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John

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Reply with quote  #1 
So what's the real cost of maintaining a municipal fire department? Anyone care to share?
Tazmanic

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Reply with quote  #2 
John

Here is where I found a copy of the contract between the City and the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 609, the CFD.

It's from 2010-2011 but will give you some idea of their benefit package.

http://www.google.com/#q=International+association+of+fire+fighters+local+609+contract&start=0

For some reason it separated at the l in local, you have to type the rest of the string yourself.

John

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Reply with quote  #3 
So currently under "
ARTICLE 16
MEDICAL INSURANCE
The Employer agrees to pay all of the employee's single and family coverage share of
the Wellmark Alliance Select (PPO) medical plan. Attached as Exhibit D is a summary
explanation of said plan. The Alliance Select plan shall.have a twelve month deductible of $250
for single coverage and $500 for family coverage, with the maximum out-of-pocket expense for
said period being $500 per person and $1000 per family. The employer will reimburse the
employee for the $250/500 deductible when incurred pursuant to guidelines agreed upon by the
parties. The deductible payments shall be regarded as employee contributions for the
purposes of computing the out-of-pocket maximums. The co-payment will have 90% paid by
the plan and 10% by the employee up to the out-of-pocket maximum for expenses incurred with
PPO (in-network) providees. The co-payment will be 80% paid by the plan and 20% by the
employee up to the out-of-pocket maximum for expenses incurred with non-PPO (out-of-network) providees. Any change in carrier, coverage or manner of handling claims shall be
equal to or better than, the Wellmark Alliance Select (PPO) medical plan.
Effective 1/1/07, the deductible reimbursement feature shall be eliminated.
Effective 1/1/07, there shall be a prescription drug card added to the health insurance
plan, with the following co-payments:
$5 - generic
$20 - preferred brand/formulary brand
$30 - non preferred brand/non formulary brand
The prescription co-payments shall not count towards deductibles and out-of-pocket
maximums on the participant's health plan.
If no generic brand is available and a preferred brand is available and the participant
pays the prescription co-payment for the preferred brand, then the participant will be
reimbursed by submitting a written request to the City, by using the City provided form, and they
shall receive a reimbursement of $15, but if the participant chooses the non-preferred brand,
the participant will receive no reimbursement.
If no generic brand is available and no preferred brand is available and the participant
pays the prescription co-payment for the non-preferred brand, then the participant will be
reimbursed by submitting a written request to the City, by using the City provided form, and they
shall receive a reimbursement of $25."
 
And they're complaining that they'll have to pay some of their cost of insurance. Please!!!! They seem to not mention that in they're letter to the editor. I'll read it more thoroughly later.

John

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Reply with quote  #4 
My gosh, up until 07' they were getting their deductibles reimbursed! Looks like they now get the prescription reimbursed.


John

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Reply with quote  #5 
So City Council, what is the total cost of the Fire Department. How much does it cost per Fire Fighter for Salaries, Insurance, Pension? How much does it cost for training (above that which is actually required)? When the funding runs out for the Safety Director (Safer Grant), will that position be maintained? What is the cost for an outside safety firm to facilitate safety training and related safety management throughout the cities departments and personnel. How much is that boat going to really cost us? 
Me

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Reply with quote  #6 
John, what is the cost of your safety?  When and if you call 911, what kind of response do you want?  City services cost money.  You want to bitch?  What about the countless city "improvement" projects the city has funded in recent years like a walk path parallel to ADM that no one on.  What you and the many in this city fail to realize is the necessity of service.  This city and the council have far too long not understood that city run services are far and above privatized bid outs in that we still retain the governing over them and the funding they bring in.  Yes they cost as well, but the funding they bring in as far as tickets from the PD and medical reimbursement from the FD cover some costs.  Go privatized and we lose both safety personnel and that income.  Cut, cut, cut is what we've heard for years.  Who has ever recovered from a stripped city.  If we want to grow, we cannot keep selling and cutting.  We have all the things a city needs; highway, river, and rail to be booming again.  If we keep cutting though, there will be no one moving in.  Cutting $13 a household (figuratively) and losing 6 positions in the city is absurd.  And wanting to cut again next year is outrageous.  We lower taxes again, watch the ISO rating go up and everyones insurance goes up way above what they're saving in taxes, costing homeowners and businesses more.  

