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Lifetime insurance coverage axed

by jmaloni
Wed, Nov 24th 2010 10:00 am
Part-time elected officials in Wheatfield will no longer receive partial or full health insurance for life.

The Town Board on Monday adjusted the language in its health care policy, which will affect anyone elected in 2011 taking office after Jan. 1, 2012, but it will not affect current or past board members or supervisors.

The board, with its 2011 budget safely passed last week, continues to look for cost-saving measures in order to avoid a future town tax and bring down the town's deficit.

It also approved the use of Univera health insurance for non-union employees in 2011 at a $33,000 savings over Independent Health, according to Supervisor Bob Cliffe.

In the public input section of the meeting, Heidi Dobmeier, a local CPA, reminded the board of her comment from the budget meetings earlier this month, that lifetime health insurance and other unfunded liabilities will eventually bankrupt the town.

Cliffe said this financial liability shows up in the accounting work-up done by town Budget Director Ed Mongold and was noted in the financials by town auditor Drescher-Malecki. It covers commitments the current and prior boards have passed that cause future obligations, such as continuing health insurance (the largest factor), paying for sick pay and unused vacation pay after retirement, and so on, Cliffe said.

The board passed another insurance issue that was discussed but not voted on earlier this month that denies town-funded insurance coverage to town employees who can obtain comparable insurance through a spouse or other family member for less than $250 a month.

In other matters:

  • The board authorized placement of two streetlights at The Briars development.
  • Recreation Director Ed Sturgeon reminded Wheatfield residents that the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony and party is set for 6 p.m. Dec. 4 at the Youth Center behind Town Hall. He also noted that the next senior dance is scheduled for Dec. 11.

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