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NEWS STORIES

Oneida County Realizes Big Savings From Insurance, Retirement PlansSubmitted: 10/30/2012

RHINELANDER - Budgets will go in front of county boards across the Northwoods over the next few weeks.

In Oneida County, the budget will reflect significant savings.

The county saved more than $550,000 last year because of changes to collective bargaining and retirement contributions.

Human Resources director Lisa Charbarneau says some of the changes to health care plans were minor - but the changes resulted in big savings.

"We increased the employees contribution level," Charbarneau said.

"The employees are paying an additional 3 percent towards that premium. We have seen good renewal numbers for 2013 and with some negotiating with our health insurance company and changes to deductibles we're hoping to hold that increase down to less than six percent."

She also said it gives local government a chance to look at multiple options.

"It does give us some more flexibility in order to look at those plan designs and that we can change them more often," Charbarneau said.

"With the contracts in place as they were, we used to have to bargain those changes with each individual union with the county. With if there's six, you could have six different health plans."

The county has also completed work on next year's budget.

It's now heading to the county board for possible amendments.

Charbarneau says this year's budget is even more promising.

"The final budget that is being submitted to the county board is actually below a zero percent tax levy increase," Charbarneau said.

"They've worked very hard to get it to that number. Certainly there can be additional amendments and changes made."

The county board will review the budget next month.

Story By: Matt Doyle

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