Northern New York Newspapers
NNY Business
NNY Living
Thu., Oct. 8
Serving the communities of Jefferson, St. Lawrence and Lewis counties, New York
In print daily. Online always.
Related Stories

Morristown Council passes $1.36 million budget


MORRISTOWN - The Morristown Town Council unanimously adopted a $1.36 million budget for the 2014 fiscal year at Tuesday’s meeting.

The spending plan includes a tax rate of $3.17 per $1,000 of assessed property value, an increase over last year’s $3.09 per $1,000 rate – the first hike in the town’s tax rate in three years. The tax levy is $675,959, up from $650,750 in 2013.

The budget does not include any fund balance spending as the town focuses on increasing its reserves.

During a public hearing on the budget in advance of the vote Ronald E. Tulley, a retired town highway employee, said he was disappointed by the council’s decision to switch from Blue Cross Blue Shield to Humana for retiree health insurance coverage.

The switch will save the town roughly $10,000 per year, Town Supervisor Frank L. Putman said.

The 2014 budget will see the town covering $185 per month in health insurance fees for retired employees totaling 75 percent of the total, monthly cost for Humana insurance.

That represents a decrease from the $460 per month the town currently pays for Blue Cross Blue Shield health insurance.

Mr. Putman said the town isn’t forcing retirees to switch to Humana, but that it will only put $185 per month towards their health insurance regardless of which insurance plan they decide to purchase.

“If you want something different you have to make up the difference,” Mr. Putman said.

Mr. Tulley, who served the town for 30 years, said he currently pays roughly $275 per month for Blue Cross Blue Shield. Beginning on Jan. 1 his monthly, out-of-pocket bill will increase to approximately $550 if he opts to stay with his current plan.

Although Mr. Tulley said the monthly fee may be lower for Humana, his research indicates that his copayments for medical services would skyrocket.

Currently Mr. Tulley pays $1,300 per year in copayments and he said the switch to Humana would see his yearly bill jump to $5,700.

“There’s no comparison,” he said. “I’m not going to pay $5,700.”

Mr. Tulley said he is going to bite the bullet and pay the increased rate to continue with Blue Cross Blue Shield adding that in addition to increased copayments, Humana’s “prescription policy sucks.”

Mr. Putman said, “We’re not trying to say you have to take Humana, but we’re saying this is what we’re willing to pay.”

During the public hearing the town council also came under fire for cutting the Morristown Public Library’s budget from $8,000 to $6,000.

Michelle Whalen pointed to raises town council members gave themselves in 2011, an increase from $1,400 to $4,200 per member. Mr. Putman saw his salary increase from $9,500 to $12,300 in 2011 as well.

“You couldn’t come up with $2,000 for the library?” Mrs. Whalen said. “I think it’s pathetic you couldn’t find $2,000 for the library but you found $2,000 for yourself.”

Mr. Putman pointed out that he and the town council did away with their health insurance policies through the town in 2011 as well in an effort to save the town money.

But the bottom line, Mr. Putman said, is that “we cannot continue to go in using fund balance to hold the tax rate at bay.”

Commenting rules:
  1. Stick to the topic of the article/letter/editorial.
  2. When responding to issues raised by other commenters, do not engage in personal attacks or name-calling.
  3. Comments that include profanity/obscenities or are libelous in nature will be removed without warning.
Violators' commenting privileges may be revoked indefinitely. By commenting you agree to our full Terms of Use.
Syracuse Football Tickets Giveaway
Connect with Us
WDT News FeedsWDT on FacebookWDT on TwitterWDT on InstagramWDT for iOS: iPad, iPhone, and iPod touchWDT for Android
Showcase of Homes
Showcase of Homes