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Village trustees abolish health insurance benefits in LP

The Lake Placid Village Board of Trustees voted Tuesday evening to end health insurance benefits that village officials have been entitled to for decades.

Village Mayor Craig Randall and Trustees Zay Curtis and Art Devlin voted to approve the resolution, which takes effect Aug. 1, saying it would relieve the village of an entitlement program that is projected to rise steeply in cost over the coming years.

Trustee Jason Leon abstained from voting, saying he thought it might discourage younger candidates from running for office. Trustee Peter Holderied was absent, but has expressed support for the measure in the past.

The decision, which also eliminates a buyout incentive of about $4,000, does not affect current board members or the mayor since none are accepting pay or receiving health insurance benefits.

The benefits have cost the village anywhere from $6,000 to $20,000 for past board members, depending on whether they took benefits for just themselves or their whole family.

Curtis, who entered the motion, said it would help ensure that future candidates would run for office because they want to serve the village and not because they need health insurance.

Randall added that the decision removes an inequitable form of compensation, since it benefited officials who received the health insurance much more than those who did not.

Plus, he said it saves the village money.

"This is one more way we can relieve some of the burden on the taxpayer," Randall said.

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