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Council eyes water rate increase

New Carlisle water service customers could see a $1 rate increase to their bills beginning in March, with another increase next year.

If passed at council’s Feb. 4 meeting, the cost would increase to $6.78 per 1,000 gallons from March through February 2014 through and to $7.28 in March 2014, according to the ordinance.

The rate is currently $5.78, which took effect in November 2008, according to the city’s codified ordinances.

The proposed ordinance also does away with minimum fees, per the current code.

Currently, if a customer uses less than a 1,000 gallons of water, an administrative service fee of $5 is charged.

No one spoke for or against the proposed increase introduced at Tuesday’s council meeting, according to City Manager Kim Jones.

The next meeting begins at 6:30 p.m., followed by the annual Town Hall Meeting, at Smith Park Shelter House.

In other business, council agreed to two additional employee benefits that, if taken, would cost $7 more per month per employee, Jones said.

The city’s agreement with Compass Professional Health Services offers employees information regarding cost efficiencies to decrease their costs. That ordinance passed unanimously.

In a second agreement, the city partnered with Teledoc, which offers health information and potential telephone diagnoses with a doctor for common illnesses. That passed 4-2 with Councilman Ethan Reynolds and Councilwoman Jane Manemann voting no.

Manemann and Reynolds both said they voted no because they feel it’s a dangerous policy.

Manemann said her background in the medical field has her worried the subscriber or someone posing as the subscriber might use it to get unneeded prescriptions like painkillers.

For example, someone with the right information could call as though they were the subscriber and order a prescription, she said.

City management however said the types of prescriptions one could get over the phone would be limited.

“I’ve seen people fake things over and over to get medications,” she said. “I think it’s dangerous even though the (city law director) says there’s no problem. I could see a lawsuit with it.”

“I think it’s bad if you can get a prescription through a doc you don’t even see,” Reynolds said. He fears a child could call using their parent’s code to get a prescription they don’t need.

“I personally don’t think you should allow a situation where it can be abused, not necessarily by employees but perhaps by someone who has their code,” he said.

“We tried to offer other services that weren’t real expensive,” Jones said. “We hope this will make them better consumers, stay well and reduce premiums (for the city’s insurance group).”

Employees began paying more for their health insurance this year.

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