(06/17/2009)
Because of recently increased PEIA health insurance premiums that cover state and county employees, the Calhoun Commission operating with a budget shortfall, decided Monday to have county employees and officials pay the 12% increase.

Commissioners said there is not enough money in the 2009-10 budget to pick-up the increases.

School systems are facing the ever increasing problem of paying for health insurance for the state's teachers and service personnel.

Commissioners acknowledged the increases of premium amounts to a pay cut, requiring monthly paycheck deductions from about $40 to $120 each month, depending on policy.

PEIA is currently attempting to eliminate all health insurance benefits for state and county retirees that are hired after this year.

Commissioners discussed the current economic crisis and how it will affect the county budget next year, indicating state officials believe the recession will hit the state hard during the next year.

The ongoing recession will likely prevent a full recovery for at least another year, said Manchin administration officials.

The officials briefed lawmakers during their monthly interim meetings on key revenue sources that remain volatile as state government nears the end of its budget year.

Those include corporate net income and severance taxes. The latter is levied on coal and other natural resources when they are extracted, and had been a crucial boon when the recession took hold.

But while it had yielded $373 million by June 1, or 10 percent of all general tax revenue, it has missed every monthly estimate since November.

The commission issued letters of support for projects related to the proposed federally financed Little Kanawha Bus building and a Housing Preservation Grant Program operated by CRI.

Greg Rote of the REAP clean-up program brought commissioners up-to-date about county participation in the state program.

Commissioners met with their insurance carrier's attorney regarding a pending $100,000 lawsuit filed against the county, a woman alleged she fell inside the courthouse in 2007.


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