PHOTOS BY VERA OLINSKI
From left, Council President Peter Opilla and Councilman David Astor discuss borough health insurance.
By Vera Olinski
OGDENSBURG — Ogdensburg Council officials discussed on March 26 insurance options for borough employees. Council President Peter Opilla said they have received quotes for health insurance through the state insurance fund and current insurance agent. He said, he hopes to condense the hard numbers into an Excel Spreadsheet to discuss further at the next meeting. The police department, he added, have to be involved in order to work with the existing contract - trying to save money and provide better coverage. Councilman David Astor verified changes to insurance coverage, under Chapter 78, need to be equal or better than existing coverage. Opilla agreed and commented, the borough needs to provide notification of any possible changes. Borough Attorney Richard Brigliadoro said a key point is after the council knows their direction, before committing, they need to notify and show the employees. That way, he continued, the employees can verify the insurance changes are substantially similar to what they already are receiving. Opilla said, Gallagher Insurance explained for example, the borough is not taking advantage of any specially negotiated rate when being reimbursed for dental coverage. Employees, Opilla continued, are paying off-the-street rates for the service provided, when possibly they could get a better rate, with more and better treatment. There are many variables to discuss, he concluded, before making a decision. Jersey Central Power & Light delivered some LED lights, Opilla said, which should be installed first on Brooks Flat Road within the next couple of weeks. After the borough receives residents' reactions, he said, they plan to move forward with Plant St. and Passaic Avenue. Opilla said Mayor Rachel Slater reached out to surrounding towns regarding the amount of outstanding money collected through the Collection Management Service for Municipal Collections. In addition, Opilla said, the service notifies of address changes and defendants being deceased. Currently, he continued, $17,000 is outstanding in Ogdensburg for outstanding warrants, fines, and fees. Officials agreed with Astor's recommendation that the Collection Management Service for Municipal Collections present to the council regarding their service at one of the next meetings: April 9 or April 23. Opilla and Astor also discussed pending meetings with DPW Supervisor Chris Ross to schedule repair dates for the Beardslee Hill Loop and Predmore Road possibilities. Opilla also said, they are working on filling the opening in the Land Use Board Appointment. Astor said the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) had a meeting, where they discussed many different options. In addition, he thinks, the OEM Representative is looking for grants, in order to upgrade the school with power and water as part of emergency preparedness. Opilla said, they filled out a renewal for their 2018 migratory bird permit — to be authorized by the state. Councilman Michael Nardini asked about the timing regarding snow plowing roads, on behalf of residents' work constraints. Councilman Robert Gunderman said, the last couple of storms have been a state of emergency, so residents should not have been out on the roads. Astor continued, it is a complicated process based on state of emergency, how much snow is coming or has fallen, and what type of snow — every storm is different.