resolution would be brought forward in September or October to renew the contract with Transform Health that is due to end December 31, 2013. The contract with Transform Health was determined to be for one-year with an option to renew for four additional years.
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Mayor Tomlinson then recognized the presence of former Human Resources Director Tom Barron, who was seated in the audience.

Ms. Kathy Showers, Northwestern Benefit Corporation, came forward to provide a health reform update with a power point presentation and is listed as follows: (A copy of the presentation was not provided during the meeting but listed as part of the agenda material)

Affordable Care Act Design Changes:

At this time, Ms. Showers called on Ms. Mary Pozatek- Wellness Consultant with Northwestern Benefit, to speak about the wellness incentives that impact the plan.

Ms. Pozatek shared that the final wellness regulations for the Affordable Care Act were announced on May 28, 2013 and take affect on January 1, 2014, which has an affect on the plan. She continued with the power point presentation as provided below:

Affordable Care Act Wellness Incentives:
At this time, Ms. Showers returned to conclude the power point presentation and is listed as follows:

Other Healthcare Changes:

Finance Director Pam Hodge briefly discussed the budget impact with regards to the proposed healthcare changes. She explained that with the plan changes that were made in FY13 with no adjustments to the premiums that became effective January 1, 2013, the healthcare fund had a balanced budget at the end of FY13. She pointed out that we are still going through the audit, which may cause some adjustments, but we are comfortable that we are balanced with the healthcare fund for FY13.

She maintained that for FY14 and working with Northwestern Benefit, the projection for healthcare cost is a $2 million shortfall where we are with the budget. She explained that we have been working on proposed changes to the plan and the employees’ premiums to come close to the projected healthcare costs. She pointed out that the proposed changes would not bring us to the $2 million shortfall but would come close.

At this time, Human Resources Director Hollowell returned to the rostrum to add that the proposed changes were shared with the Employee Benefits Committee members and the Retiree Benefit Committee:

Ms. Showers came forward to outline the proposed changes that would impact the active employees and are as follows; collectively the proposed changes have an estimated savings to the city of just over $1 million: (A copy of the presentation was not provided during the meeting but listed as part of the agenda material.)
2014 Proposed Benefit Changes2013 Benefit Level
HMO OOP to $1,500/$3,000$1,000/$2,000
HMO deductible to $500/$1,000$200/$400
HMO copays to $30/$40$20/$30
POS/LPPO OOP to $2,800/$5,600$2,300/$4,600
POS/PPO deductible to $500/$1,000$300/$600
POS/PPO copays to $30/$40$20/$30
No changes to the Health and Wellness Center Plan

Councilor Thomas asked if any consideration has been given to changes in the benefits within the plan instead of increasing the employees contribution, at which time, City Manager Hugley responded that the staff and Northwestern Benefits have not looked at reducing the level of healthcare benefits that are provided to the employees.

Councilor Thomas then requested that the staff review the healthcare plan and what is included in the plan to consider changes in the level of benefits.

In response to Councilor Baker regarding the Accumulation Rules, Ms. Showers explained that the Accumulation Rules would be effective January 1, 2015 for the city, and would be an additional potential cost to the city because there would be a true limit at which the city would stop collecting co-pay for services from employees, which is currently not in place.

Human Resources Director Hollowell cautioned that open enrollment is scheduled for the second week in October. She explained that we could get the information to the Employee Benefits Committee for the members to have meetings with employees, as well as, work with Northwestern to look at benefit options before the end of the month. She pointed out that when we go into open enrollment, these changes would have to already be made that would become effective January 1, 2014.

City Manager Hugley said that open enrollment would be delayed; since, we have done it before, and it appears we would need to do that for this year.

At this time, Ms. Showers continued with the power point presentation to share the proposed changes to the premium rates that were included in the handout and displayed on the overhead projector. (A copy of the presentation was not provided during the meeting but listed as part of the agenda material) RETIREE PLAN UPDATE:

Ms. Flowers also outlined proposed changes to the retiree plan with the use of a power point presentation. (A copy of the presentation was not provided during the meeting but listed as part of the agenda material)

Why Ask Employees to Pay More:

When Mayor Pro Tem Turner Pugh asked if the retirees are agreeable to these changes, Human Resources Director Hollowell acknowledged that some of the members were present this morning. She then responded by saying we have met with them three times and they have met and presented the changes to the Retiree Association and are agreeable to the proposed changes.

