City’s Health Care Costs Jump In Third Quarter

The cost of health care continues to hurt the city of Jamestown.

Joseph Bellitto, city comptroller, presented the third quarter finance report to Jamestown City Council during their work session meeting Monday. Bellitto said health care claims are up 9 percent, about $300,000, compared to last year through the first three quarters.

Along with being over the health care budget, Bellitto said city officials will not meet their budgeted goal of saving $600,000 through the new Medicare subsidy program for retired former city employees. Last year at this time, city officials had projected being able to rollout the new health care program during 2017.

However, because of a delay by the state Financial Restructuring Board for Local Governments in officially approving the proposal, city officials are only now preparing to start the new program. Bellitto said city officials hope to have the program in place by Jan. 1, 2018.

Bellitto said he expects salaries for all departments to come close to meeting budgeted expectations. During the second quarter financial report, he said because of six retirements in the Jamestown Police Department, with buyout packages totaling more than $378,000, that salaries were higher than budgeted because city officials were only expecting one retirement in the department during 2017. Bellitto said if city officials have a typical fourth quarter, total salaries should end up near what was budgeted for the year.

Other financial information Bellitto shared included that the city has used 93 percent of its salt budget; the city has three expired collective bargaining agreements with the International Association of Firefighters Local 1772, Kendall Club Police Benevolent Association and Jamestown City Administrative Association; and the city has a potentially large legal claim liability. Bellitto didn’t go into details about the legal claim, but in July it was announced the state Supreme Court was awarding former Jamestown Police Department Officer Timothy Wright $172,681 in damages stemming from a 2007 Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 claim.

As far as revenues, Bellitto said Jamestown Board of Public Utilities tax equivalence payments are projected to be slightly more than budgeted for the year. Also, he said the city will receive their third quarter sales tax revenue payment Nov. 1. He added the final two quarterly sales tax reports will determine whether the city will meet budgeted revenues for the year.