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Health Insurance Plagues Palmer Budget

Rising health insurance costs in proposed budget have hands tied for Palmer Township officials.

As Palmer Township prepares to finalize its 2013 municipal budget, one area where officials -- like others in municipalities across the state and nation -- have their hands tied are from rising health insurance costs.

In recently detailing expenditures in the tentative budget which must be approved in December, officials had to deal with health insurance costs that are fixed and allow for no wiggle room.

Supervisors Chairman Dave Colver said during a budget meeting last month that health insurance costs rose in the budget 11.7 percent across the board.

Township Manager Christopher Christman said that those costs are a "direct result of federal changes, requirements for municipalities."

"That's just the nature of the beast," Christman said. "We don't have control at the local level."

He said on average that health insurance costs represent 40 percent of township expenses.

Colver agreed.

"It's gotta be at least $1 million," he said. "The police department is $730,000."

Still, Palmer officials were able to hold the line, ensuring no tax hike in Palmer Township for the fifth straight year.

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