Insurance Issue Returns To Cotuit Fire District
By: James Kinsella
In recent years, the annual meeting of the Cotuit Fire District has guaranteed at least one topic of discussion: health insurance coverage for elected district officials.
This year’s meeting, set to start at 7:30 PM Wednesday at Freedom Hall at 976 Main Street in Cotuit, is no exception.
At Wednesday’s district meeting, voters are slated to consider whether they would support a proposal before the state Legislature which would bar elected district officials from eligibility in the district’s medical, dental and life insurance plan.
The prohibition would take effect when and if the legislation takes effect.Under the proposed legislation, previously elected officials who continue to be elected could continue to participate in the plan, provided that they pay 100 percent of the premium.
At present, the district covers 75 percent of the premium’s cost to those officials who choose the district’s insurance coverage.
At last year’s annual meeting, voters defeated a non-binding expression of support for a proposal eliminating the health insurance benefit for elected officials, which had been submitted as a home rule petition to the state Legislature.
The home rule petition has yet to gain passage.A sponsor of the proposal, district resident Kenneth Molloy, said at present some elected officials take the insurance coverage and others do not.
He has said the district would create a more equitable situation by increasing the stipend paid to all elected officials, and eliminating the paid insurance benefit.
Other articles scheduled to come before Wednesday’s meeting include a proposed fire department budget of $1,626,777.
The budget includes $1,334,708 for salaries and labor at the fire department.
Another article proposes spending $637,692 on water department expenses, including labor, operations, maintenance and service connections.
Additional proposals set to come before voters at the annual meeting include:
• Raising and appropriating $375,100 for group insurance.
• Raising and appropriating $214,391 for the Barnstable County retirement assessment.
• Raising and appropriating $174,800 for notes and interest.
• Raising and appropriating $30,000 for the street lights of the district.
• Raising and appropriating $15,410 to support the operation of the Cotuit Library.
• Raising and appropriating up to $15,000 to fund the annual costs of renting a district office.
• Raising and appropriating $50,000 for the reserve fund.
• Raising and appropriating $25,000 for the stabilization fund.
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