Commissioners discuss budget, health insurance

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By Staff Brunswick Beacon

The Brunswick County Commissioners have decided to send letters to county employees seeking input on what kind of health insurance they would prefer, to increase the prices of meals sold to Brunswick Senior Resources Inc. and to increase the water rate for wholesale customers.

The commissioners met in a budget workshop Monday afternoon to discuss the proposed 2008-2009 budget and make possible changes.

According to county finance director Ann Hardy, county manager Marty Lawing is preparing to send a letter to all county employees explaining two health insurance proposals: a 90 percent/10 percent plan that would require employees to pay 10 percent of the coverage, and a 90-10 PPO plan that would also allow employees to buy up to 100 percent HMO coverage for $92 per month.

Commissioners also heard from Hardy that she is expecting the 2007-2008 year-end fund balance (savings account) to total $53.4 million, compared to $55.3 million at the end of the previous year.

Hardy said she was taking into account paying for a new social services building next year out of fund balance.

The administration is also recommending passing on its food costs to the nonprofit Brunswick Senior Resources Inc., which provides the Meals on Wheels program for seniors. Hardy said the county’s cost to prepare the meals has increased steadily over the past several years but the cost to the agency has remained the same.

Hardy told the commissioners she’s expecting a 13-cent increase in the cost of water, which will be passed on to the county’s wholesale customers. Retail customers would not see an increase, she said.

Also during Monday’s meeting, commissioners agreed to meet the requests of the fire departments that need additional funding other than fire fees: Grissettown-Longwood, Bolivia, Bald Head Island and Navassa. Only Bald Head Island requested an increase, from $50,000 to $75,000.