The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.
That is unless you work for the City of Indianola.
The city, on the edge of disaster, is facing a stiff increase to its employees’ health insurance premiums after two special called meetings last week resulted in the board sticking with a health insurance option that will save five city employees around $2,500 while costing the taxpayers $39,000 over the next year, according to Mayor Steve Rosenthal.
Blue Cross Blue Shield presented three options in the form of a no-win scenario for the city, as each will ultimately negatively affect workers’ and taxpayers’ pocketbooks.
This debate over how much it will cost to help the city’s 100 employees continue to live long and prosper has been repeating itself on an annual basis over the last few years.
Each of the last two years the provider has operated at a loss when it comes to the city’s health insurance claims, and in each of those years, the company has passed the difference to the customer, and ultimately the taxpayers.
The larger issue at hand is that the city continues to take the highly illogical approach of addressing very important issues at the last minute.
For instance, the city’s deadline to accept one of BCBS’s three plans was this past Monday, and yet last week the board was hearing from an entirely new insurance company and potential insurance broker just days before that deadline.
When the new guy said let’s see what’s out there on the open market, the board, including the mayor, said, make it so.
Will he gain the reputation as a miracle worker? That remains to be seen.
What we do know is that the city’s annual budget hearings are fast approaching, and it’s entirely likely we will witness another debacle in year three of this board’s four-year mission to explore strange new ways of doing business.
Last year was bad enough with a city clerk.
This year, there is no clerk, and Ward 1 Alderman Gary Fratesi made mention during one of last week’s Zoom meetings that the board had not seen the latest financial statements for the city.
In fact, it’s been years since the board has received monthly financials on a regular basis.
This, along with some board members living in a parallel universe where spending versus revenue is an antiquated concept, nearly led to the city not having a budget to present in time in 2019.
City leaders must do a better job of preparing when it comes to handling the taxpayers’ business.
Don’t expect the trouble with quibbles to go away anytime soon, but these last-minute attempts to take on gargantuan issues like insurance and city budgets have to stop.
And if we continue to base our budgets on late and incomplete financial statements, what are we going to leave the next generation?
Bad data and a lot of debt.