Commissioners, county officials start budget talks

Boone County Commissioners and department heads began discussions on the county’s 2019-20 fiscal budget during the commissioners’ meeting Monday, July 8.
Commission Chairman Alan Rasmussen said the board would like to make some spending cuts where possible. County Clerk Kathy Thorberg noted that the federal cost of living increase was 1.8 percent from the past year, compared to 2.8 percent for the previous year.
The county’s Blue Cross/Blue Shield health insurance rates increased by only one percent this year, compared to 14 percent the previous year.
Thorberg noted the county will spend $963,660 on health insurance premium cost during the current fiscal year. Boone County is one of only five Nebraska counties that still pay full health insurance cost for employees through the Nebraska Association of County Officials (NACO) BC/BS program.
Commissioners debated whether to continue the merit-based portion of wage increases for hourly employees. This program was instituted last year and requires annual evaluation of employee performance.