UPLAND >> City leaders have agreed to terminate future health benefits for elected officials, a move that can save this financially strapped city $103,000 annually.
The measure was approved at Monday night’s meeting but will not take effect for the council until after the November elections, and in 2016 for the City Treasurer. It passed with four votes, and Mayor Ray Musser abstaining.
“This is part of the progress of implementing the task force moves. We asked them to make the recommendation, they’ve made the recommendations,” said Councilman Brendan Brandt.
The move follows a January recommendation by the 10-member Upland Fiscal Task Force to get the city’s finances in order.
The task force provided the council with this recommendation as one of the top 22 measures, out of 47, in hopes of generating a savings of up to $7 million for the general fund.
Musser had initially asked that the council delay the vote for two weeks so that he could have more time to review the document so he could understand the changes. The motion was not backed by anyone else on the council. He said he has never taken health care through the city but used other benefits such as dental and vision.
“It’s not a matter of dollars, it’s a matter of understanding what is happening,” he said.
Councilman Glenn Bozar said he had an issue with the possibility of leaving someone without healthcare.
“I don’t have a problem of setting an example for future generations,” he said. “God forbid a politician has a heart attack because of the stressful stuff they do.”
The measure would stop the city from paying those benefits but would not prevent members of the council from being eligible for that coverage. They would just have to pay the premiums themselves, said city attorney Kimberly Hall Barlow.
Barlow also clarified the reason for the change being implemented over several years. With the city treasurer, because it is a single office, the shift would have to happen the next time there is an election for that position.
The council also addressed another of the top 22 provisions recommended by the task force during Monday night’s meeting.
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