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Posted on January 10, 2011 at 3:40 PM by PattiAnn Schultz
Clarification of Town Times Article on Skyrocketing Health Care Costs
In the latest edition of the Webster Town Times which was delivered to all Webster residents this past weekend, my article mentioned the continued high cost of health care for this year and 2012.
As a result of that publication, I have received emails from numerous individuals suggesting that I should just make current employees pay more for their health care costs in the future; decreasing the burden on residents to pay more in taxes when health care costs in the private sector are being passed down to employees as well.
For the past six years as your Supervisor, the Town Board and I have been trying to do just that, but we have been unable to accomplish this goal because of the three unions who represent our town employees.
The union leadership, along with some rank-and-file union members, fails to understand that times have changed. In the private sector, employees are paying more for both health care coverage and retirement.
Public employees must follow suit and also contribute more for their benefits as their counterparts in the private sector are doing. Some public workers might not believe this is a fair solution. However, these same people must ask themselves if it is fair that taxpayers should shoulder the burden of higher health care costs and other coverage for government employees while their rates are also going up?
One of the town’s goals in 2012 is to keep our tax rate stable. In order to accomplish this goal our town needs to control costs. Health care coverage is a major cost not just for the Town of Webster, but all government and educational entities. As taxpayers, our union workers are very aware of the negative impact higher taxes have. This is why the Town Board and I extend to the unions representing town employees an offer to work together and come to an agreement where Webster’s tax rate can remain stable, along with our workforce, and the public can still expect the excellent service they have become accustomed to.
It is my sincere hope, and that of the Town Board, that the leaders of our employee unions will be willing to consider a workable proposal that will benefit the taxpayers of Webster. For anyone in today’s economic times to continue to believe that an employer should be paying 100% for their health care costs is just foolish, selfish, and they should get their head out of the sand.
Please contact me if you have any questions about your town government, or this article, during regular business hours at (585-872-7068); or email me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org
Ronald W. Nesbitt
Webster Town Supervisor.