Finance Director Hodge came forward to make some final comments on the budget impact as it relates to the healthcare plan. City Manager Hugley said that we would delay open enrollment and determine the recommended delay date and ask the Employee Benefits Committee to meet with the employees and once those meetings are concluded, we would come back to Council with a recommendation.
Councilor Thomas then asked to be provided with a copy of the medical, dental and vision plans. She would review those plans to see what suggestions she could offer to keep the employees who are in the HMO Plan, who have a family from having an additional $1,000 a year deductible paid and additional premiums.

Mayor Tomlinson then suggested an update to the Council on the efforts being made related to the Health and Wellness Center to increase enrollment; so, the employees would not be impacted in any way by some of the discussions we have had today.
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Mayor Tomlinson shared changes to the legislative agenda by stating that we are no longer going to our legislative delegation without a preliminary approved legislative agenda for them to consider. She said there are approximately five or six items; however, we are not scheduled to discuss them until September 24, 2013 but this gives the Council an opportunity to hear a brief explanation on each.

City Manager Hugley announced the Hometown Connection Meeting scheduled for October 1, 2013 at the Trade Center from 11:00 am to 1:15 pm. He then outlined the following seven proposed legislative agenda items and briefly explained each and are listed as follows: (The list is provided in the information Section of the Council’s Agenda packet).

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NOTE: Councilor McDaniel left the meeting during this portion of the proceeding with the time being 11:16 a.m.
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In conclusion, City Manager Hugley advised that we could add or delete from the list. He advised that we would come back to the Council on September 24, 2013 with resolutions for approval of the 2014 Legislative Agenda.
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The following referrals were made by members of Council and are listed as follows:

Have the staff to research to determine if there is a sunset clause on other cities in the State as it relates to the technology fee. Also, verify that the other communities are already charging that $25.00 fee. (Request of Mayor Pro Tem Turner Pugh)

Send a reminder to the members of Council; in particular, the absent members of Council asking them to review the legislative agenda list. (Request of Councilor Baker)

Mayor Tomlinson requested to be provided with a link that could be sent to the absent members of Council with regards to the discussion today on the healthcare costs and proposed changes.
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Councilor Woodson reminded and thanked everyone that supported the Tri-City Latino Festival. She announced the Tri-City Latino Festival would be held, on Saturday, September 21, 2013, at the Civic Center. The 5K Run would begin at 10:00 a.m., the main stage would start at 12:00 and the first Latino Princess would be crowned.

She shared that one of the high points is that WHINSEC at Fort Benning and Carver High School have developed a partnership to educate the children and one another on the difference in the Latin community. She thanked Mayor Tomlinson, Mayor Eddie Lowe in Phenix City, Alabama and Ft. Benning for the guidance and support. She also thanked the Administration and various staff members.

She invited everyone to come and enjoy the festivities and fellowship with the community.

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Councilor Woodson requested that staff look into developing software to create a database to send notices to citizens that provide their email addresses through the city’s website, for instance; public hearings, car tag renewals, etc.
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Councilor Woodson requested an update on some information previously provided that allows a citizen to download an application to report a problem through their mobile devices.
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Mayor Tomlinson asked that Human Resources Director Hollowell approach the rostrum to give the employees some information on how to join the Health and Wellness Center. Human Resources Director Hollowell explained the process by stating that employees could contact Human Resources to complete the one-page application or fill out the form located in the database and send it to Human Resources and the process would begin immediately.
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With there being no other business to come before this Council, Mayor Pro Tem Turner Pugh made a motion to adjourn. Seconded by Councilor Woodson and carried unanimously by those five members present with Councilor McDaniel being absent for the vote and Councilors Allen, Barnes, Davis and Henderson being absent from the meeting with the time being 11:36 a.m.

Sandra T. Davis, CDMC
Deputy Clerk of Council
Council of Columbus, Georgia