Health insurance costs eyed in budget talks Crofton board looks for cost savings

November 13, 1996|By Tanya Jones | Tanya Jones,SUN STAFF

A cost-saving measure mulled by the Crofton Civic Association board to have town hall employees pay for a larger share of their health insurance turns out to be impossible under state law, according to the town manager.

Board member Gayle Colner Sears suggested Monday night that in reviewing compensation packages, the board should consider having employees pay for half of their health insurance, instead of the current 20 percent. The Crofton special tax district pays for 80 percent of the insurance for five of six police officers and for Barbara Swann, town manager.

"Crofton provides a very generous compensation package," Sears said. "I'm not saying that that's a bad thing, but I think we need to look at everything."

But state law requires an employer of the Crofton special tax district's size to pay for at least 80 percent of employees' health insurance, Swann said yesterday.

The board is considering a proposed $568,313 budget for the fiscal year that will begin July 1, 1997.

Sears' suggestion sparked a lively discussion among the seven board members present.

"I'd be absolutely against changing it to a 50-50" system, said Brenda H. Reiber. "That would be such a blow to the people."

Scott Davis also said he is against requiring employees to pay more for health insurance.

Treasurer Elizabeth Hasken said benefits are "very generous" and that the board should at least talk about changes.

Board President Edwin F. Dosek said the salaries and benefits offered in Crofton are "right in line" and are designed to keep the special tax district competitive when trying to hire police officers and other employees.

Any change that hits employees in the pocketbook would be unpopular among the workers, Swann said.

"It'd go over like a limp balloon," she said. "When you hire a person and you tell them what their benefits are, it's very difficult to go down on them."

Board members will consider whether to give tax district employees a cost-of-living raise when they meet Monday night for a budget session.

In other business, the board received the results of a survey of Crofton residents.

"Communication is definitely a problem, and that was evident in just about every category," said board Secretary Martin Simon, who compiled the results. "People just didn't feel as though they were well enough informed to attend these things," he said, referring to meetings and community events.

Most of the 144 respondents said they would support the creation of a farmers market, construction of a Crofton library and a western bypass for Route 3. Nearly 80 percent of those who responded said they felt safe in Crofton, and about 70 percent rated the police force as good or excellent. The survey was mailed to more than 3,000 tax district households with the civic association newsletter in September.

Pub Date: 11/13/96

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