City of Columbus projecting additional deficit due to rising hea - WRBL

City of Columbus projecting additional deficit due to rising healthcare costs

Posted: Updated:
COLUMBUS, Ga. -

The City of Columbus reported an additional 2-million-dollar deficit in the city's budget at the City Council Work Session on Monday. This comes on the heels of a 1.8 million dollar shortfall from the Muscogee County Sheriff's Office, making the total deficit nearly 4 million dollars.

The city says the projected shortfall is because of the rise in healthcare costs. The city announced proposed changes at the work session to balance the budget. It includes increasing premiums and lowering the level of coverage for city employees. Several councilors raised concerns about the proposed changes.

"I understand that the city budget is tight, I understand that health insurance is going up, but I also think there are ways that we can address this issue that have not been put into place so the employees won't see an increase," says City Councilor Judy Thomas.

Other council members support the changes. Councilor Mike Baker says what's proposed is reasonable because they reflect the same healthcare changes in the private sector.

The city says another option to reduce the deficit is to have more city employees come to new Government Health & Wellness Center. They say the more employees they have enroll in the program, the more the city will save in health expenses.

"It looks like the option we've provided to help lessen any impact on employees is the Wellness Center," says Mayor Teresa Tomlinson. "We're hoping as the months go on, fewer employees will be enrolled in the other plans so there won't be these other types of costs that we're having to talk about right now."

Since the Wellness Center opened in April, about 50% of the eligible city employees are participating. When the facility opened in April, the city set a 90% quota.

"We've got a-ways to go but we've got a marketing plan going on to keep everyone to the wellness center that's going to save the taxpayers and that's going to save the employees."

Monday's meeting was a work session, so there was no vote on the proposed changes, but the council did ask City Manager Isaiah Hugley to come back with more options for them to consider. Councilor Thomas also said she will look through the proposal and try to come up with a better option as well.

The board will vote on the proposed changes within the next 30 days.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Grandmother of boy tied up in Macy's bathroom speaks

    Grandmother of boy tied up in Macy's bathroom speaks

    Friday, April 18 2014 1:26 PM EDT2014-04-18 17:26:14 GMT
    The grandmother, whose face is concealed to protect child's identityThe grandmother, whose face is concealed to protect child's identity
    The family of an 8-year-old boy, who police say was tied up and assaulted in Peachtree Mall, pleading for the public's help after nearly two weeks with no arrest.
    The family of an 8-year-old boy, who police say was tied up and assaulted in Peachtree Mall, pleading for the public's help after nearly two weeks with no arrest.
  • Photos: Storms lead to flooding across Chattahoochee Valley

    Photos: Storms lead to flooding across Chattahoochee Valley

    Monday, April 7 2014 6:37 PM EDT2014-04-07 22:37:01 GMT
    After heavy rain and thunderstorms rolled through the valley this morning, we can look for improving weather conditions this afternoon.
    After heavy rain and thunderstorms rolled through the valley this morning, we can look for improving weather conditions this afternoon.
  • Principal of Double Churches Middle School passes away

    Principal of Double Churches Middle School passes away

    Thursday, April 17 2014 6:46 PM EDT2014-04-17 22:46:47 GMT
    The principal of Double Churches Middle School passed away Wednesday night. Chris Cox was appointed to the job in 2012.
    The principal of Double Churches Middle School passed away Wednesday night. Chris Cox was appointed to the job in 2012.
  • On Your SideMore>>

  • Auburn woman shot in leg during domestic dispute

    Auburn woman shot in leg during domestic dispute

    Saturday, April 19 2014 12:18 AM EDT2014-04-19 04:18:39 GMT
    59-year-old Johnnie Forte was arrested Friday after he allegedly shot a 29-year-old woman in the leg, according to Auburn Police.Officers responded to a shots fired call at a home on Kent Drive shortly before 2 a.m. Friday. The woman was treated at East Alabama Medical Center for a non-life threatening injury.Forte now faces domestic violence charges.
    59-year-old Johnnie Forte was arrested Friday after he allegedly shot a 29-year-old woman in the leg, according to Auburn Police.Officers responded to a shots fired call at a home on Kent Drive shortly before 2 a.m. Friday. The woman was treated at East Alabama Medical Center for a non-life threatening injury.Forte now faces domestic violence charges.
  • LaGrange man shot in face while sleeping

    LaGrange man shot in face while sleeping

    Saturday, April 19 2014 12:15 AM EDT2014-04-19 04:15:21 GMT
    A LaGrange man is recovering after being shot in the face while he was sleeping, according to LaGrange Police. 
    A LaGrange man is recovering after being shot in the face while he was sleeping, according to LaGrange Police. 
  • Authorities: Man walks into sheriff's office, confesses to sexual abuse

    Authorities: Man walks into sheriff's office, confesses to sexual abuse

    Friday, April 18 2014 6:58 PM EDT2014-04-18 22:58:31 GMT
    Johnny Row BoltJohnny Row Bolt
    A 62-year-old Chambers County man was arrested on two counts of Sexual Abusecharges. Authorities with the Chambers County Sheriff's Office say Johnny Bolt, of Five Points, walked into the sheriff's office this week and confessed to sexually abusing a family member under the age of 12. They say he was arrested Thursday and made bond that same day.
    A 62-year-old Chambers County man was arrested on two counts of Sexual Abusecharges. Authorities with the Chambers County Sheriff's Office say Johnny Bolt, of Five Points, walked into the sheriff's office this week and confessed to sexually abusing a family member under the age of 12. They say he was arrested Thursday and made bond that same day.
Powered by WorldNow

1350 13th Avenue
Columbus, GA 31901

Telephone: 706.323.3333
Fax: 706.327.6655
Email: news@wrbl.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.