For the first time in recorded history, the Northfield School Board cancelled their meeting Monday due to weather! It will be held next Monday, the 29th. Superintendent Dr. Matt Hillmann said, at the meeting, they’ll receive a couple of reports. Director of Human Resources will give an update on the District’s self-funded health and dental insurance programs. For years they were in a cooperative with other Districts to buy their insurance and have their bills paid, but then realized that they were actually subsidizing other districts on a year to year basis. In 2005, they changed to self-funded insurance for dental. Hillmann said that worked out “really really well”. However, they were still in the health
cooperative, “seeing premiums increases from year to year as high as 18 1/2% and so in 2011, with a lot of planning and a lot of advice, we started a self-funded health insurance program”. Since then, they’ve built up a $5 million reserve and have not had to increase their premiums. Hillmann added, “in fact, because we can only use that health insurance reserve for it, we are actually able to do a modest premium decrease this January”. Hillmann said this has been a real plus for the District employees. We’ll hear more from him next week.
Tons of snow trucked out to City site
City of Northfield snow plows were out all night cleaning up city parking lots and downtown areas. A 4 foot pile of snow down the middle of Division Street was cleared this morning by a trucking company, contracted by the City, who loaded it out to the City’s street shop. Councilor Colby said they expected about 125 to 150 truckloads of snow to be taken out. If we get more excess snow, it can also be taken out to the compost site. In terms of cost to the City, Public Works Director Dave Bennett said that, “I think overall budgetwise we’re going to be sitting fine”. Since we haven’t had major snow events in several years, there hasn’t been significant overtime paid. Administrator Ben Martig thanked the plow drivers, emergency workers, police and the community for their patience. One of the concerns Bennet had was power outages with the heavy wet snow. Fortunately that didn’t happen! Expect the snow emergency to last through tomorrow. The point is to make sure the roads are cleared curb to curb. Another thing to remember, there’s no on-street overnight parking from 2am to 6am between November 15th and March 15th.
Fire Relief banquet highlights individuals/families
This past Saturday, the Northfield Fire Relief Association held it’s annual Recognition Banquet, at the Grand Event Center. Fire Chief Gerry Franek said it’s an opportunity for them to thank, “our individuals for the year, our families and friends and different organizations that assist us”. There were Longevity awards. Four firefighters received recognition for 15 years, 3 had 20 years. They also recognized Jerry Anderson for his time on the Rural Fire Board. The 2017 Firefighter of the Year was Steve Noreen. Former Rescue Captain, Aramis Wells, was given a Recognition Award for serving as Captain for the past 3 ½ years. Franek added, “it’s a team effort and can’t say enough things about our families that support us because without the families support, we couldn’t it”. Franek’s full interview is on kymnradio.net where he shares some of those moments of missing family time.