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City lowers insurance costs

By By JOHN DILMORE JR. Publisher
The Brewton City Council voted last night to rescind a decision made two weeks ago regarding health insurance coverage for municipal employees, and adopted a new measure, which won't cost city workers quite as much.
The council's vote two weeks ago passed along the cost of rising Blue Cross/Blue Shield premiums to city employees, increasing to $404.82 per month the amount workers had to pay for family coverage.
But last night's vote brought that amount down to $280 per month. The council also voted to provide single coverage free of charge.
Both the family and single coverages include vision insurance, a new feature of the city's plan.
Councilman Dennis Dunaway said the city was able to bring the costs lower by negotiating new, higher copay and deductible amounts with BCBS, and by finding additional city funds with which to offset costs.
Also last night, the council voted to grant Citation Corporation a tax abatement on improvements the company is making to its current facility. The abatements include a one-time $78,096 break on sales tax, and a 10-year break on property taxes which amounts to $23,750.
Jim Byrd, chair of the Escambia County Industrial Development Authority, said that the $4.75 million worth of improvements were being undertaken to make the Citation facility more modern and competitive -- thereby safeguarding the 360 jobs the company provides.
In addition, the improvements will lead to the creation of 30 new jobs over the next three years.
In other action last night, the council: