STRASBURG – Town employees might soon have access to long-term care insurance through the Virginia Retirement System.
At a Monday night work session, Town Council discussed the proposed plan, considering the pros and cons that recipients could expect if the plan is approved.
The voluntary insurance plan would be employee-paid, so employers wouldn’t have to pay to offer it, according to work session documentation.
Employees would either pay insurance provider Genworth directly or have the cost deducted from their checking account. The plan would also be available to employees’ spouses and other dependents.
But council members expressed concerns about the lack of information they were seeing in prepared documents, such as why the VRS chose to work with Genworth, and why the program only appears to insure older employees.
“Insurance is personal,” said Vice Mayor Scott Terndrup. “It’s not a one-size fits all.”
For the town’s part, he said, “Just because it’s free doesn’t mean it’s a good thing.”
He also argued that the plan is expensive and participants would be looking at six-figure costs.
“Life insurance is a huge risk,” he said. Not having all the details “makes me extremely nervous.”
He suggested council research the matter further before making a decision.
”As long as you understand what you’re getting into before you get into it,” he said.
He explained that companies partnering with towns and counties might have their own reasons for seeking larger membership pools.
“They can walk into any local government, and they have a captive audience.”
Mayor Rich Orndorff suggested council forward further discussion to its next work session. A decision isn’t required until June.
Also at the session, the council discussed plans to recognize individuals who have added to beautification and restoration efforts around town.
A donation of $50,000 willed to the Master Gardeners Association has enabled the town to make improvements, Orndorff explained.
He said that he, Town Manager Wyatt Pearson and former chair of Hometown Strasburg Carla Wallen would like to recognize the late Larry Haun’s contribution through a lasting recognition in Strasburg Square.
“Dr. Haun would not have wanted a great huge marble monument or something in his name,” Orndorff said.
“He should be recognized in the flowers,” he added, recalling the words of Councilwoman Jocelyn Vena in an earlier discussion on the matter. “That was his passion, that was his reason for leaving the town, in his will, a large sum of money for beautification,” Orndorff added.
“We’re thinking something really simple,” he said.
“If there’s no strong objection, then I’d like for staff to work on a design and come up with something…” he said. “Thank you, I appreciate everyone’s indulgence in recognizing his contribution to the community.”
Council also discussed plans to honor current and past council members’ community restoration efforts with a potential plaque or historic marker commemorating the town pavilion, the Brill building, and the former taxi stand.
Suggesting a new town event, Terndrup proposed the idea of a community volunteer fair at which residents could learn about local nonprofits or faith organizations and, if they wish, sign up to volunteer.
It would be something to offer a “hometown kind of spirit,” he said.
Council will hold a public hearing April 29 to discuss the proposed fiscal year 2019-20 budget. Direct any concerns or questions on the budget to Councilwoman Taralyn Nicholson. The next Town Council meeting will be at 7 p.m. May 14.