Ishpeming City Council to consider 2019 budget

ISHPEMING — Two new Ishpeming City Council members, Pat Scanlon and Lindsay Bean will take their seats at the council table for the first time at 7 p.m. on Wednesday just in time to consider the city’s 2019 budget and fee schedule.

The fee schedule will include increases in city water, sewer and garbage rates.

The changes, if approved, would increase resident’s minimum monthly charge for the first zero to 2,500 gallons of water usage from $42.94 to $45.08. Any water use after the first 2,500 gallons would be raised from $17.18 to $18.03 for each 1,000 gallons used, the fee schedule states.

The minimum monthly charge for wastewater would rise from $31.92 to $33.51 for the first zero to 2,500 gallons used, with the charge for each 1,000 gallons increasing from $12.77 to $13.40.

The monthly charge for solid waste disposal would be raised by $5 according to the fee schedule, from $13.20 to $17.20 for a single family home.

The cost of rental inspections will also rise, the schedule states, from $75 to $100 per unit for initial inspection. Renewal inspection costs will increase from $75 to $85 for one to two units inspected at the same time in the same location; $70.00 to $80.00 per unit for three to ten units inspected at the same time and location; and $65 to $75 per unit for over ten units inspected at the same time in the same location.

The council will also consider options for complying with Michigan’s Public Act 152, Publicly Funded Health Insurance Contribution Act.

The Act gives municipal employers three options: a hard caps option that limits a public employer’s total annual medical benefit plan cost for employees based on coverage levels as defined in the act, the hard cap is set by the state annually; an 80 percent/20 percent option that limits the employers share of total annual medical benefit plan costs to not more than 80 percent, which requires a majority vote annually by the governing body; or exemption, in which the local government exempts itself from the requirements of the act by an annual two-thirds vote of the governing body.

In years past the city council has approved the exemption option, a practice that will not be sustainable indefinitely, according to City Manager Mark Slown’s 2018 Budget Message on Oct. 12.

“The municipal unit paying 100 percent of the employee healthcare premium is not the trend,” Slown’s message states. “Most municipal employers have established a policy of some form of premium sharing. Because healthcare costs continue to increase while our revenue is stagnant, some form of premium cost-sharing is going to be necessary.”

Lisa Bowers can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242.