County Passes Budget

Posted in Commissioners Court, The Budget, Williamson County at 10:05 pm by wcnews

At Tuesday’s Williamson County Commissioners Court (WCCC) meeting the 2008 - 2009 budget for the county was passed. But not before tacking on an extra $1.3 million in last-minute additions:

In its adoption, commissioners voted to add an additional $1.3 million in spending to the general fund on top of last week’s proposed amount, bringing the total to $118 million. The general fund is the largest portion of the budget, containing county employee payroll.

The main reason for the “last-minute additions” was, what has been and will be what is costing all of us more over the years, the skyrocketing price of health care.

The largest last-minute increase to the budget was a $1 million contingency fund set up to address possible health insurance shortfalls. This past year the county, which is self-insured, had an inordinate amount of large claims, county officials said, leading to health care expenditures well above what was expected. The contingency money sets aside $1 million in case that should happen again.

On top of the fund, health insurance will become more expensive for employees, and some benefits have been cut from policies. John Willingham, the county’s human resources director, said the losses in coverage were minimal and the increases in employee payments were slight.

Per each pay check, county employees can expect to pay between 57 cents and $14.91 more for health benefits, depending on the scope of the coverage they choose as well as whether their policy will cover spouses or children. The county pays $461.50 per month for each insured employee, an amount that did not change with the new budget.

Minimal and slight are relative terms, of course. As The RRL points out in it’s article, More jobs, more pay, the WCCC voted themselves a 4 percent pay raise.

Elected officials will get 4-percent raises.

Birkman and Precinct 3 Commissioner Valerie Covey - who are both up for re-election in November - called for smaller raises for department heads and elected officials but were on the losing end of a 3-2 vote.

“Politics,” Greg Windham of Georgetown- the Democratic candidate for Precinct 3 commissioner - muttered from the audience.

Politics indeed.

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