Council Faces Key Budget Votes
Votes likely on city employee health benefits, budgets for city administration and legislative departments. Read the documents here.
Hyattsville's City Council will consider a number of budget measures tonight, including a somewhat controversial slate of changes to city employee health insurance plans.
Mayor Marc Tartaro and City Treasurer Elaine Stookey have urged the City Council to act swiftly on the health care overhaul, which is designed to address a projected $10 million unfunded liability for future retiree health care costs. The liability has already grown to roughly $1 million.
The latest version of a proposed overhaul for city employee health care benefits was unveiled before a special session of the City Council last week.
Most controversial for city employees, is proposal to put a dollar cap on the city contribution for health insurance. Currently, Hyattsville picks up the tab for 80 percent of total monthly premium costs.
The Hyattsville Fraternal Order of Police have objected to the health care overhaul, saying that it could lead to higher health care costs in the future if the dollar cap is not raised on pace with inflation.
If the city declines to go with a cap, Stookey suggested setting up a trust fund to pay down the liability. However, starting a trust fund to cover an existing $1.2 million unfunded liability would require a 4.2 percent across the board cut in budgets for city services. Larger departments, such as the police department would have to take a larger cut.
The City Council will also likely vote on the 2013 legislative, general government and fire department budgets.
The legislative budget, which covers expenses for City Council, the city clerk, the Mayor's office, and the city elections board, is seeing a 23 percent increase in its budget over the current fiscal year. Much of that comes from an election year funding boost received by the Board of Elections to administer the November general election.
The general government budget, which covers the city's finance, legal, human resources and other administrative functions, is set to receive a 34.5 percent increase in its budget, up more than half a million dollars to $2.3 million for 2013. Much of that increase comes from double-digit percentage increases across the city administration. The general government budget includes new line items money for the recently hired human resources director, a new IT director, a new city administrator and an assistant city administrator.
The City Council will also consider a $50,000 donation to the Hyattsville Volunteer Fire Department.
Tonights meeting begins at 8 p.m. at the Hyattsville Municipal Building on Gallatin Street. The meeting will be broadcast on Comcast channel 71 and Verizon channel 12. Hyattsville Patch will also be on hand to live blog throughout the meeting.