To save money, the City of Manchester is at least entertaining the idea of making some cuts into employee benefits. With budget time fast approaching, Alderman Cheryl Swan, who chairs the Manchester Finance Committee, last Monday proposed the idea to the finance committee of making cuts into employee dental and life insurance policies to save the city money.

“We aren’t reducing pay,” Swan told the committee. She later told the Times, “City hall needs a new roof terribly, terribly bad. I think they put so many Band-Aids on the central heat and air system that no more will fit. We did apply for a grant to help pay for part of that but we haven’t heard back. But I feel like the city hasn’t made cuts through this financial slump.” Currently employees pay a little more than 10 percent of their health insurance, which hasn’t increased in three years. Health benefits would not change under Swan’s proposal, but dental and life insurance could. Currently, the city picks up 100 percent of the tab for dental insurance – which will be $7,745 after open enrollment April 1. Swan wants to change that to where employees pay 100 percent of the dental insurance. That would save the city approximately $92,339 this year and would cost employees who choose to enroll approximately $54 a month. Only 50 percent of employees use the dental now but the city pays for 100 percent, according to Swan. It’s unclear if that rate would jump if only 50 percent voluntarily enrolled. The city also currently pays 100 percent for employees to have a $30,000 life-insurance policy, $5,000 for employee spouses and $2,000 for each child. Swan proposes keeping employees on life insurance, but having individual employees pay for additional policies. Swan’s proposals were not received well by other aldermen on the finance committee. “Employees haven’t had a pay raise in three years; I can’t see us going up,” said Donny Parsley… Continue reading the complete story in this week’s (Feb. 20) print edition of the Manchester Times.

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