Waynesfield tables K9 purchase, insurance contract

WAYNESFIELD — Two issues that councilors were not ready to vote on forced them to schedule a special council meeting for 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Councilors chose to table the issue of approving health insurance coverage of the village’s seven full-time workers.
An official with the insurance company, Beery Insurance, revealed to councilors at Monday’s meeting that the total monthly premium would jump to $11,819 from $9,379 if they kept the same coverage, a considerable 26 percent jump. To make matters worse, councilors learned that they had only until Aug. 1 to decide whether to keep the same plan or reduce coverage.
While the presentation made did offer a plan with a comparable monthly premium, the plan also would force village workers to experience a huge increase in out-of-pocket expenses. Workers would be forced to pay all medical costs and prescription drug costs until their deductible was met for a maximum out of pocket cost of $7,000 for network providers or $14,000 for non-network providers, compared to the current maximum $4,000 and $8,000 costs.
Councilman Chris Kaufman reiterated the feelings of the council as a whole for the short amount of time the council was expected to make a decision.
“This is unacceptable,” Kaufman said.
Councilor Cheryl Jerew agreed to get in touch with Beery Insurance today and further elaborate on the council’s choice’s before Friday’s meeting.
If Beery did not have a response by Aug. 1, the renewal price with the 26 percent increase would take effect automatically.
In other business, councilors also tabled an issue after hearing a presentation from Police Chief Nathan Motter. Motter told councilors that police K9 training academy Von der Haus Gill in Wapakoneta has offered the village a trained drug-sniffing K9 at the cost of $1,000.
Motter explained that for a trained drug-sniffing K9 officer, the cost is typically $15,000 for the training alone and that the offer gave the village a rare opportunity.
“It increases my efficiency,” Motter said. “It sends a message that we aren’t going to just sit back and let it happen. We have limited resources and we not only have traffickers coming through here — but living here. This will help address that.”
Motter told councilors that just since May 20, the village has been forced to rely on drug-sniffing K9s from other departments 14 times for searches of vehicles. Of those 14 searches, five arrests were made.
Motter told councilors than in addition to the $1,000 cost for the training, there would be cost of approximately $2,000 for an insert in the cruiser for housing the dog, approximately $200 for equipment, $40 a month for food and $1,000 per year in veterinary bills.
Motter noted that many villages he has talked to have said the costs are often erased by donations.
“Two entities have expressed an interest in making a donation to the K9 fund,” Motter said. “Wal-Mart and other local companies have often donated the food to help take care of that cost and I plan on approaching people for that. Someone has expressed to me that a local vet may be interested in providing veterinary care.”
Despite the presentation, councilors appeared unready to take on a K9 officer quite yet.
Councilor Howard Traucht said he would like to have firm commitments before deciding on the issue, such as donations, food and possible veterinarian care.
However, Motter said he lacks the ability to secure such donations until people see the village is committed to the project.
Mayor Mike Ridenour said that he is in favor of the project and thinks councilors should make the commitment, but that he can see their concerns.
“It is a commitment,” Ridenour said. “There is the potential of ongoing costs and I can see why they are concerned. I am in favor of anything that helps in the fight against drugs. This offers us that opportunity at minimal costs.”
Councilors need to decide on the issue before early August due to training beginning at the Von der Haus Gill Academy in late August. The training would take Motter off of the street for about four hours a week for training for a four-week period, but councilors have the option of possibly filling those time slots with auxiliary police until the training was over.