I'm still concerned about the new health care bill for public employees (PA 152) that was signed by Governor Synder in September 2011. The Township passed a six year contract with the township employees before that date and therefore can exempt itself from the requirements until a new contract is approved. The township did vote to exempt.
No figures were given by the Township at the Dec. 12, 2011 Board of Trustee meeting that showed choosing "exempt" saved the taxpayers money. It might have saved money, or might not. Why weren't any details given?
The Bloomfield Township Library is a separate taxing authority from the Township government. However, at the last library board meeting there was an agenda item concerning PA 152. Since the public may only listen to the board discuss the agenda item, and make no comments what-so-ever, there were questions unanswered in my mind. Asking questions after the meeting did not resolve the issue.
Here's the big question: Did the library exempt itself from the requirements of PA 152? There was no such vote at the meeting, but I did hear them say they had a six year contract with the Township until 2017. Are the library employees on the same health care plan as township employees? Did the action by the Township Board of Trustees at their December meeting when they exempted from the PA 152 requirements also exempt the library? Remember, these are two separate taxing authorities.
This sounds like a possible "partnership" between the Library and the Township government as it relates to public employee health care. Some "partnerships" are not beneficial to the taxpayer.
What the library board members did vote on was choosing the "limit payment" vs the "80/20 %" formula. The library chose the limit payment...but only two limits were mentioned, the $5500 for single employee and the $15,000 limit for a family. Even though I heard mentioned the $11,000 for an employee and a spouse, I do not believe it was included in the vote. Why? Wasn't that part of the new law? Scott Patterson, an attorney from Butzel Long was available for a conference call during the meeting, but the telephone was never used.
Taxpayers elect trustees to make decisions in our best interest. Knowing the issue before the meeting is necessary and clarifying the issue before a vote is essential. In my opinion, saving taxpayers money would be the right decision. Was that done? Were there calculations performed by the attorney or health care provider that showed the trustees what savings could be made when choosing which option under the new law? I did not hear that at the library board meeting. Action on the new law needed to be taken before Jan. 1, 2012.
If the library and township are under the same six year contract, why did the library need to choose an option? The Township did not choose an option? More answers are needed.
The following was copied from the Municipal Employees' Retirement System (MERS). I am including it here for reference as to what PA 152 (or Senate Bill 7) states.
Governor Signs Health Care Bill New law requires health care contributions by public employees
Oct. 4, 2011 - Governor Snyder signed Senate Bill 7 into law on Sept. 24, 2011, legislation that requires the following for public active employees:
OR, by a majority vote of its governing body, a public employer could adopt the following:
- An annual employer payment limit of $5,500 for single employee, $11,000 for an employee and spouse and $15,000 for a family
- Annual adjustments in the payment limit based upon the medical care component of the US consumer price index
The new law, Public Act (PA) 152 of 2011, does not affect current retirees. Current collective bargaining agreements would remain in effect until they expire, but any agreement executed on or after Sept. 15, 2011 must comply with the new limits. A local unit of government could exempt itself from the requirements of the legislation, but to do so would require a 2/3 vote of its governing body and also the approval of the chief executive of the entity. Failure to comply could result in a reduction in economic vitality incentive program (revenue sharing) payments.
- Health insurance coverage with an employer payment limit of no more than 80% and an employee contribution of at least 20%.
The legislation has an effective date of Jan. 1, 2012.