Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

November 15, 2012

Audit says insurance costs a problem

ASHLAND — Health-care costs are consuming an increasing share of city funds, auditors told the Ashland Board of City Commissioners on Thursday.

Employee health insurance “is the single most negative culprit in city operations,” said Phillip Layne, managing director of the Kelley, Galloway & Co. accounting firm. “It’s a raging animal out of control.”

The total health insurance cost for the fiscal year that ended in June was $7.1 million, which was $1.8 million more than in 2010, Layne said.

That is the equivalent of almost all the city’s yearly tax revenue in its general fund, he said.

Changes made in July appear to be reining in costs for the past four months, City Manager Steven Corbitt said earlier in the day. The changes, which include increased premiums, deductibles and copays, are aimed at saving about $1 million, and based on the four months since they took effect, appear to be meeting the target, he said.

Ashland also saw some unexpected expenses, largely because of the spring storm that toppled trees and flooded streets, causing heavy damage and increasing overtime costs, according to the report. The city also had to pay back a $242,000 federal grant for the rehabilitation of the former Nobil Shoes building because of apparent failure to follow Housing and Urban Development department regulations in managing the grant.

However, once the money is paid back the city will be able to sell the building and recoup at least some of the money.

Pension funds are shrinking, but pension benefits are not in any danger of not being paid, Layne said. The city would need more than $6 million to fully fund utility, police and fire pension fund assets. However, he said, there is no risk currently of retirees not being paid.

The fire department exceeded its budget by $448,000, mainly because of labor cost and general operation expenses, according to Layne.

Repairs and retirement costs also rose, Corbett said.

Tax revenues were down about $500,000 and license fees also were down about $250,000.

Budgeting for the upcoming fiscal year will include examination of city staffing levels and another look at health insurance, according to a memo from Finance Director Tony Grubb.

MIKE JAMES can be reached at mjames@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2652.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • BREAKING: APD probes gun report near Blazer campus

    April 24, 2014

  • Judge denies renewed motion to dismiss Rosen lawsuit

    A judge has refused to dismiss a former Boyd district and circuit judge’s lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a law that affects his ability to run for re-election this fall.
    In an order entered on Friday, Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas D. Wingate denied a renewed motion to dismiss by current Boyd Circuit Judge George W. Davis III, an intervening respondent in the suit filed in January by Marc I. Rosen.

    April 23, 2014

  • Ashland football players join special-needs students for prom

    The purple chiffon gown and the sparkling tiara are back in the closet four days after the big dance, but Karina McBride still hasn’t stopped talking about Saturday night — the decorations, boys bringing her cups of punch, her first kiss (on the cheek, her mother hastens to interject), and dancing the night away at her first prom.
    “She’s been flying high since that night,” said Michele Woods, who is Karina’s mother and who brought together friends and volunteers to organize a prom for special needs students.

    April 23, 2014

  • Concrete pouring at Putnam

    Workers are pouring concrete foundations at Putnam Stadium and once those are dry and cured will be ready to install seats at the historic arena.
    The workers are putting in 12-hour shifts to keep on schedule to complete the stadium’s reconstruction in time for this fall’s football opener, said site supervisor Craig Chinn of Trace Creek Construction.
    The most visible work is happening on the home-team side of the stadium, where workers Tuesday were setting forms for the cylindrical concrete piers that will support the seats. Once those are poured, cured and inspected they will add the seats.

    April 23, 2014

  • Unique races for Carter magistrates

    Carter County magistrate ballots are full of candidates eager to represent constituents in each of the five districts that make up the county’s fiscal court.
     

    April 23, 2014

  • Martin County marks 50 years since LBJ visit

    Today marks 5o years since former U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson visited Inez resident Tom Fletcher and promised to end poverty in America on April 24, 1964. On Friday, Inez will be commemorating the occasion with a special event.

    April 23, 2014

  • Trail Town trial run to be in Olive Hill this Sunday

    Olive Hill will participate in a trial run this Saturday in the city’s push to become a certified Kentucky Trail Town.

    April 23, 2014

  • Some area farmers may be eligible for LIP program

    The Grayson  Farm Service Agency, (Boyd, Carter, Elliott and Lawrence) is having registration for the Livestock Indemnity Program to eligible producers who suffered losses beginning Oct. 1, 2011, and subsequent years.

    April 23, 2014

  • News in brief, 04/24/14

    The King’s Daughters Pregancy and Infant Loss Support Group invites families who have experienced the loss of an infant during pregnancy or following birth to participate in a butterfly release and prayer ceremony at 2 p.m. May 10 at the Ashland Central Park fountain.

    April 23, 2014

  • Garner hosting National Day of Prayer activities

    The Garner Missionary Baptist Church will be hosting day long events at the Kyova Mall to commemorate the National Day of Prayer on Thursday, May 1.

    April 23, 2014

Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP basketball
SEC Zone