LOWELLVILLE Council settles battle over health care plan

Council would also like to attract development to the west end of the village.
LOWELLVILLE -- Administrator Phil Alfano reluctantly settled his dispute with the village government Monday night.
After Monday night's village council meeting, he said he would agree to accept $2,000 in compensation for removing his wife, a former part-time village employee, from his health insurance policy in 2003.
"I just want to put it behind me," Alfano said after the meeting. "I'll accept that amount."
Alfano had previously said that he should receive about $3,000 based on a policy adopted by the village of offering up to $125 a month to employees who dropped their spouse from their insurance plan. The policy was not formalized until earlier this year, but council said they would approve what one member called a "gentleman's agreement" to pay the village administrator.
Form technicalities
Minutes after the conclusion of the council meeting, Alfano signed a release form that accompanied a resolution passed by the council Monday night. However, even that didn't come without a final bit of controversy.
The council had approved a second reading of that resolution June 8 but determined afterward that a procedural error made that passage invalid.
On the re-vote, the six-member council voted 4-1 for the resolution offering Alfano a settlement. Council member Alan Russo opposed and council member James Alfano, Phil Alfano's son, abstained.
However, Alfano said he objected to language in the resolution that would have prevented him from ever restoring his wife, Lynn, to his health insurance coverage. He engaged in a sharply worded exchange with Mayor James Iudiciani, who has opposed the payment.
"I tried to do the community a favor, and I've been nothing but ridiculed about it," Alfano said.
Iudiciani said, "I think this is ludicrous. It [the agreement] is what it is. If you don't like it, don't sign it, and you can negotiate with council."
After the meeting, Alfano said that he never had any intention of adding his wife back to his health insurance coverage.
"But I am concerned about what might happen to employees in future generations that this might happen to," he said. "Circumstances can change."
Water service expansion
In other business, the council discussed possibilities for extending water service in the west end of the village to encourage development. Representatives of Aqua Ohio, a Struthers company, which provides water and sewer services to Lowellville and other area municipalities, attended the meeting.
"There are people who want to build here," Russo said. "They love the school district and the community. But we're trapped as far as room to grow except in the west end."
Aqua Ohio vice president Albert Sauline said the company would work up a proposal for the village and suggest grant possibilities.
Iudiciani also reported to the board that a paving project, partially funded by a $23,000 community development block grant, is set to begin, pending approval by county commissioners this week. The entire length of Water Street will be paved, along with First Street between Wood and Liberty.
The council also:
UApproved a donation of $400 to the Lowellville Historical Society.
UApproved the hiring of Dallas R. Hayes III of New Springfield as a part-time police officer. He has previous law enforcement experience with the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

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