ATLANTIC CITY — City Council approved a resolution to move health coverage for employees out of the State Health Benefits Program to a partially self-insured program with Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey.
The new coverage starts June 1, according to the resolution.
Mayor Marty Small Sr. thanked council for supporting his administration’s resolution, which was a way to avoid the state program’s 24% annual increase in costs for about half of the year.
“We successfully negotiated at least this year’s five to six months of savings at $1.5 million,” Small said. “It could approach over $6 million. We will look at it again next year.”
Small said employees will still have the same company, plan, coverage and network.
“The only difference is you will get a new insurance card,” Small said.
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Ordinance to regulate business hours
Council this month introduced an ordinance to limit business hours in sections of the city that generate a lot of police calls.
It would require businesses to close from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. daily, and will have a public hearing and final vote soon.
The ordinance grew out of discussions at the city’s Clean and Safe meetings, held every other Friday at 8:30 a.m. by council Vice President Kaleem Shabazz in City Council chambers.
Lighting ordinance passes
Ordinances to require 24-hour lighting at businesses in industrial and commercial areas passed this month, with no members of the public commenting.
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Businesses in light industrial and commercial districts would have to be lit at all times when it is dark outside, whether the business is open or not, under the ordinances.
Automatic parking payments tabled
An ordinance up for final passage, to require automated parking payments for outdoor events on city-owned land, such as Bader Field, was tabled last week after members of the administration said it created problems for those without credit cards.
“We have no aversion to credit card payments, but there has to be a cash component as well. Not everyone in Atlantic City has a credit card,” Business Administrator Anthony Swan said.
Shabazz said the ordinance, sponsored by Council members Jesse Kurtz and LaToya Dunston, was intended to create accountability.
“An all-cash system has a lack of accountability,” Shabazz said.
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“This was also about safety so people don’t have to handle cash,” Kurtz said.
City Finance Director Toro Aboderin said the current cash-only system uses a two-part parking ticket, and she has personally been counting stubs and making sure the cash turned in covers tickets sold.
“That ticket processing system is something new,” said Dunston. “You were not doing that two years ago.”
Aboderin said she did it for all of 2022 without finding any discrepancies. She also said the administration was seeking to add a credit card option for payment.
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