West Cocalico discusses health care, fireworks

By on May 11, 2011

West Cocalico Township is looking for ways to stem rising costs to its employee health care coverage. In an effort to save money, the board of supervisors advised manager Carolyn Friesema to shop around for cheaper alternatives during their meeting last Thursday. Instead of facing a 6.5 percent hike by staying with HealthAssurance, the township will see what other network s can offer. Friesema said the increase would cost taxpayers about $3,000. The township offers its seven full-time employees coverage, which last year totaled $47,616. If West Cocalico decides to stay with its current plan under HealthAssurance the price will rise to $50,712. Friesema said she will review providers and report back if the increase is in line with what they could expect from other companies as well. With the way the economy is these days, it seems like we have to keep shopping around every year, said supervisor James Stoner, adding that he has experience switching providers as a business owner. However, Stoner said, the township is facing a relatively small increase. Since the change is pretty minimal, I m leaning toward keeping what we have, chairman Jacque Smith said. It s nice to know that you have stability sometimes in your coverage, but I know also know we hold the pocketbook for the people.

In other action, the board discussed the possibility of issuing a permit for a resident to purchase and set off fireworks. Friesema said the rockets are illegal under Pennsylvania law, but with the supervisor s permission Randy Hibshman could get the green light to go ahead with his plans to have a display in early July. We have no idea if this guy is trained or not, supervisor Terry Scheetz said. If we approve something like this, you never know what could happen and what we would be liable for. My first thought is to say no. "

Stoner added that he worries the close proximity of Hibshman’s property, located at 770 W. Main St. in Reinholds, in relation to his neighbors. If that s where he’s going to be setting them off from, I don’t know if it s safe, he said. Friesema said she’s not sure if or when Hibshman will officially apply for the permit at this point. He would still need to pay a $500 bond and have a state fire marshall give the OK.

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