MFPD board picks architectural firm to design district’s new No. 4 firehouse

MFPD will contribute $1,000 to an employee’s HSA in ’10

By EVAN YOUNG

Archimages of Kirkwood will provide architectural and engineering services to design the Mehlville Fire Protection District’s newest firehouse.

The MFPD Board of Directors voted 2-0 Dec. 10 to select Archimages to design the district’s new No. 4 firehouse for a total cost of roughly $105,000. Board Chairman Aaron Hilmer was absent from last week’s regular board meeting.

The firm submitted an architectural and engineering proposal totaling $96,750 and a civil engineering proposal — including surveying services and consolidation plat preparation — totaling $8,500. However, if Archimages doesn’t utilize the entire fee, the fire district will be reimbursed the difference, according to the proposals.

Board members voted in August to spend $800,000 to purchase a one-acre parcel on Tesson Ferry Road for the site of the new, 8,570 square foot No. 4 firehouse.

The parcel at 13117 and 13119 Tesson Ferry Road is across the street from the district’s existing No. 4 firehouse at 13106 Tesson Ferry Road. The current No. 4 firehouse, built in 1964, is deteriorating and needs to be replaced, according to Hilmer.

Archimages provided design services for the new No. 2 firehouse at 5434 Telegraph Road, which opened earlier this year.

Since Hilmer and Board Treasurer Bonnie Stegman took office in April 2005, two new firehouses have been constructed — the No. 2 house on Telegraph and the No. 1 house at 3241 Lemay Ferry Road.

“This will be the third firehouse we’ve built since Mrs. Stegman and myself were elected,” Hilmer told the Call. “It’s built without a tax increase. It’s built for cash.

“There is no indebtedness in the future for residents, and I hope by the end of my six-year term that we’ll have four such firehouses either built or in progress.”

In other business last week, the Board of Directors approved employee health benefits totaling roughly $1 million for 2010.

The board voted 2-0 to approve 2010 health, dental and vision insurance premiums totaling $1,035,312. That figure is up $89,041 from the estimated 2009 total of $946,271.

UnitedHealthcare will provide all health, dental and vision insurance coverage to the fire district next year, a move that will save the district $15,000 in 2010, according to officials with National City Insurance Group, the district’s insurance broker. The district used UnitedHealthcare for health insurance in 2009 but provided dental and vision coverage through Assurant and Vision Service Plan, respectively.

For health insurance in 2010, the district will eliminate its base plan and offer only a high-deductible health plan/health savings account, or HDHP/HSA, to employees for health insurance.

Under the strictly HDHP/HSA program in 2010, employees will see zero copays, 100 percent of their premium paid for by the district and a $1,000 district contribution to their HSA toward their deductible, which will remain at $3,000 for an individual and $6,000 for a family next year.

The district contributed $2,000 to every employee’s HSA in 2009 and initially was expected to contribute $700 next year to help keep insurance costs budget neutral.

However, Stegman requested last week that the employee HSA contribution be set at $1,000 for 2010. With 125 employees enrolled, the district will contribute a total of $125,000 to employee HSAs next year.

The district is projected to pay a health insurance premium totaling $800,953 in 2010, a decrease of $57,293 from the estimated 2009 total of $858,246.

For dental insurance in 2010, the district will pay an estimated $93,808 in premiums, contributing 90 percent of the premium on employee coverage and 50 percent on dependent coverage. The district is expected to pay a total estimated premium of $73,393 to Assurant for dental insurance in 2009.

For vision insurance in 2010, the district will pay an estimated $15,551 in premiums, contributing 100 percent of the premium on employee and dependent coverage. The district is expected to pay a total estimated premium of $14,632 to Vision Service Plan for vision insurance in 2009.