Springfield Township officials will be surveying employees about their interest in joining a fitness program offered by the YMCA and the Jewish Community Center.
Township trustees will use the results to determine if taxpayers should pay for individual and family YMCA memberships for employees in an attempt to reduce sick time and related health-care costs. Based on current membership costs, the township could be paying up to $62,000 a year to cover its 110 eligible employees.
Trustees chairman Andy Glenn said that if the board agrees to fund the program, he wants to be sure employees use it.
A plan could be structured so the township would reimburse employees for membership dues depending on the amount of use by each employee.
A scale could be developed that would call for a one-half reimbursement for a certain amount of use up to full reimbursement for a higher level of use.
Township Administrator Bob Anderson said he anticipates employees will respond to the survey with a high level of interest, but it will take some time to determine how many carry through with establishing an exercise regimen.
Employees will be asked if they are more interested in an individual membership or a family membership.
Even with the proposal in the talking stages, he said he has already heard comments from employees asking why the township might only pay for half a membership, rather than a full membership.
The YMCA/JCC, Mr. Anderson said, offers a variety of activities with a membership and reduced prices on some other services, such as swimming lessons.
Mr. Anderson said the township has about 110 employees who would be eligible for a membership program. The program being considered has a monthly membership fee of $33 for individuals and $47.50 for families.
While the program is seen as a benefit for employees, "we have to be sure the taxpayers are getting their money's worth.''
Although it may be hard to measure specific results in the short term, Mr. Anderson said studies generally show that people who exercise regularly and watch their diet tend to be ill less often, and when they are, tend to recover more quickly.
He said that if the trustees go ahead with the plan, the idea behind it won't be only to provide an additional benefit, but one that in the long run will create a savings for the township.