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Health insurance bids lower than BMA expected

At its July 12 meeting, the Jonesborough Board of Mayor and Aldermen expected to learn that health insurance bids came in at a less than 3 percent increase over last year’s rate, officials said.
Initially, bids came in around 10 percent higher than last year, but “we have rejiggered the deductible and some prescription medicine coverage, and done our best to get it down to a more manageable 2.78 percent increase,” said Mayor Kelly Wolfe.
Wolfe said the recalculating was a “deliberate move” at his suggestion to prevent the town from having to raise taxes and will let the town consider looking at the new employee pay plan more closely in the fall, “once we firm up where the economy is going.”
Officials are still very concerned about the direction of the sales tax revenue, which did start tapering off at the end of last year. Town Recorder Abbey Miller has said spending will have to be kept to a minimum.
Wolfe said lowering insurance costs is one way of keeping the budget as conservative as possible.
“We dodged a bullet,” he said, adding that the national average for health care costs rose about 12 percent, something Jonesborough has avoided for two years in a row now.
The insurance provider will be Blue Cross this year as well.
Also at the BMA meeting, the Town will hear a request to install another speed table on South Cherokee Street.