City seeks free money for healthcare, proposed winery rules - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

7/18/10

City seeks free money for healthcare, proposed winery rules, 72 hour rule

By James Clark | email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Lubbock city council takes up several issues this week, including healthcare costs, wine tasting regulations, and a proposed 72 hour rule for new contracts. 

Federal Help With Healthcare

Lubbock looks for its share of $5 Billion in nationwide federal aid to reduce health insurance costs. The money comes from the recent  Health Care Reform Act and the money is to help with early retirees who are older than 55 and older but not yet old enough for Medicare.  If accepted into the federal program, the city estimates it can get nearly $700,000 of help this year, and more than $1 million in 2011 and 2012 respectively.  At the same time the city is out for bids on a new health insurance administrator.  KCBD NewsChannel 11 has made an open records request to see how the current administrator Blue Cross Blue Shield is doing.
 
Wine Tasting Ordinances & Zones

Right now Lubbock zoning ordinances treat wineries and wine tasting facilities no differently than taverns.  The zoning commission thinks that should change.  Wine is big business in Lubbock & the South Plains and public records say, "Recently, the Planning Department has received several inquiries about winery tasting facilities in various parts of the City."  City council will take up the new recommendations this week, which would allow wineries as either light manufacturing or commercial, depending on what all the business does.  

Proposed 72 Hour Rule For City Council

Should the city council take business contracts more seriously?  Councilman Todd Klein proposes new rules to the city procedures requiring that he and his colleagues get at least 72 hours to read over any new contract before it can come up for a vote.  There is an exception for emergencies.  

Klein says, "I don't want the city in a position where it's got a contract that it hasn't fully reviewed for due diligence, which can ultimately lead to situation where the city is in line for an unpleasant surprise."

He also says, "Beyond that it's simply codifying best practices for all matters before the council including policy, procurements, contracts and other important decisions that impact the citizenry."
 
Klein's proposal goes before the city council for a vote on Thursday.

Copyright 2010 KCBD. All rights reserved.

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