Town Spending Freeze Working But Will Continue

Town Manager Kevin Smith says the spending freeze he implemented in February seems to be working.

He told the Town Council Monday night that “at the end of March, we should have been at about 75 percent. We’re at 77.4 percent, which means the gap is closing. Historically at this time of year we’re at 72 percent.

“I’ve informed staff that I’m going to continue the freeze for this month as well, and we’ll review where we’re at at the end of April,” Smith added.

He also gave the Council an update on health care costs.

“Our current health care is with HealthTrust, formerly LGC (Local Government Center),” he said. “The rate they had quoted us was a 9.9 percent increase. After we received that, you may remember that we had hired the services of a consultant to look at all of our options and to shop for different plans and at the same time, to create some competition with HealthTrust to see if they would come in at a lower rate.”

Smith said Health Trust has lowered its rate increase to 3.2 percent.

“What that means is a savings of $203,000 in the FY 15 budget,” Smith noted.

The Town must decide this month if it wants to remain with HealthTrust.

“In addition to that, we also received news that we will be receiving another refund from HealthTrust, going back to 2011/2012,” he said. “The total portion will be about $160,000, and the town’s portion will be between $100,000 and $110,000. This was money that was not budgeted into the FY 15 budget, so total savings there is a little bit north of $300,000.”

Smith noted that a portion of the refund goes to the employees and retirees, with the rest going to the town.

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