By Gloria Roemer
Terry Brown with T Ross Brown & Associates (health underwriters) repeatedly told the Trinity Bay Conservation District (TBCD) Board of Directors at its regular meeting last Wednesday, that the healthcare plan the TBCD employees receive is “a very rich plan”, and in his 30 years of underwriting healthcare plans, no other public or private entity has a plan as generous and “rich” as the employees of TBCD. The current healthcare plan has an annual deductible of $1,000. TBCD pays up to 50% of the deductible ($500). In addition, if an employee has a spouse and children, the cost to the employee for the family’s healthcare insurance is $50/pay period which is every two weeks. Again, Brown repeated, “TBCD has a very rich plan. No one else has it.” The healthcare plan for its employees’ accounts for about 10% of its total budget, approximately $880,000/year.
The Board has committed to making drastic cuts to its 2020-2021 budget. TBCD Attorney Hubert Oxford IV has repeatedly told the Board that TBCD will be out of money by January 2022 if meaningful cuts are not made. But the question remains if the Board will adjust employee healthcare costs to current standards. The Board is discussing raising the deductible to $3,000/year but have not talked about if TBCD will pay a portion of the deductible as it has done previously. Discussion is ongoing about what TBCD will contribute to the monthly cost of employees’ healthcare plans. TBCD will save hundreds of thousands of dollars just by increasing the annual deductible. And, hundreds of thousands of more dollars will be saved by adjusting monthly healthcare plans to current standards.
Also, at the meeting the Board approved a no new revenue tax rate of 0.39493/$100. Loretta Emmons, candidate for TBCD Director Position 4, addressed the Board in support of the no new revenue tax rate stating “our tax bills keeping going up. These problems should not be put on the taxpayers. No one in government is losing their jobs.”