FLINT (WJRT) - (08/21/19) - Genesee County commissioners were back to work Wednesday trying to find room to fund the VEBA trust in a budget workshop meeting.
The trust, which funds retiree health care benefits, could run dry in the first quarter of 2020 unless commissioners find a solution.
The commissioners are now turning to department heads.
"We'll send out a notice to each department head letting them know we'd appreciate it if they would go back and look at their budget again and try to make more cuts," said Commissioner Kim Courts said.
Commissioner Kim Courts says commissioners have placed $18 million in the budget for the year to fund the VEBA trust, but now it's about determining what will happen the following year.
The 2019-2020 budget takes effect on October 1.
They've asked department heads to look at a 10-percent cut.
Commissioner Martin Cousineau says consultants and attorneys have come in to review 18 or more different contracts and will recommend health care policies that are less expensive as health care costs rise.
"In the following year, those healthcare benefits will be even higher, so it gives us a year to figure out how to deal with that before we get to the point where the expenses for everything, including the health care, is higher than what the revenue and our fund balance is," Cousineau said. "So we're trying to figure it out, and if we can't the state will come in and do it," Martin Cousineau.
Cousineau says it'll be about three months before the consultant comes back withrecommendations after reviewing the contracts.
Meanwhile, the next budget sub-committee meeting is scheduled for August 28. Retirees are encouraged to attend.