This Benefits Ordinance Is Too Costly - And Response (3)

Monday, November 4, 2013

City Council members,  

In July 2010 every city employee with less than 25 years of continued employment, lost all privileges to the new wellness center and the benefits of the city insurance plan at age 65.  

The reason:   The “benefits” are just too costly to the city.  

Now all by some miraculous means the mayor and some City Council members believe that the city can just absorb the oblivious additional cost to cover a group of people that are significant others,  in relationships with city employees.

The proposed city ordinance (Domestic Partners Healthcare, Medical Benefits) states the additional cost to implement this benefit "based on initial research" will be "less than 1 percent of the total city budget." One percent seems like a small number, so let's do the math as Mrs. Scott suggested. The annual budget for the city of Chattanooga is over $200 million.  If this ordinance passes, the city will need to find an additional $2 million for the budget year 2015 alone to fund this benefit.  This amount will surely increase each year as health care cost also increases.  

This decision is being made during the same time period that a committee is deciding on ways to cut the retirement pensions of  the very people that provide a safe place for us all to live, work and play, fire and police officers. 

The reason again:  the “pension” is just too costly to the city.

If the city cannot pay for benefits and pensions for its employees, how can you even consider to pay for benefits for  partners in a relationship with a city employee?

Vote "NO" for this ordinance, it is the only fair and right thing to do.

Freeman Cooper

Retired City Employee 

* * * 

I'd like to respond to Freeman Cooper's Opinion letter in today's Chattanoogan. I don't know where you got  your numbers on benefits for domestic partners for Chattanooga city employees, (perhaps from the ridiculous statements made by former Council Member Debra Scott) but Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero instated comparable benefits for Knoxville city employees this year. 

 As most know, the city of Knoxville is much larger and has a significantly larger operational budget that the city of Chattanooga, and according to the Knoxville News Sentinel, the extended benefits cost $60,000 of the $13 million Knoxville city benefits package. I see no reason Chattanooga's price tag for the same benefits should be much more and I'll remind Mr. Freeman, that less than 1 percent may mean, far less the rounded up numbers that he suggests. 

I'd also like to, respectfully, remind Mr. Cooper, that many of the people that would benefit from these benefits, are the family and loved ones of the same firemen, policemen (not to mention road repair crews, garbage collectors, city clerical workers, and many others) that he lovingly refers to in his letter. 

This, is the fair and right thing to do. 

David Tester

* * *

Freeman Cooper's logic is as faulty as that of John Pierce. They both commented that they had read (I think incorrectly) that the cost of the ordinance would be less than one percent of Chattanooga's total budget. Nonetheless, they both used one percent in their respective calculations, thereby achieving the doomsday predictions which they wanted. 

Less than means less than, not exactly, John, we know that much on Signal Mountain. And the recent estimate by the city is not more than $168,000. No drop in the bucket, admittedly, but about $2,000,000 less than your figure, John.

Don Strickland

Signal Mountain

* * *

The travesty about this debate, is that we seem to think its a money issue. Well, it shouldn't be. Love the sinner, Jesus says. Well I do, I'm a sinner too. 

     God's Holy and perfect Word is very clear. A man laying with another man and a woman laying with another woman is unnatural and evil in His sight. These laws are written along with having sex with animals & family members........ It's wrong.

     Like Judas, wanting to make a buck. It was reported yesterday that allowing this insurance for Chattanooga would aid in drawing businesses and residents here. You can't serve both God and money (Scripture).

    Just because downtown smells like the sewer doesn't mean we have to live like we're actually in one. 

    I don't want to be like the rest of the world. Instead we are called to come out and be separate. Serve the only true God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob.  

Michael Burns

Joe Smith Will Be Our Watchdog

I am writing as a registered Democratic voter asking that all voters, regardless of party affiliation, vote for Independent Candidate Joe Smith for District 3 Hamilton County commissioner.  The Hamilton County Commission is the local legislative branch of our county government and their duties include making policies, ordinances, appropriating funds and many other things ... (click for more)

Medical Cannabis Can Literally Save Lives

Narcotic drug overdoses have increased in our area over 40 percent in the past year, and it's time to do something about this public health crisis. Tennessee Bureau of Investigations Director Mark Gwyn said, "We had more overdose deaths in the state last year than we had traffic fatalities."  Medical cannabis is an alternative to the use of potentially dangerous narcotics ... (click for more)

Howard Simmons, 47, Shot And Killed In St. Elmo Monday Morning; Police Interview Person Of Interest

Howard Simmons, 47, was shot and killed in St. Elmo Monday morning. Police said they had interviewed a person of interest in the slaying. Chattanooga Police at 8:30 a.m. responded to a person shot at the 5000 block of Florida Ave. Upon police arrival the victim, Simmons, had already succumbed to his injuries. Ms. Simmons suffered at least one gunshot wound. At this time ... (click for more)

Erlanger To Open Cancer Center On Gunbarrel Road At East Campus

Work is set to begin soon on construction of a new Cancer Center by Erlanger Health System at its Gunbarrel Road East Campus. Erlanger is joining with a development firm, Chatt East 3 LLC of Alabama, on the four-story project located just south of Women's East Hospital on a wooded five-acre tract. Erlanger will be leasing the bottom three floors at a rate of $16.05 per square ... (click for more)

After Productive Open Week, Vols Eye Gamecocks

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. --  Tennessee football coach Butch Jones, Josh Malone, Colton Jumper, Ethan Wolf and Emmanuel Moseley spoke to reporters at a weekly press conference. No. 18 Tennessee (5-2, 2-2 SEC) is coming off of its bye week and next face South Carolina (3-4, 1-4 SEC) on Saturday at Williams-Brice Stadium with a 7:15 p.m. ET broadcast on ESPN2. ... (click for more)

Notre Dame Draws Top Ranked Greeneville, CCS Opens With Madison Magnet

For the second year in a row, Notre Dame drew the top-ranked Greeneville in the opening round of the TSSAA Class A/AA state tournament.  Notre Dame is scheduled to play Greeneville on Wednesday at 8 p m. (EST)  in Murfreesboro. CCS will play Madison Magnet in the first round on field #1 at 7:30 p.m. (EST) . CCS and Greeneville met in the state championship game ... (click for more)