LOWELL | The Town Council is joining forces with other communities to reduce the cost of health care for its employees and the town.
At the suggestion of Clerk-Treasurer Judy Walters, the council agreed to join the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns Medicaltrust for the required minimum period of 3-year minimum.
Walters said the town faced a 19 percent increase in premium costs from its current carrier, United Healthcare, when she contacted IACT. Employees would have to pay a greater share, too.
While there is no guarantee in joining the pool of communities that work together for lower costs, Walters said the IACT program has proven itself with increases at 8 percent rather than 19 percent. Monticello, similar in size to Lowell, had only a 4 percent increase recently.
The town currently pays for employees' insurance premiums and 80 percent of premiums for their dependents. There are 57 town employees.
In another matter, the council gave Walters the approval to take steps toward financing the purchase of police portable and mobile radios for the E-911 consolidation.
Councilman Craig Earley, D-1st, said the town is also responsible for 32 percent of the cost for the Lowell Volunteer Fire Department new radios.
Lowell Police Chief Erik Matson said he was told it didn't matter what vendor was used; they all must charge the same. However, he said the exact total was unclear.
"We can't purchase them if we don't have the money," Walters said. She explained she intends to use a lease/purchase agreement, but any financial institution will require an exact figure.
Matson urged the matter be settled before June 1 because the radio warranties will then not go into force until the E-911 is up and running.
For that reason, the councilmen agreed Walters has their approval to move on the lease/purchase as soon as an exact figure is available from Lake County officials.