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County Council OKs domestic partner coverage

9/19/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

DOWNTOWN AKRON — Summit County Council paved the way for domestic partners to receive health care benefits during its Sept. 16 meeting.

Council adopted an ordinance that would amend certain sections of the county’s codified ordinances to provide the benefits, as well as more clearly indicate they are available for spouses and dependents.

The vote was 8-2, with members Gloria Rodgers (R-District 3) and Bill Roemer (R-at large) against the legislation. Ilene Shapiro (D-at large) was absent because she was traveling with an Akron delegation to Omaha.

There was no discussion before the vote, but the item was talked about during the previous week’s Personnel and Intergovernmental Committee meeting, in which county officials said the main reason for the change is that benefits for domestic partners are becoming more commonly available for employees in both the public and private sectors.

A consultant estimated the county could see anywhere from $40,000 to $80,000 in additional costs to add domestic partners to the insurance rolls. The county’s health care costs are at about $31.5 million, county officials said.

For the benefits to be extended, couples will be required to sign a legally binding affidavit, according to county officials.

In other business, Council adopted on first reading a resolution certifying delinquent sewer service charges for the Department of Environmental Services (DOES).

DOES Director Mike Weant said nearly $2.5 million in charges are currently delinquent, but “we are down from last year by about $106,000.”

He added that the charges, once certified, are moved onto residents’ property taxes, which are billed in January and July.

“We’re collecting 98 percent of what we certify,” he said.

Council also adopted:

  • a resolution authorizing the advertisement of bids for construction of the Pump Station No. 48 project in New Franklin. The 37-year old system will be completely replaced, Weant told Council last week, and is expected to cost $410,000;
  • a resolution accepting and approving a resubdivision in the Maple Beach Allotment in Coventry in which a property owner wants to combine three lots into one;
  • a motion appointing Patrick Darrow, Richard Dobbins, Laraine Duncan, Daniel Flowers, Helen Humphrys, Kyle Kutuchief, Angelina Milo, Carmen Roberto and Cazzell Smith to the current Charter Review Commission; and
  • a motion to appoint Jennifer Novakovic to the unclassified clerk of council position due to the departure of current clerk Faylin Mutch.

Council will meet for committee meetings Sept. 23 at 4:30 p.m. in Council Chambers on the seventh floor of the Ohio Building, 175 S. Main St.

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