The Leesburg Town Council may have found its first fiscal year 2023 General Fund enhancement—better health insurance rates for Town Council members.
The council discussed the subject of health insurance rates at its July 12 work session. Currently, according to Human Resources Director Joshua Didawick, council members are eligible for the same health insurance coverage as town employees, but pay different rates. There are three rate structures in place: one for regular full-time town employees; one for regular part-time town employees; and one for elected officials. The premiums are built into the town’s annual General Fund budget.
Currently, the town’s annual contribution for elected officials’ health insurance coverage is $4,164 for coverage for the council member only; $8,016 if the council member elects for one additional family member; and $11,268 for family coverage. Only two of the sitting council members are enrolled in the town’s health insurance, but their identities were not disclosed. According to Public Information Officer Betsy Arnett, council participation in the town’s health insurance program is considered personnel records that are exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.
A majority supported moving elected officials’ health insurance rates to mirror those of regular part-time town employees. If so, the town’s annual contribution would increase by a little more than $2,000 for individual only coverage; $2,856 for employee plus one; and a $3,420 for family coverage.
“A lot of us are very privileged to be able to serve on the council. Unfortunately, other folks are not as privileged and may like to serve. Any kind of extra benefit that would allow a unique, diverse group of people to decide they can run would only benefit the town,” Councilman Zach Cummings said in support of the change.
Mayor Kelly Burk suggested that the council wait on enacting such a change until the spring’s budget deliberations, as that would give the public the chance to weigh in during a review of the entire fiscal year 2023 spending plan. The rest of the council supported her suggestion.