Meade County approves 2022 budget

STURGIS — The Meade County Commission has approved a 2022 budget of $21,554,000.

That figure does not include operational transfers and the county’s self-insurance fund.

When compared to the 2021 approved budget of $19,975,362, the budget request shows a 7.9% increase.

But the county’s portion of property taxes are likely to go down, said Commissioner Doreen Creed.

The county’s portion of the 2022 tax levy is 4.049, or about $4 for every $1,000 in property valuation. That compares to the 4.266 for 2021.

In the county’s provisional budget, personnel was calculated at current staffing levels and did not include cost of living or step increases for staff.

In the final budget, the commission approved adding a planner/building inspector, three correctional officers, one sheriff’s deputy, and one civil engineer as full-time employees.

Currently the county has 113 full-time employees, 10 elected officials, 19 part-time employees, five short-term employees and 10 board members for a total of 157.

The 2022 budget includes a 4.5% cost of living raise and continued step increases for employees.

But county employees will see a 9.5% increase in healthcare insurance premiums in 2022. Originally, the county was looking at a nearly 35 to 40 percent increase on their self-funded program. But, by making some changes, the county brought it down to a 9.5% increase, said Commission Assistant/Human Resources Director Jerry Derr.

Some of the changes include changing the pharmacy plan from “BlueRx Complete” to “BlueRx Value Plus.” Increasing the office copay cost to employees from $25 per visit to $30 per visit, and increasing the deductible from $1,500/$3,000 to $2,500/$5,000 and increase the out of pocket maximum from $4,500/$9,000 to $5,000/$10,000.

Commissions discussed and ultimately approved including 2.12% growth in the calculation for revenue. But the commission decided to bank its 1.2% consumer price index increase from this year.

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