The Town Board agreed to save Richfield $3,000 at last Monday’s
monthly board meeting and more savings could be on the way. The board
members agreed to switch from a two-tier to a three-tier system on
their health insurance coverage for town employees, which is renewable
Under the current two-tier plan, employees have the option of single
coverage or family coverage. The new system will allow for those two
options plus a third tier for employee and spouse. Richfield Supervisor
Nick Palevsky said there are currently two town employees who would be
interested in the new two-person coverage.
Mickey Shipway and Don Brown, consultants from National Planning
Group Inc., were at the board meeting to explain health savings
accounts to the board. Shipway referred to health savings accounts as
“the future of health insurance.”
Shipway and Brown explained that health insurance premiums have
increased 15-17 percent over the past few years. In a health savings
account, an employee can contribute pretax money to an account. An
employer can also contribute to that account and any money not used at
the end of the year can roll over to the next year.
The Town Board agreed that Shipway and Brown should meet with the
town’s employees directly and explain the health savings accounts.
Highway Superintendent Mike Kress said the employees were notified of
last Monday’s meeting with the consultants, but said it wasn’t until
the day of the meeting and some had other obligations.
Palevsky said a health savings account could save the town a
significant amount of money. “If everyone covered chose to switch (to a
health savings account), we could be looking at a savings of $10,000,”
he said. Palevsky also said he wasn’t sure how realistic it would be
for everyone to choose a health savings account. “When you’re looking
at increases every year, as long as we’re looking at something that
promises some relief, we’re partly ahead of the game.”
• In other matters, the Town Board and Planning Board are pursuing
an issue concerning some residents on the lake. A couple who owns lake
front property was at the meeting and explained to the board that their
neighbor built an eight-foot high fence that blocks a significant
portion of their view of the lake. The town was previously aware of
this, but the residents also complained about a generator on the man’s
The residents described it as a “huge commercial generator that is
very loud when it kicks on.” They also said their neighbor put the
generator as far away from his house as possible, right up against
their property line. They estimated they are eight to 10 feet away from
Palevsky was unsure what could be done about the matter, but agreed
it needed to be further pursued. “A lot of these things are in a gray
area,” Palevsky said. “For example, we don’t have a height ordinance.”
Palevsky said the man had approached him about resolving the matter.
Palevsky advised him to attend the next Planning Board meeting, and
told the couple they might also want to attend. Palevsky and Planning
Board Chairman Don Urtz then agreed it would be best to have the town’s
attorney present at that meeting.
• The garbage issue on Linden Avenue is almost resolved. Three
properties on Linden Avenue had piles of garbage that were reportedly
infested with rats. One of the residents, Donald Jackson, appeared in
court showing receipts for dumpsters he used to dispose of the trash.
Palevsky said he and Councilwoman Barbara Peterson went to the
residence and verified Jackson had indeed disposed of all the garbage.
Palevsky also said Otsego County Codes Enforcement Officer Dan
Wilbur called him and said the county’s attorney is pursuing the case
against Denise Stockigt, who apparently still has not cleaned up her
property. “It looks like we can see the light at the end of the
tunnel,” Palevsky said.
• Legislation for the Canadarago Lake District has failed to pass
the state assembly. The senate passed the legislation, but, according
to Palevsky, the assembly said it is not necessary.
• The Town Board appointed Rich Lorenzo to a five-year term on the Land Use Board of Appeals.