Council member Mark Showalter plans to introduce a resolution preventing Georgetown City Council members from being eligible for health benefits effective Jan. 1, 2021.
Showalter alerted the council during its meeting Monday and after some discussion it was decided city attorney Devon Golden would draft a resolution to be considered at the next meeting. Todd Stone seconded the motion.
Georgetown city council members are considered part-time employees because most have other occupations, but a 1999 resolution enabled council members to receive the same health insurance benefits as full-time employees, except retirement.
The annual salary package for city council members ranges from just less than $13,082 to almost $31,000, depending upon which benefits for which each council member accepts. The base salary is $12,068.29 plus the annual cost of social security of $749.23 and Medicare at $174.99, workers’ compensation and basic life insurance for a minimum salary and benefits package of $13,087.87.
Council members can receive health and dental insurance as well as a Heath Savings Account, which helps cover deductibles. The value of the benefits package can vary depending upon what options are selected, but can range up to $17,832.12. The annual cost for all health insurance benefits is about $91,000, which includes a recent premium increase.
Showalter does not receive any health benefits from the city and Stone receives only dental at an annual cost of $477.12.
Council Marvin Thompson said he felt the resolution would be unfair because there may be candidates for the council who decided to seek election with the understanding health insurance would be part of their pay package.
“We may have new council members after the election,” Thompson said.
Council member Karen Tingle-Sames said the resolution should be drafted and by the next council meeting it would be known if there were any new council members. Every incumbent is seeking re-election along with seven challengers.
“Benefits are not considered part of their salary, so benefits can be adjusted at any time,” Golden said about drafting the resolution.
Mayor Tom Prather said it would ultimately be a council decision.
In other business, the council approved adjusting its compensating property tax rate from .64 cents per $100,000 evaluation to .65 cents per $100,000 evaluation. For someone with a $100,000 home, the increase would amount to about $1 per year. The increase would be about $32,477 annually for the city’s general budget.
The tax increase passed 5-3 with Thompson, Tingle-Sames and Polly Singer-Eardley opposing while Showalter, Stone, David Lusby, Connie Tackett and Tammy Lusby-Mitchell voted in favor.
The council gave a verbal approval to restoring a $9,700 budget cut to the Scott County Senior Citizens’ Center. The delivery of meals to some 80 seniors in Scott County was threatened due to a lack of funds. The city reduced funding for all non-profits after early projections showed a $4.4 million deficit due to the COVID-19 shutdowns, but decided to restore the funding.
Senior Citizens Director Jason Smallwood said the meals would continue to be delivered in large part due to the funding decisions made by the city council and Scott County Fiscal Court.
City Finance Director Stacey Clark reviewed budget numbers after the first quarter of the fiscal year, and although much of the figures are preliminary, it showed modest increases in most budget categories over the same period last year despite the pandemic shutdown. Payroll taxes, the largest part of the city’s budget, was down however and net profits taxes would not show the effects of the pandemic until next fiscal year, she said.
Mike Scogin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.