To the Residents of North Canton:
The petition that is now being circulated is called an Initiative. It is a right and a procedure by which citizens can propose a law by petition and ensure its submission to the electorate.
The purpose of the Initiative is to reduce health care cost for the city’s self-funded health insurance plan by ending city-paid health insurance for family members of part-time elected officials and limiting city-paid health insurance benefits for individual part-time elected officials.
The City of North Canton has four Ward Councilmembers, three at-Large Councilmembers and a Mayor who all serve as part-time elected officials. These eight individuals attend four meetings per month that last approximately two hours each. In addition to a salary, North Canton’s part-time elected officials receive city-paid health insurance for themselves and their families. The only other community in all of Stark County which provides health care for part-time elected officials is the City of Canton.
The positions of City Councilmember and the position of the Mayor are held by individuals who are typically employed full-time elsewhere. By virtue of that full-time employment these individuals, in most cases, have health insurance coverage with their full-time employer that is totally separate from their part-time employment with the City of North Canton.
Under the city-paid medical benefits plan offered to part-time elected officials, it is not uncommon for part-time elected officials to enjoy double and triple health care coverage, e.g., health care benefits from their full-time employer, maybe health care benefits from the spouse of the part-time elected official, and health care benefits from the City of North Canton.
This duplication of health care benefits comes at a great cost to North Canton taxpayers.
With the loss of thousands of jobs and substantial income tax revenue following the closure of the City’s largest employer (The Hoover Company in 2008), the City of North Canton has struggled financially and must find substantial savings and reduce the cost of city government.
The intention of the proposed legislation is to provide these savings. Assuming that North Canton City Council members and the Mayor will likely have health insurance coverage from their full-time employers, the savings in health insurance premiums alone would save taxpayers more than $111,000 per year.
Further savings to City taxpayers would result as some individuals now covered under the City’s self-insured health insurance plan would no longer be filing claims for health benefits.
The proposed legislation is intended to eliminate duplication of health care benefits provided to part-time elected officials while at the same time continuing health care benefits coverage to part-time elected officials who have no health care coverage, and doing all of these things at reasonable cost to North Canton taxpayers.
Elected officials who do not have health care benefits available to them from their full-time employer will not be denied city-paid health care benefits.
The Initiative Petition being circulated is an opportunity for the voters of North Canton to consider in the privacy of the voting booth on November 6, 2012, whether they wish to pass legislation to limit the city-paid health insurance that is presently being provided to North Canton part-time elected officials.
To have the opportunity to consider the proposed legislation this fall in the voting booth, North Canton Voters must sign the petition in sufficient numbers to put this issue on the ballot.
Signing the petition merely allows the issue to be put on the ballot. It is not a vote for or against the proposed legislation nor is it a pledge to vote for or against the legislation.
You, the Voter, will decide that in the voting booth in the general election on November 6, 2012. I ask that you give yourself that opportunity and sign the petition to put the proposed ordinance up for a vote.
If you have not had an opportunity to sign the petition, please call (330) 268-5730