By Ken de la Bastide
Tribune enterprise editor
It now appears a bookkeeping error in the Tipton County Auditor’s office had members of the county council wondering where an additional $200,000 would be found to pay for health insurance.
Council members earlier this month were informed by Auditor Greg Townsend that the $150,000 budgeted for Group Medical insurance was spent by the end of June.
The account was $15,784 in the red at the time and a $16,919 transfer from the County Adjusted Gross Income Tax was only enough for one month.
Townsend said Friday that a bookkeeping error might have resulted in Group Medical insurance being made from the CAGIT account instead of from the budgets of the Highway and Health Departments.
“It will be a significant amount being reimbursed to the CAGIT account,” he said. “The funds should have come from the departmental budgets.”
Councilwoman Suzanne Alexander said the Audit Finance Committee, consisting of council members, Townsend and Treasurer Bonita Guffey are reviewing the books to determine how much should be returned to the CAGIT account.
“We’re not sure of the amount,” she said. “It could be a sizeable amount transferred back to the right account.”
Councilwoman Beth Roach said at the council meeting it would have to appropriate additional funds in August for the remainder of the year.
Townsend said at least $200,000 more would be need in the Group Medical account for the remainder of 2013.
The increase is a result of more employees enrolling in the Group Medical plan and a rate increase, Townsend said.
“Group Medical has been hit significantly by employees signing up,” he said. “The county’s expenses are increasing.”
Council members also approved a transfer in the Health Department budget of $1,878 to cover Group Medical costs in the department.
Townsend said the Health Department is requesting an additional $9,000 at the August meeting to cover the costs for the remainder of the year.
A letter from the Health Department to the council indicated the department requested $33,000 for 2013 in the Group Medical account and only $10,000 was approved.
Council members are seeking an explanation of why the cost is increasing significantly and if additional employees in the Health Department signed up for Group Medical insurance.