Chapel Hill aldermen seek insurance cuts

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Chapel Hill Board of Mayor and Aldermen had to reschedule their main agenda item at their Monday meeting, but still examined potential money savings for the town as well as upcoming projects.

The board had planned to honor Houston “Bucko” Bryant for his service to the town. Bryant served as an alderman for Chapel Hill for 19 years before passing away on Jan. 11.

In allow Bryant’s family to be present, the ceremony was pushed back to their March board meeting.

Bryant was re-elected to his seat in November, and, by the town’s charter, the current aldermen will vote on a replacement for the remainder of his term.

Aldermen heard a presentation for a potential cost-saving approach to town employee health care plans in the future.

The Family Health Group concept has just been established in the past year.

Currently with one physician working out of Spring Hill, the business model is membership based. Patients, or in this case, the town, would pay a monthly fee for primary care.

Without dealing with insurance payments at all, costs for the care are lower than through a traditional insurance model.

By replacing primary care visits from their current insurance provider and only covering catastrophic medical events through insurance, the town government could save on benefits costs for employees.

“I think there’s a real opportunity for some savings,” Town Administrator Mark Graves said.

Alderman also authorized Mayor Danny Bingham to negotiate with the Marshall County Board of Public Utilities, in order to share their water distribution operators license.

Chapel Hill currently does not have anyone in the water department holding the necessary license and the hope is to contract with Public Utilities to share someone with the certification as opposed to hiring a new full-time town employee.

Graves also announced a volunteer opportunity at Depot Park on Feb. 25. The Tennessee Environmental Council and Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation have donated 400 trees for the town to plant in the park.

Volunteers are needed beginning at 9:30 a.m. to help get the trees planted.

The town has also scheduled the first meeting of the steering committee, overseeing a grant the town received from the Tennessee Department of Transportation for transportation, land use, and overall growth planning for Chapel Hill’s future.

Public meetings and public input on land use and development will be scheduled in the future.