East Ridge is shifting its health insurance coverage for workers to BlueCross BlueShield, City Manager Tim Gobble said.
He said the current provider, United Healthcare, started out talks by announcing a 22 percent increase. He said the BlueCross rate will represent an 8.9 percent rise in costs, but was the best deal the city found.
Mr. Gobble said the plan includes two options - including one that includes Erlanger and Parkridge hospitals, but not Memorial. When that plan is chosen, there is a savings for the employee and the city.
The city manager said he would like to see the city keep some stability on the health coverage, saying it is hard on employees to deal with the changes. Councilman Darwin Branum also cautioned against switching too often. He said in earlier years East Ridge found itself with no one who would provide coverage after making multiple changes.
The switch is effective July 1.
In another matter, Mr. Gobble said action may be taken against the owners of the long-vacant Thrippence Apartments on Fountain Avenue.
He said Northwest Georgia Bank took over the property and has taken no steps to improve it.
City Attorney John Anderson said 41 notices of violations have been prepared. He said the case will likely be the first for the city's new administrative hearing officer.
Mr. Gobble urged council members to work toward a decision on the use for the former McBrien Elementary School, which is next to the city's campus. He said one idea is to move the police department out of a building it shares with the fire department. Another plan is to use some of the space for meeting rooms.
He said the longer the city waits the more the building is going to deteriorate. A recent survey found the former school to be in good shape.
At City Hall, Mr. Gobble it was found recently that there is no insulation. He said it may cost about $15,000 to get insulation added to the walls and ceilings.
Stump Martin, the city's recreation director, said he would like to see a large baseball field constructed at Camp Jordan. He said it could be the home of the East Ridge High School baseball team and also be a draw for other baseball teams - especially if a second field is eventually added.
He said high-quality lights are already in place.
Mr. Gobble said changing from having private groups run the city athletic program is paying off. He said for the past four months the income has been $124,000. He said the main expense has been paying umpires and referees, and that cost was $26,556.
The commission honored the East Ridge High "Hot Rodders of Tomorrow." The team is headed to the national competition in Las Vegas after winning the division in Nashville with a new assembly record of 23:50. The team is rated second going into the finals June 30-July 2.