HAVRE, Mont. (NMB) – The Hill County Fee convened on Thursday morning for his or her weekly enterprise assembly and voted 2-1 to have the County soak up the 6.5 p.c premium value improve of medical health insurance from the Montana Affiliation of Counties (MACo) for the subsequent fiscal 12 months, which begins July 1st.

Commissioners Mark Peterson and Jake Strissel voted in favor, whereas Chair Diane McLean supplied the dissenting vote.

The County contribution per worker will improve from $1,325 a month to $1,411. Clerk and Recorder Sue Armstrong says the rise totals $89,784, and may be funded largely by the permissive levy. Based mostly on final 12 months’s taxable worth, taxpayers will see a rise of about $2.85 subsequent 12 months for a house valued at $100,000.*

The movement that was accepted basically mirrored the County Insurance coverage Committee’s Suggestions suggestions.

This contains permitting “county staff to make the most of the remaining hill county insurance coverage contribution monies from medical premiums for,” imaginative and prescient, dental, and HSA (just for sure staff).

Peterson advised seeing if they’ll slender insurance coverage plan choices sooner or later, and Insurance coverage Committee member Kim Berg stated it will assist if they may see and assessment particular declare data.

“If there is not a lot utilization, why do we’ve the plan? So we could also be reviewing them and should or could not make adjustments,” stated Peterson.

Peterson urged County staff to talk with MACo representatives once they go to later this spring to make sure they select the plan that most closely fits them.

This comes after the Fee tabled the problem at their enterprise assembly final week following a heated dialogue.

Round 30 county staff attended the standing-room solely assembly and needed to wait till the top of the assembly to see the agenda merchandise mentioned. Final week, the insurance coverage situation was the primary merchandise mentioned regardless of it being on the tail finish of the agenda, with the Fee saying on the time that they wished to handle essentially the most pertinent situation first.

In reality, County Planner Amy Ferguson stated she instructed an individual searching for a subdivision approval to not are available in till effectively after the assembly began, as she believed insurance coverage could be the primary subject.

*The precise quantity taxpayers shall be confronted with shall be primarily based on subsequent years taxable worth, so the determine could change a bit

Well being Insurance coverage Prices

Through the assembly, Commissioner Mark Peterson acknowledged that the county simply accepted a declare from MACo for about $142,300 to cowl medical health insurance for the county for one month.

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“Hill County pays extra to worker and their household insurance coverage than any county utilizing the MACo healthcare system. We signed a declare right now for $142,336.05. That is one month of worker insurance coverage.”

“However that is not correct, Mark. Trigger you’ve got acquired…” Armstrong interjected earlier than being interrupted.

“Let’s let Mr. Peterson end,” exclaimed McLean. “You probably have one thing so as to add, increase your hand and you’ll be acknowledged.”

“The declare was signed right now,” Peterson continued. “We’ve got quite a lot of, not simply the Hill County, we’ve (Unified Disposal Board) that additionally makes use of it, the Park makes use of it. So it is only a greenback quantity that the county pays for medical health insurance. If we improve the $1,325 to the $1,411, that shall be $16,932 a 12 months to each worker that we pay, and that equates to $8.14 an hour. These are simply statements that I am making in order that it is clear what I really feel I’m aspiring to do.”

A number of staff acknowledged that that determine offered was deceptive, because it contains different prices, corresponding to worker contributions to insurance coverage.

“So that you’re saying we pay essentially the most in the direction of well being premiums. The place is our pay schedule in comparison with different counties? The place is our wages?” remarked one worker.

Peterson stated that as of some years in the past, while you mix wages and insurance coverage, Hill County was within the higher half of counties within the state.

When given time to develop on her interjection, Armstrong stated the next

That ($142,336.05) is a premium for everybody in Hill County. So that features UDB, Cemetery, any grants. In order that’s not all county cash. It’s a must to take out different cash.

A determine exhibiting the quantity of County funds which can be used month-to-month for medical health insurance was not offered on the assembly.

dissenting vote

McLean provided a number of the reason why she wasn’t for the movement, with out explicitly saying it was why she voted towards it.

One cause was she stated the taxpayers weren’t having their voices heard. She complained that the assembly time, which was set by the Fee, was “problematic” as a result of many individuals work on Thursday mornings.

