Waxhaw discusses health care coverage for town leaders

WAXHAW – Although Waxhaw may not see a large increase in costs due to the Affordable Care Act, the town could see an increase in costs if town leaders opt to compensate elected officials for health care.

The town currently has 57 employees – two who are part-time and four who work at the ABC store and cover their own insurance costs – leaving 51 who are covered at Waxhaw’s expense. Since this is the first year the town has surpassed 50 employees, commissioners have been offered a chance to sign up for coverage through the town, but a decision on who will pay for the insurance has not yet been decided.

Until a new budget is adopted this summer, commissioners who sign up for the town’s insurance will have to pay for coverage. Commissioners can only make changes to their compensation during budget discussions, Mayor Pro Tem Mike Stewart said, leaving the option to include commissioner health care off the table until the board votes on the 2014-15 budget.

“Because we are over 50 employees, we are able to add board members,” Mayor Daune Gardner said during the town’s Tuesday, March 11, meeting. “… Any change to the compensation for the board will take place during the budget process.”

Commissioners have until April 1 to notify the insurance company that they will receive coverage through the town.

Although the town has not yet held a public hearing for the change in board compensation, Waxhaw resident and former commissioner Erin Kirkpatrick did speak to the possible changes during informal comments at the March 11 meeting.

“In reference to insurance, I don’t know any other municipality in the county that pays for elected officials health insurance,” she

But regardless of how many commissioners opt for insurance through the town, outgoing Town Manager Mike McLaurin said the town will not see a significant increase in health care costs for its employees for the 2014-15 fiscal year. Health care costs for the 2013-14 year were $337,272, with costs increasing to $351,000 for the coming year.

“We put some things in place last year in reference to wellness and getting physicals that would (lower the costs of health care),” McLaurin said. “… We are going to provide health care to folks, and we were successful this year in having no increase in our health care. Right now for this year, (the Affordable Care Act) hasn’t been a big impact on us.”

The town will not discuss health care compensation for commissioners again until budget discussions begin in April or May. A date for the initial budget work session has not been set, although a budget has to be adopted by June 30 or the town will have to pass an emergency budget to continue spending until a 2014-15 budget is in


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