Mount Carroll council readies appropriation

MOUNT CARROLL – The City Council voted April 11 to prepare the final 2017-18 appopriation ordinance for a vote on April 25.

Revenue is projected at $3,263,069, while expenditures are projected at $3,756,025.

Alderman Mike Risko said because the vote will be for an appropriation, the city must list possible expenditures, even if those expenditures do not actually take place.

“It’ll never happen that you’ll spend all that money. We would find a way to borrow the money if we had to,” Risko said.

One item that appears out of balance are the Business Development District funds. For 2017-18, the council appropriated $90,000 for revenues and $140,000 for expenditures.

“We have the $50,000 in cash,” Risko said of the difference.

In the 2016-17 ordinance, projected expenditures exceeded projected revenue by about $268,000. However, City Clerk Julie Cuckler said the city is in sound financial health and meeting its needs.

One factor Cuckler noted is that the mild winter helped the streets department save money.

In other action at the April 11 meeting, the council voted to renew an insurance proposal from United Health Care, raising the monthly cost from $6,356 for medical and life coverage to $7,240, until December. The city pays the entire cost of insurance for nine city employees.

“They said they’d offer us a plan and give us an option to renew in December. If the Affordable Care Act continues, we’ll have to have a compliant plan,” said Alderman Kevin Powers, who worked on the insurance package before bringing it to the rest of the council.

The plan’s features remain the same, with a $250 deductible for employees, and an out-of-pocket maximum of $1,500. The plan also features a $20 co-pay, $40 co-pay for outpatient services, and a tiered prescription co-play of $10, $35, or $60.

The current plan is not ACA-compliant, but the city doesn’t have to have an ACA-compliant plan until 2018. Before Tuesday’s vote, the city paid about $76,272 per year.

Powers said the package approved April 11 is an approved transition plan, with the option to renew it in December.

“If doing a renewal date in December, we can do an approved transition plan. That would meet ACA compliance for 11 months into 2018. That’d give us until December 2018 to decide what directions we want to go,” Powers said.

Had the council voted for an ACA-compliant plan, the cost would have been about $8,900, or $106,781 per year – an increase of more than $30,500 per year.

“When we look at it, we know we’ll have some very substantial increases in those costs. We have to analyze how to mitigate some of that,” Powers said.

City officials will meet with employees to discuss possible options for changes to the insurance, such as health savings accounts.

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