Adams County looking at possible 32 percent increase in employee health insurance

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As Adams County prepares its 2022 budget, the Adams County Board received a little bit of sticker shock on one important item at Tuesday night’s meeting.

Finance Committee Chair Bret Austin informed the Board that the County’s employee health insurance plan was looking at a 32 percent increase.

“There are not a lot of options that are super palatable,” Finance Committee member David Hoskins said.

The County has an aging employee base and has had several large claimants over the last couple of years. The County has a self-funded plan with a large deductible that could get larger.

Austin said he would like to work with other large public employees, such as the county’s school districts, to create a larger pool in hopes of getting a more attractive plan.

In his report, Austin also added that despite the bad news regarding the insurance, the county’s increased equalized assessed valuation should allow them to stay with a flat tax rate when the Board sets the levy in December.

“We have some hard decisions to make,” Austin said as the County Board will receive budget drafts within the next few days. The Board is expected to vote on the budget next month.

The Board approved two resolutions for spending American Relief Plan Act dollars:

The A.C.E. program will receive $50,000 for a program to help local companies hire workers who are currently on probation for crimes committed in Adams County. GREDF, Two Rivers Regional Council and Bella Ease will assist in administrating the plan, which should help 25-30 people find jobs. Austin said four local employers have inquired about the program.

The Adams County Fair Board will receive $177,000 for improvements to the fairgrounds. Austin said the fair qualifies as a not-for-profit tourism entity that suffered revenue loss during the COVID-19 pandemic. Mark Peter, whose district includes the fairgrounds, said the facility is used year round for multiple events.

The County Board has hired a consultant to vet applicants and ensure it is distributing the money in a way that satisfies federal guidelines.

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