So what's the fire department costing us???  Rethink it... Who's really costing this city.
John

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Reply with quote  #7 
I don't have to rethink anything. You see I'm not afraid of whats around every turn or under every rock. I accept some level of personal responsibility. Emergencies do happen, but each and everyone of us needs to be as prepared for those emergencies as one can be. Learn CPR so you can keep your neighbor alive until you can get help. No how to take care of a wound, stop bleeding or immobilize a spinal injury if you come upon an incident, understand and know how to identify shock and how to help with it. Take the time to be a first responder and help out instead of waiting for the police or fire to get there. Learn what to do and what not to do, don't run in a burning building that is engulfed in flames, but understand there is a difference between engulfed and small that can be knocked down with the proper use of a hand held extinguisher, and know how to operate a extinguisher and how to put out a grease fire or where to point at the source of the flame. Quit expecting someone to always be there, they're not going to always be. This country wasn't built by a bunch of folks afraid of their shadows. And yes, safety is worth something, but so is personal responsibility, when will we realize we are at the point of unsustainable on city services and government in general.
RodH

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ME
I have mentioned many times that the "cry wolf" someone's going to die hype every time you mention cutting to the FD is propaganda. There are many options to cut costs in the FD, the department just doesn't want to hear them and they whine and "cry wolf".  Look at the staffing of Muscatine and Urbandale for example.
Having the firefighters pay part of their health insurance costs; Oh my, they may have to pay $70 a month for a family policy and a deductible of $1000, welcome to the real world!!

Many cities much larger than Clinton have hybrid (volunteer /paid, part-time/full) and are doing just fine. Outsourcing EMS could be a huge savings. 
As far as ISO rating that is garbage also, cutting a few men from the fire department is not going to force your insurance rates to sky-rocket nor is going part volunteer. Bettendorf has a volunteer/ paid force with a population of 34K and three stations and has an ISO 3, the same as Clinton.

John

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Reply with quote  #9 
How about all Fire, Police and Teaching personnel (teachers and administrators) be required to reside in the taxing districts that pay their salary?
Geezer

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Reply with quote  #10 
Quote:
Originally Posted by John
How about all Fire, Police and Teaching personnel (teachers and administrators) be required to reside in the taxing districts that pay their salary?


I have the answer to that one. All you need to do is run for State Representative. Your opponent at this time is Mary Wolfe. To run for that office and speak like you know what you are talking about, you will learn that state law does not allow you to restrict the teachers residence, and that an Iowa Supreme Court decision limits the right of local governments to define residence boundaries for essential employees only. You are only 30 years or more behind impacting those decisions.

Now that you know, just announce your campaign for election as State Representative so you can fix the state laws that are out of the hands of the city council and school board..

Just go back more than 30 years to fix the benefits package that you deplore. They were agreed on by the parties and designed to keep the publicly announced salary increase figure to an acceptable level, meaning to a level that got them re-elected. In many cases around the state those benefits packages were forced on the parties by neutral arbitrators. Who gave you those laws that allowed public employee collective bargaining anyway? Who elected the people that passed those laws?

While you are at it, you can fix the Iowa DNR. They recently signed a consent order with Burlington that requires them to seperate their storm annd sanitary sewers, causing a 25% increase in sewer rates this year and more to come each year after. I bet Burlington is wishing they would have followed Clinton's lead and begun this years ago, when it could have been done cheaper and in increments over 25 years. But No-o-o, they held the line and cut taxes, passing the buck to a future generation. ;-)

If you think costs are bad now, just wait until your kids and grandkids get the bill for the trillions of dollars in federal debt ran up since 2006. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, many of those responsible for electing the people who ran that bill up and passed it on will not be alive to see the effects. It will be brutal, and I fear lethal. It will also result in the end of freedom, and with no hope, but plenty of change.
John

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Reply with quote  #11 
So you present as the only choice is to capitulate, no further dissent. Hell Geezer, give all public employees the right to strike, it goes along with collective bargaining (of which I wholeheartedly support). But take away their safety net of mandatory arbitration. The reality Geezer is 30 years +/- is nothing more than a blink in the real scheme.

We're lead to believe that all fire, police and teachers are all essential. So for the short term let's say that we highly encourage them to live in the taxing district that pays their wages.
Geezer

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Reply with quote  #12 
Quote:
Originally Posted by John
So you present as the only choice is to capitulate, no further dissent. Hell Geezer, give all public employees the right to strike, it goes along with collective bargaining (of which I wholeheartedly support). But take away their safety net of mandatory arbitration. The reality Geezer is 30 years +/- is nothing more than a blink in the real scheme.

We're lead to believe that all fire, police and teachers are all essential. So for the short term let's say that we highly encourage them to live in the taxing district that pays their wages.


I did NOT say the only choice was too capitulate, so don't try speaking for me. I told you where the laws came from and how YOU can fix them.

Now I see you have changed your position already. At first you said "require" them to live in the taxing district. Now you have changed your position to "highly encourage". Take a stand and stick with it. If your stand requires you to do something to change it, then do something. But complaining about it and not getting involved to change it has not helped, so quit trying to make it sound like elected officials can do somethiing they can't legally do under current laws. Doing so just makes you look ignorant.
John

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Reply with quote  #13 
Definitely the Geezer I remember. I said "So for the short term". I did not change from what should be a requirement, just realize it's going to have to be a long term endeavor.

