County supervisors face rising retirement, health insurance costs

Published 10:08 am Wednesday, August 16, 2023

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NATCHEZ — A consultant hired to help Adams County with its coming fiscal year budget said increases in the retirement match for county employees and increased rates for the county’s self-funded health insurance plan are the two biggest factors affecting expenses.

Chuck Lambert, who was county administrator and later a county supervisor in Pike County, said he expects the county’s retirement rate match to go up about two percent. He said the increase in the PERS match rate will increase from 17.4 to 19.4 percent.

“The health insurance rate was adjusted based on the projected expenses for the next budget year,” Lambert wrote to supervisors in a memorandum given them Monday morning. “Total projected expenses are $3,055,495, with expected reimbursements of $200,000 from reinsurance. This leaves an annual net cost of $2,855,495.

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“Family premiums are expected to generate $188,000, based on 50 employees with family coverage, remaining the same, at a $3,760 annul premium. That leaves $2,667,495 to be generated by 210 employees. That calculates out to $1,058.53 per employee per month,” Lambert said.

“Going back and looking, during the beginning of the 2022-2023 fiscal year — October, November and December — you were moving money out of the general fund to the self-insurance plan to cover the claims. And, y’all transferred a great deal of money in the 2021-2022 fiscal year to the self-insurance plan to cover claims. It appears it has been running short based on your premium, which is why I am recommending a significant increase,” he said.

The county’s board of supervisors completed two days of budget hearings on Tuesday.

Board President Warren Gaines said he expects to get “hard numbers” for the coming year budget at Monday’s meeting of the county supervisors. It begins at 9 a.m. in the supervisors’ chambers at 314 State St., Natchez.

Gaines said he expects the board will have a completed budget by Friday, Aug. 25.