WORCESTER – This week’s City Council Agenda is a continuation of last week’s meeting as there will be discussions on items that were brought up under suspension at the Sept. 26 meeting.
The discussion will be centered on the $10 million in excess funds in the city’s Health Insurance Trust Funds. City Auditor Robert V. Stearns will present his reports regarding three questions that were proposed by some councilors.
Councilor-at-Large Michael Gaffney feels that he brought this to light months ago when he predicted there would be a $7.5 million in excess funds, but was told it would be irresponsible to set the tax rates on those numbers as they were not concrete. Now with the dollar amount being even more than he predicted, he is looking for answers.
“More of your money going to waste that you could have had in your pocket. Watching businesses leave the city, watching people barely getting by,” Gaffney said on his weekly installment of his YouTube show Cheers Worcester. “It’s an economic crime is basically what it is. Let’s be honest.”
Also, include in the report was the request from Councilor-at-Large Morris Bergman who requested information on the legal process for reducing the City’s Health Insurance Trust account so that the money can go back to the taxpayers.
Stearns’ report said that it could not supply a complete answer to the question because of the quick turnaround, but did offer some answers from a letter from the Department of Revenue and an opinion from City Solicitor David Moore. The opinion states that the appropriation lies with the City Manager
“In sum, the annual appropriation 1 for employee health insurance payments must be sufficient to pay healthcare providers for services rendered to city employees in accordance with the rates and plan design eligibility requirements established by the city manager,” Moore’s opinion reads. “Therefore, in practical terms under the structure related by law for funding this obligation, the city council cannot reduce the amounts necessary to fund employee health insurance claims.”
Bring a snack as this topic will take up a majority of the council meeting
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As ThisWeekinWorcester.com reported last week, there was an issue with an item that came out of the Economic Development Committee meeting that a local advocacy group claims violated the Commonwealth’s “Open Meeting Law”.
The item in question [Item 8A of the Sept. 26 meeting] was held under privilege by District 2 Councilor Candy Mero-Carlson. Councilor-at-Large Konstantina M. Lukes asked that the item be sent back to committee, which Mero-Carlson decline to do. Lukes ended the question by stating she will motion to “send it back to committee” next week
Tuesday’s meeting will start at 7:00 PM and will be held in the Esther Howland Chamber in Worcester’s City Hall.