Have a good primary, though I believe you would cost the taxpayer a "boat" load of money, since I have yet to see you take a stance on fiscal responsibility. Seems like you never saw a current or future tax dollar (or other form or public generated revenue) you wouldn't spend somewhere. Your conflicted Geezer, you try to talk like a Republican, but you propose spending worse than the most liberal Democrat.
Geezer

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Posted by Geezer
"If you think costs are bad now, just wait until your kids and grandkids get the bill for the trillions of dollars in federal debt ran up since 2006. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, many of those responsible for electing the people who ran that bill up and passed it on will not be alive to see the effects. It will be brutal, and I fear lethal. It will also result in the end of freedom, and with no hope, but plenty of change."

Posted by John
"...talk like a Republican, but you propose spending worse than the most liberal Democrat."

When you can't argue the facts, attack the messenger. Enough said. Good day.
John

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Reply with quote  #15 
Bye
Tazmanic

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Reply with quote  #16 
I would dare to say that Burlington, for some reason I thought it was Ft. Madison, may come out in a final fiscal position that is much more favorable than ours here in Clinton. They most likely are not starting in the same near bankrupt position that we did.

It really does seem though, that every time that either the CFD or CPD sends out the cry for more $$$, the city suddenly begins to shit dollar bills. Their latest funding request was for a replacement ambulance. Yeah that one was snuck in there while everyone's attention was focused on the Adcraft k zoning issue. Now I have no idea how much an ambulance runs, $$wise, these days or if it comes fully equipped and stocked. Or....do we transfer the old equipment and supplies over to it. How much is an older one worth in trade or sale on the open market?

I agree about the miniscule insurance cost sharing that they'll accept. It still in no way compares to any other private sector or even other gov't branches insurance out of pocket costs. I don't know about anyone else's but our deductible increased by $2000 this year. It jumped from $5000 to $7000.

Geezer is right about one thing though. I had to take an ambulance ride approximately 1.3 miles from my house to the hospital. They did fudge the mileage by rounding it to 2 miles, as which Mr. McGovern is supposed to be checking on. They performed nothing on me at all, just a very expensive ride, to the tune of $500. Which we are in dispute over, hence the mileage confirmation. So they are bringing in revenue, however they fudge it still.
They bill per 10th of a mile, .07 is quite a difference.

We at one time did have a 10 mile residency requirement for all City employees but it's been expanded to 20 miles now.
I would also like to see some sort of hybrid make-up of the CFD. These costs for that department are just growing beyond our ability to support it. Just wait till that damned boat arrives!
RodH

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Reply with quote  #17 
Cedar Falls is an excellent example of a hybrid fire department. The city has 36,000 residents and serves the University of Northern Iowa. They have 35 paid firefighters and 15 part-time or on-call members.
But I am sure we are much safer in Clinton! All of our lives and property would be at risk if we reduced staffing by even one firefighter. 
John

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Reply with quote  #18 
So, did the contract go to arbitration?
Tazmanic

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Reply with quote  #19 
At April 8th's Council meeting they tabled any decision on the contract and forwarded to April 29th's meeting. I haven't even checked on anything about it. I'll keep an eye and ear out for news on it. I'd be real interested in seeing it and looking for any provisions regarding the fire boat.
Geezer

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Reply with quote  #20 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tazmanic
At April 8th's Council meeting they tabled any decision on the contract and forwarded to April 29th's meeting. I haven't even checked on anything about it. I'll keep an eye and ear out for news on it. I'd be real interested in seeing it and looking for any provisions regarding the fire boat.


Look closely for the fire boat costs. It will probably not show up in a training line item because the CFD only uses that when a person attends out of town training for something. All other "training costs" are what they always have done on duty on the regular shifts. So training "costs" for the boat would be zero?

Some will say you will find costs for firemen to become river pilots. Do your own research here -

http://wow.uscgaux.info/content.php?unit=054-09&category=captains-license-info

Passengers for hire - No (Does not apply)
Operator of Uninspected Passenger Vessels - No (Does not apply)
Master License - No (Does not apply)

Looks like whoever thought they needed a River Pilots license knows nothing of which they speak.

So look for purchase costs. Find the amount of any federal DHS grant and donations from local industry to cover the acquisition costs. Except those won't show in the budget because they do not involve local property tax dollars.

Do you really think, I mean really now, if there was one dime of costs (no make that one nickel of costs) associated with the fireboat in this next budget that the current gang you elected would let that pass? Really? Wow. You already have that little confidence in the people you elected.

Ready...Set...Go find your "facts". Or maybe find a new issue to whip.
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