Forty-nine nonunion employees and their spouses could get a significant savings on their health insurance costs if Gahanna adopts a new wellness program and those employees meet yearly health goals.

Forty-nine nonunion employees and their spouses could get a significant savings on their health insurance costs if Gahanna adopts a new wellness program and those employees meet yearly health goals.

City council members heard a proposal Monday night in which employees and their spouses could participate voluntarily in health-risk assessments that include blood screenings to check such indicators as blood pressure and cholesterol levels. If the city workers and their spouses meet goals established as a result of the assessments, they would pay only 6 percent of the annual health-insurance premium.

Currently, employees pay 8 percent of that cost. Under the proposed plan, employees and their spouses would be treated as a team and both would have to participate to be eligible for the savings. Those who don't participate or who don't meet yearly goals would pay 15 percent of the health-insurance premium. Not all nonunion employees use the current plan, but officials hope all of them would be interested in the revamped plan.

"It allows for a more diversified plan for our employees," human resources director Kristen Treadway told council's finance committee. "We felt 6 percent and 15 percent are good incentives to hopefully push individuals to the program."

Council would have to approve any financial changes to the current health-insurance plan. Screenings of employees and their spouses could begin in November if the plan is adopted.

Another change involves a $600 yearly bonus that employees currently receive if they complete several educational sessions each year and meet some other requirements. Under the new proposal, employees would get $400 individual accounts each year that they could use to help pay for such programs as yoga or aerobics classes or smoking-cessation programs, Treadway said.

Benefits of changing the program could keep healthy people healthier and assist moderate- and high-risk people to become healthier, she said. The Mount Carmel Corporate Health and Wellness program could assist Gahanna by conducting educational classes, Treadway said. The cost of using that program would be $7,320 a year.

In another matter, finance director Jerry Isler presented the first formal financial report on the Creekside development, which opened earlier this year.

Isler said revenue for the city for 2008 from Creekside is projected to be about $214,775, including $136,210 from the tax-increment-financing (TIF) agreement and $48,565 from parking revenue.

Creekside, a mixed-use development 10 years in the making along Big Walnut Creek, features 100,000 square feet of retail and office space, 71 condominiums and 35,000 square feet of public parking.

City officials plan to present quarterly financial reports on Creekside to council, along with a more extensive update once a year.

"Given the newness of the project and the state of the economy, (we'll) need reports like this for the next three or four years before seeing any (revenue) trends at all," Councilman John McAlister said.

Development director Sadicka White told council members the city wants to sell about a half-acre in what is commonly called the "industrial zone" on the city's south side.

Emerald Light Investments, which is affiliated with the J.E. Grote Co. and Donatos Pizza, wants to buy the vacant land on Landrum Court, just south of Claycraft Road, for an appraised price of $80,000. Donatos, which Grote owns, has its headquarters nearby. City officials do not know what the land would be used for if it is sold to Emerald Light, but White said it possibly could be used as a parking lot.

Council members, during a special session after the finance committee meeting, held a first reading of an ordinance to accept $115,000 in federal grant money to help purchase an 800-MHz radio system. That money would be combined with another $336,000 in grant funds next year, along with $500,000 in matching money from Gahanna, to pay for the system.

The 800-MHz system would be an improvement over the current 460-MHz system and would allow Gahanna police -- the main beneficiary of a new system -- to more easily communicate with other law-enforcement agencies, including Columbus police and the Franklin County Sheriff's Office.

A second reading on the ordinance and passage as emergency legislation is expected at Monday's (Nov. 3) regular council meeting. The system could be in place by March.