Anderson County's interim administrator calls it the worst budget year since the Great Depression. Rusty Burns says, “There's no money.”
Burns has found a way to save Anderson County about $600,000 dollars by making employees foot the bill for health insurance. Burns says, “This is to avoid layoffs and furloughs.”
Burns says currently Anderson County pays the full amount for every employee's health insurance. Under Burns' proposal, the county would only be paying part of the health insurance costs. If an employee makes less than $40,000 a year, the worker would have to pay about $40 a month. Employees making more than $40,000 would pay about $90 dollars a month.
Burns says, “We're on the horns of a dilemna, and this seems like a fair way to address it.”
Burns says the county has lost $1 million in state aid, and it will have to pay about $200,000 more for an increase in retiree benefits.
While the county is considering putting less money in the wallets of employees to pay for health insurance, Burns wants to spend more money to pay for the new animal shelter.
Burns says, “This is the right thing to do, but it costs money.”
Burns says the old shelter was overcrowded and poorly constructed. He wants to give an additional $500,000 to the new shelter to pay for more staff and an extra administrator.
Burns says the current administrator handles both operations and fund raising. He says it's too much for one person to handle.
While the county could be saving money on health care costs, they may be spending money on a project Burns says is worth the price, even in tight budget times.
Next Tuesday, Anderson County Council will consider Burns' proposal to cut health care costs and add more money for the animal shelter.
News Channel 7 checked around with other counties in the Upstate and several are considering having employees pay more for health insurance this budget year. Spartanburg County currently splits the cost of health insurance with its employees. But the human resources director says the county is looking at making employees pay more. Greenwood County interim administrator says the county is considering have its employees pay 5 percent more in health care costs.