by Jay Lawson
The Forestport Town Board adopted a resolution designed to clarify eligibility requirements for town employees as it relates to the town’s group health insurance plan.
The resolution was approved unanimously at the board’s November 18th monthly meeting.
Health plan eligibility changes were made on November 19, 2014 when the Board resolved to increase the minimum annual salary amount to $10,000.
The town’s Excellus Group Health Care Plan overview defined eligible employees as those working a full-time, 30-hour a week schedule.
It became effective January 1, 2015.
The town’s employee handbook was made to reflect the policy change in April 2015.
It stated that full-time employees are eligible for the town’s group health insurance plan.
The Board contended that these statements of eligibility needed “clarification and amplification” in the form of a new resolution.
The resolution presented on November 18th by Deputy Supervisor Joanne Kwasniewski described the insufficiency of the existing policy.
“These [statements of eligibility]…do not explain coverages for elected officials and do not contain a statement concerning the limitation on the Town’s share of health care premiums,” the resolution states.
To address this shortcoming, three clarifications were presented and adopted as follows.
• Full-time employees and elected officials of the Town making less than $10,000 are not eligible to join the town’s group health plan.
• The Town will cap its monthly contribution to individual health care premiums at $600. This applies to employees and elected officials.
• The employee handbook and the Excellus Plan overview will be amended to reflect these policy revisions.
The resolution is to take effect on January 1, 2016.
Councilman Charles Scott asked if current elected officials will be able to keep their health coverage, though they make less than $10,000 a year and are not full time.
They will be grandfathered, said Deputy Supervisor Joanne Kwasniewski. Those elected in the future will have to meet the new eligibility requirements, however.
Town Attorney Ted Earl said no change to the resolution was needed to make this clear.
Earl said the main purpose of the resolution is to address 2016 Budget changes and the new health plan that goes into effect, according to the Board’s official minutes.
A motion to adopt the resolution was made by Council-woman Nancy Kardash and seconded by Councilman Scott.
It was adopted by a 4-0 vote.
The Forestport Town Board also adopted a Final Budget for 2016 at its regular monthly meeting on November 18th.
The General Fund appropriations and provisions for other uses has been set at $844,250.
General Fund estimated revenues are $557,227.
Unexpended balance of $287.022.63 will be applied, which will eliminate the need of raising money by tax.
Appropriations for the Highway-Townwide Fund are set at $1,186,145.
Estimated revenues for this fund are $750,800.
An unexpended balance amount to applied is $205,791.
That makes the amount to be raised by taxes $229,554 for the Highway-Townwide Fund.
Appropriations for the Special Water District amount to $126,338.
Estimated revenues of $96,338 and an applied unexpended balance of $30,000 will eliminate a need to raise money by taxes.
Special Sewer District appropriations are $58,513.
Estimated revenues for the Sewer District are $53,512.92. With $5,000 unexpended balance applied, the amount to be raised by taxes is $0.
The Special Fire District will have appropriations totaling $194,134. There is no revenue applied and only $8.31 from unexpended balance, so the amount to be raised by taxes will be $194,126.
NOTE: Above budget amounts rounded to the nearest dollar.