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January 3, 2017 • Headline News
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Osgood thanks council member for service

Arlene Knudson

DeDee Holliday was recognized and thanked for her many years of service at the December meeting of the Osgood Town Council. President Norman Kappes, presented Holliday with a plaque acknowledging her dedication to the town of Osgood and she received a standing ovation from those in attendance. John Ertel, town attorney, reviewed the legal actions that are to be taken on the trailer at Fairview Village and the North Elm street properties.

Pictured from left, Holly Rose, council member, DeDee Holliday, council member and Norman Kappes, president, and Tammy Wilhoit, clerk-treasurer, presented Holliday with a plaque for her years of service as a member of the Osgood Town Council.

There was discussion among the Council members and Ertel along with town employees about the zoning code violations with the Carl Mullikin property. Ertel reported he had sent a letter to Jerry Burton in regards to Burton’s request from last month about water meter accuracy.

Toby Church with Commonwealth Engineers reported on the INDOT 50/50 Grant. This has been delayed until at least April 1, 2017. Church, Steve Gloyd from the Reynolds Foundation, and Steve Wilhoit, street and gas department supervisor, met and decided to proceed with the South Buckeye Street sidewalk, lighting, gutter and storm drain project. This project should be completed during the summer of 2017. Church provided Council with paperwork to be signed adopting the American with Disabilities Act Guidelines (ADA) for future grant requests. Church also reported on the meeting he attended concerning locking in the interest rate of 1.875% for the upcoming water project. After January 1, 2017 the interest rate will be 2.75%. Church commended Tammy Wilhoit on completing all the paperwork within six months. Council approved Resolution 2016-6 and Resolution 2016-7 adopting the ADA guidelines for accessible design and pedestrian facilities in the public right of way as well as designating Steve Wilhoit as the coordinator for the town.

In other business, council, along with the Ripley County Economic Development Corporation, approved a two-year farm lease at the Industrial Park with the Hansen Family LLC for 2017 and 2018 for $2207.65 per year. Tammy Wilhoit was appointed to the Southeastern Indiana Regional Planning Commission Board of Directors.

Personnel items included the transfer of Nick Buchanan to the water department retroactive to December 1; the hiring of Tina Wallace for the Deputy Clerk/Treasurer Utilities Clerk retroactive to December 5 was approved. Chris French’s request to carry over three PTO and one vacation day was denied. Eric Roush, town marshal introduced Will Wallace, the new hire for the police department.

Tony Wood, sewer department, reported on the purchase of an AED for the town hall. Funding included a $500 grant from the Ripley County Community Foundation and a $500 donation from Commonwealth Engineers. The total cost is $2,300 which includes Cintas purchasing a cabinet, mounting the unit, and monthly maintenance. Council approved this purchase.

The second reading of ordinance 2016-7 in regards to the water rates and utility bonds was heard. Christiana DeWitt representing Umbaugh and Associates was available for questions or comments. Gerry Harmeyer, Kendall Hurt and Sherri Summers were in attendance representing Napoleon Water. No questions or comments were made. The council set January 4 at 6 p.m. for the organizational meeting.

Prepare for Medicare Part A and B Price Changes in 2017

by Nathaniel Sillin

If you’re eligible for Medicare, or will be in the coming year, there are a few changes you should know about for 2017. An increase in the Department of Labor’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) means there’ll be an increase in Social Security benefits and Medicare Part B premiums. For most recipients the increases almost offset each other, but those who aren’t covered by the “hold harmless” provision (about 30 percent of recipients) face a larger Part B premium increase. These changes, along with several others, will go into effect soon and you should consider how they could affect your budget.

A slight increase in your Social Security benefits

Since 1975, Social Security benefits have an automatic cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). The adjustment depends on the CPI and helps keep your benefits in line with the rising cost of goods. There wasn’t a COLA for 2016 benefits, but there is a 0.3 percent adjustment for next year. Meaning, you’ll get an additional $3 per $1,000 you receive in benefits. The estimated average monthly benefit for all retired workers is expected to increase $5, from $1,355 to $1,360.

Medicare Part B premiums will also rise.

The COLA also affects Medicare Part B premiums, the part of Medicare that covers some types of procedures and medical equipment. However, for about 70 percent of Medicare recipients, the Social Security Act’s “hold harmless” provision prohibits an increase to Medicare B premiums of more than the previous year’s COLA adjustment. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, held harmless recipients will pay $109 per month, an increase of $4.10.

If you aren’t held harmless, Part B premiums could increase by about 10 percent. The remaining 30 percent of Social Security beneficiaries will have their Part B premium increase by about 10 percent.

You could fall into the non-held-harmless group if you:
• Are a new enrollee
• Enrolled in Medicare but don’t receive Social Security benefits
• Get billed directly for Medicare Part B
• Receive Medicare and Medicaid benefits and your state Medicaid programs pay your Part B premium
• Are a high-income earner subject to an income-adjusted premium

For the non-held-harmless group, the premium depends on the recipient’s (or couple’s when filing a joint tax return) adjusted gross income (AGI).
The lowest monthly premium, for individuals who have an AGI of $85,000 or less ($170,000 for couples), will increase from $121.80 to $134 a month per person. On the high end, for recipients with an AGI over $214,000 ($428,000 for couples), the monthly premium will increase from $389.80 to $428.60 per person.

Medicare Part A and B deductibles will also increase
Most people don’t have to pay Medicare Part A premiums, but you could still have to pay a deductible or coinsurance for some Part A benefits. The deductible for inpatient hospital coverage, which helps cover the first 60 days of care, will increase from $1,288 to $1,316 per benefit period. Daily coinsurance for the 61st through 90th day of treatment will increase from $322 to $329. Daily coinsurance for day 91 on will rise from $644 to $658. Each day past day 90 counts towards your lifetime reserve. You have a maximum of 60 lifetime reserve days; after which you could be responsible for all costs. Skilled nursing facility care is completely covered for your first 20 days. Daily coinsurance for day 21 to 100 of skilled nursing care will increase to $164.50. You could be responsible for all costs beyond day 100. The Part B annual deductible will also increase, from $166 to $183. Generally, after you’ve met your deductible, you’ll pay 20 percent of Medicare-approved costs for services covered by Part B.

Bottom line
Social Security benefits, Medicare Part B premiums and Part A and B deductibles and coinsurance will increase in 2017. Whether you’re held harmless or not, take steps to understand which changes could affect you and alter your budget accordingly.

Nathaniel Sillin directs Visa’s financial education programs. To follow Practical Money Skills on Twitter:


Local Bulletin Board

Polar Plunge seeks sponsors

Special Olympics Indiana’s largest signature fundraising event, the Polar Plunge, has raised more than $3 million dollars since its inception in 2000.
The 18 Polar Plunges around the state feature 2,900 plungers braving the icy cold waters in Indiana, as they fundraiser to support athletes with intellectual disabilities. Over 5,000 spectators and volunteers watch as both individuals and teams in costumes jump in freezing water to participate in this incredible team-building, bucket-list challenge. Sponsorship opportunities for the Polar Plunge are available for companies that want to partner with Special Olympics Indiana. Contact Greg Townsend at 812-584-6861 or by email at, or visit to download a sponsorship form.

Jan. 7: First responder breakfast with legislator
Police, Fire, and EMS members please join State Representative Randy Frye for a breakfast to discuss public safety issues for the upcoming legislative session. The breakfast, sponsored by the Aurora Volunteer Fire Department, will be on Saturday, Jan. 7 beginning at 8 a.m.

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