A vote to have elected officials in Elma pay 10 percent of their health insurance premiums narrowly passed by a 3-2 vote Wednesday.
Councilmen Dean Puleo and Dennis Powers and Supervisor Michael Nolan voted for the increase, citing the need for government reform and to get the town more in line with the private sector, where more and more have been paying a portion, if not all, of their health insurance.
Opposed to the contribution were Council members David Polak and Susan Glownia. Glownia later told The Buffalo News, "The [board members don't] make that much. It's not fair, with the cost of living, to target the little people."
Polak pointed out that Nolan plans to have all employees contribute next year and, the following year include union members.
He objects to having municipal employees, who, in his opinion, make less than the private sector for the same work, get saddled with these premiums. He urged the Town Board to send out requests for proposals to all insurance companies to get the best deal for town employees.
Nolan said, "I am amazed elected officials refused to vote for this change. This was one of the biggest votes this Town Board has had. I am glad we have the majority on the board in favor of government reform."
Puleo, Polak, Powers and Nolan receive family coverage for health care from the Town of Elma in the amount of $899 per month. The new vote will now require them to pay $89 a month toward this premium retroactive to Jan. 1.
Glownia is the only member of the Town Board to waive the insurance, preferring to receive a $100 monthly incentive to do so. Other elected officials who will pay the 10 percent premium are the highway superintendent and town clerk. The town justices do not receive this benefit. The savings to the town per year will be $6,700.
The board voted to hire an outside engineering firm to review the state environmental quality review act for a proposal from Rite Aid to build a drugstore on Bullis and Bowen roads.
In other business, the board:
*Voted to issue a business use permit to Ceier Chiropractic, 2430 Bowen Road.
*Issued a music permit to Mia's at 7200 Seneca St., the former Drydock Restaurant.
*After a public hearing, voted to rezone 750 Jamison Road from Industrial to Residential C.