Friday, April 18, 2014
Insurance has always been one of the costliest items in the City of Georgetown’s annual budget and as the 2014-15 budget is being put together it seems the upcoming year will be no exception.
At a budget meeting last week, City Adminsitrator Chris Carter advised council the cost of providing health insurance to employees is increasing by 28-percent.
But it is not only the city’s employees who receive the benefit. Members of city council who choose to be on the policy are also covered.
Responding to an information request submitted by the Georgetown Times, Carter said all council members with the exception of Mayor Jack Scoville and Councilman Ed Kimbrough are covered by the city’s insurance.
The cost of covering the premiums for the five council members is $2,982 per month. That is up from the $2,695 it cost the city each month two years ago.
Part time workers in the city do not receive insurance benefits but council members do because they are classified as “permanent, part-time, elected officials,” according to Lisa Davis, the city’s interim human resources manager.
The following is a breakdown of the coverage received by each council member:
Rudolph Bradley receives single coverage at a cost of $341.22 per month.
Clarence Smalls receives single coverage at a cost of $341.22 per month.
Carol Jayroe receives employee plus spouse coverage at a cost of $710.70 per month.
Peggy Wayne receives employee plus spouse coverage at a cost of $710.70 per month.
Brendon Barber receives family coverage at a cost of $878.68 per month.
Bradley and Smalls are required to pay an additional $49.05 each month for their policy while Jayroe and Wayne pay an additional $154.51. Barber pays an additional $169.22, according to Davis.
The cost the employees and council pay out of pocket has remained the same for several years.
On top of the monthly premium cost, deductibles are an additional expense.
Davis said for those with single coverage, the deductible is $2,000. The city pays the first $1,500. For employee and spouse policies, the deductible is $3,000 and the city pays the first $1,000. For full family coverage, the deductible is $4,500 and the city pays the first $2,500.
This year, health care premiums cost the city $127,220. The average deductible payment per month fiscal year-to-date is $20,102.41, Davis states.
Last week, Carter told council one way to balance the 2014-15 budget which includes the 28-percent insurance premium hike is to increase the amount employees contribute for their policies. That idea was not supported by a majority of council.
One council member, Rudolph Bradley, said he was concerned about the employees that earn less than others. He said he wants to make sure they “don’t lose any of their income due to an adjustment in their health insurance cost.”
Kimbrough said insurance for employees is a benefit they “should be honored” to fund.
Carter said he is currently exploring other ways to fund the insurance premium hike and will present suggestions to council at an upcoming meeting.
Council members, along with insurance coverage, are also paid for their service.
Currently, the mayor receives $7,500 annually while council members receive $4,800. The stipends will increase by 10 percent in Nov. 2015.