Botkins councilors address health costs

BOTKINS — Botkins village employees will pay more of their premium this year than in the past and the percentage of the premium is going to rise.
Botkins Village Council members voted Tuesday to raise village employee health cost to 10 percent of their premium and phased in future hikes.
To help overcome ever-increasing health costs, village employees now will pay a portion of their insurance costs.
“The fee before was very nominal,” Village Administrator Jesse Kent said after Tuesday’s Botkins Village Council meeting. “It varied a little depending on the plan someone had, but is was basically zero.”
The fee will gradually increase to 20 percent over a five-year period.
Senate Bill 5, passed into law earlier this year, said union employees must pay at least 15 percent of their health care premium. A referendum is on the November general election ballot to rescind the action.
The Botkins Beautification Club also received approval to seek funds from the Louise Sheets Community Fund to build a new shelter house at Veteran’s Park.
Club members approached councilors to get permission to put the shelter on the village-owned property on the corner of South and Main streets before applying for the grant with the foundation. The foundation is designed to provide funds to organizations and projects in the Botkins area.
An estimate on the cost of the shelter is not yet available.
Donna and Don Ellinger approached councilors in an attempt to bring “green” energy to their property on Edgewood St.
The couple requested they be allowed to construct an energy-producing home wind turbine on their property. However, the height of the tower goes beyond the 18-foot restriction according to village zoning ordinances.
Kent said councilors were left with two choices on the matter.
“They can simply vote to allow construction over the 18-foot limit,” Kent said, “or they can vote not to.”
If not allowed by the council, the Ellingers can still approach the village’s Zoning Board of Appeals and request a variance for the tower to be built.