The City Council on Tuesday approved executing an agreement with Gold’s Gym and Cove Fitness to provide reduced-rate gym memberships for city employees and their families.
The memberships, which will be paid through payroll deductions, are being offered “in a further effort to promote healthy living and help the city keep health care premiums as low as possible,” said Jeff Davis, human resources director for the city, who led the discussion.
“What we have here before you is an extension of our wellness program,” Davis told the council. “We’ve been very proactive in trying to improve wellness of the city, which has an impact on the premiums that we pay for our health services.”
The city instituted wellness measures in 2012 by implementing the tobacco/non-tobacco health insurance premiums and in 2013 added a wellness incentive. During 2014, the same wellness incentive was offered; however, the requirements to earn the incentive were increased.
During fiscal year 2016, the city implemented changes to encourage city employee participation with the additional ways to earn incentives, according to the meeting agenda.
In a further effort to promote healthy living, city staff researched local gym capabilities to provide gym memberships payable through employee payroll deductions at reduced rates.
“Our premiums have gone down consecutively over the last two years that we’ve reviewed our health services, so we went out this year to see if we could try to get some gym memberships and get some discounted premiums when we sign up for the city employees where they do it through payroll deduction, which makes it easier for them to sign up and continue memberships,” Davis said.
A request for proposals was hand-delivered to every gym in Cove, and published in the newspapers and on the city website. In evaluating proposals, considerations including price, experience of the vendor and staff, and overall quality and value to the city were taken into account for award recommendations, the agenda stated.
The top two responders were Gold’s Gym, with a score of 85 points, and Cove Fitness, with a score total of 72 points.
“The ... thing to make clear is that the city is not paying these membership fees for the employees; the employees are paying them from their payroll deduction,” City Manager Andrea Gardner said.
In other business, the council approved the establishment of a sign ordinance work group, and appointed Councilman Matthew Russell to serve on the work group.
“The group will do a complete review of the city’s sign ordinances, and then it will include the council liaison, the Planning and Zoning members, and then some community members. We have been advertising for the last three or four months for this committee,” said Kevin Keller, the city’s public information officer.
When asked what types of signs or areas the group and its ordinances apply to, Keller said, “It’s not a specific area or type of signs, (it’s) just due diligence just to look at the ordinances and then see if there’s any recommended changes. It will be an ad hoc committee, which means that it is created for this purpose, and once the purpose is done, it will be dissolved.”
Also at the meeting, the council unanimously approved revising the city park hours in order to allow greater opportunities for fitness activities.
The council voted to allow the parks to open at 5 a.m. rather than at 6 a.m. to allow residents more time to run or walk on the park paths in the morning.