“A portion of our staff are right here, and a portion of our staff aren’t right here. And possibly if it have been held at a time that was not throughout enterprise hours, extra of these individuals may weigh in, in addition to the individuals on the market within the public which can be going to be choosing up this additional value if this movement passes. Your taxpayer, what you are promoting individual, tons and plenty of individuals are not in a position to have a say or categorical an curiosity in it. And possibly it wasn’t a very good timing on our half. We would want to check out that.”

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McLean stated she would have most well-liked a compromise, and contemplated the opportunity of providing staff a set quantity for insurance coverage and having them store round, though she stated it will not be authorized.

“Is it a risk? I have no idea.”

Another excuse given by McLean was that absorbing prices of elevated medical health insurance doesn’t deal with the basis of the problem many County staff have expressed for some time, which is inadequate wages.

“Commissioner Peterson requested you final time that you just have been right here, if we must always go to the voters and ask that they might approve a levee to extend county wages. As a result of we appear to be coping with one thing that’s actually not the basis explanation for the angst that everybody feels. We aren’t actually coping with the wage situation right here. All we’re doing is pushing the one one factor that we are able to push. And it appears to me that this 12 months’s insurance coverage fee is all derived from final 12 months’s insurance coverage expertise. And that features the claims course of for our county, that features the medical prices usually, that features all of these issues that the actuaries take a look at once they say ‘that is how a lot that insurance coverage prices this 12 months.’ And it appears to be like to me like, as we take a look at subsequent 12 months…we cannot see till subsequent 12 months what occurred with this 12 months. And I ponder what’s going to that improve appear to be subsequent 12 months? As an alternative of 6.5 p.c, may or not it’s mirroring the 8 p.c or the ten p.c that we’re seeing in our lives. So are we pushing on one facet as an alternative of asking on the opposite facet? Perhaps it is value our time to go to our voters and say ‘our wages aren’t sustaining our individuals the place they’re.’ We aren’t addressing that. I am simply curious, nevertheless it appears to me like it will be troublesome to say ‘I am forcing this on you, however on the identical time, I am asking for this.’ You realize what I imply? One facet is being heavy handed and the opposite facet is an ask. And is it value going and seeing what do your individuals take into consideration the wages that we pay? And is there a approach to assist that facet of it? As a result of that is the basis trigger right here. That is the problem that we are not coping with, in my view.”

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The necessity to take a look at elevating worker wages was seconded by a number of staff, together with Shane Huston of the Street Division.

“The will increase aren’t the Fee’s fault. It isn’t the fault of the Fee that we’re seeing these will increase. And this goes again years, it goes again to commissioners that have been in right here lengthy earlier than you three. Costs are going up, people. Like I identified to you the opposite day, Mark, you understand as a farmer, Jake, you understand as a farmer, what you may repair your tractor for 10 years in the past will not be what you possibly can repair a tractor for now. Have a look at the Street Division’s budgets relating to gear. That is one thing (Division Supervisor Jim) Bedwell is extraordinarily anxious about. This man is engaged on stuff day in and time out, and it prices extra money. However the reality of the matter is I agree each time I hear the remark that – ‘the place’s the cash going to return from?’ – I get annoyed. As a result of fairly frankly, if that is a problem sitting right here for this Fee right now, whether or not it acquired handed to you or not, I believe you at the very least must ask the query of the those that voted you into this place … So I do like that line of considering. I do not wish to pay extra taxes. No person does. However you understand what, you additionally must ask your self what companies you need.”

Different motion taken on the assembly:

  • Unanimous approval of an amended plat. The request got here from Randy Anderson, who’s splitting a 12.91 acre lot into 9 tons to create a serious subdivision. The situation is west of Havre and simply south of US 2, between seventieth and 73rd Avenues.
  • Unanimous approval of a minor subdivision change requested by Clint Solomon
  • The unanimous approval of a discover of intent to annex land into Herd District No. 12. A public listening to on this proposal will happen at 9 AM on Wednesday, April twenty seventh within the Fee’s workplace.
  • Updating the County’s journey coverage to make clear that staff with the Extension Workplace are in a position to make use of County automobiles for work journeys.

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