It is a challenging budget year for the Cache County Council and council chairman Greg Merrill says the major challenge is one faced this year by many individuals, businesses and government entities: the high cost of health insurance.
Merrill says this year the county sent out bids to seven different insurance companies and only three responded. He says looking at the bids it became obvious that if rates remained the same, the county’s insurance premium alone would go up over 37%, which would amount to over a million dollars.
“So we went back to the employees,” Merrill explains, “and we said, ‘We need to increase your deductible, we need to reduce your HSA. No longer can you be on the Cadillac plan, you now need to be on a higher deductible plan.’
“In doing all of those things we were able to get the increase down to 15.1%, but it still amounted to over $795,000.”
He says if employees received a two percent salary increase, the amount would be up to $240,000. He says department heads have gone over their budgets making cuts wherever they could. But, he says the council has decided to propose increasing the property tax rate by 2.112 percent.
He says that would generate an estimated $240,000 in additional revenue and would cost taxpayers approximately $4 on a home valued at around $230,000.