“It’s a risk,” County Commissioner Garry Fricks said during a Tuesday presentation on the fund’s balance and projected growth.
Fricks chairs the administration and finance committee, where County Manager Blaine Williams and Finance Director Gary Burkhalter showed how they came up with their numbers. A budget workshop with the full County Commission is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Nov. 27.
Williams said claims against the fund have been lower than expected for the past two years, likely because of the county’s wellness program. As much as to $1 million is expected to be added at the end of 2012.
“It’s been fairly stable the last couple of years,” Williams told Fricks. “But because we’re not comfortable in saying two years is a trend, we’re just recommending a one-time pay supplement. We didn’t model y’all making a permanent commitment.”
Burkhalter said the transfer would not prevent the fund from reaching its target balance in 2015, as planned. The calculations include projected increases in premiums, Blue Cross administrative fees and the cost of stop-loss insurance against catastrophic claims.
Fricks said pulling $250,000 from the fund would lessen the amount available to re-invest in improved access, to keep down costs for the longterm. But Williams said the majority of the money comes from an annual 70-percent transfer from the county’s general fund to match employees’ 30-percent contribution.
“We wouldn’t be pulling it out. It’s just decreasing the county’s contribution before it gets there,” Williams said.
Still, Fricks said there’s always a risk in projecting how much will be needed to fund health care benefits in future years.
The County Commission is struggling to create a balanced budget for 2013 in the face of declining or flat revenues — and unknown factors such as the impending loss of sales tax on car sales and energy used in manufacturing.
County financial documents