There have been recent changes to health care for Orange Township employees.

To the Editor:

There have been recent changes to health care for Orange Township employees. Trustees Rob Quigley, Debbie Taranto and I (Fiscal Officer Joel Spitzer) worked diligently to control costs during the recent renewal. Trustee Lisa Knapp was absent for the meeting where insurance renewal was discussed for over three hours.

Township residents can take comfort in the fact that Trustees Quigley and Taranto and I negotiated an insurance renewal package that now requires employee contributions of 5 percent towards their premiums. Additionally, the employee contribution portion will increase 5 percent annually for three years for a contribution total of 15 percent to be paid by employees.

The renewal plan also included an opt-out opportunity for township employees who may have coverage through a spouse. The township has agreed to provide cash in lieu of benefits for participating employees. The cost savings associated with this option cannot be quantified until the township understands how many employees will take advantage of the program. It does provide the opportunity for the township to save thousands from the employees who opt out, because the cash payments pale in comparison to the insurance costs associated with coverage.

The township will ultimately realize savings of more than $1 million. This is an enormous accomplishment, considering there have been no changes to township-provided health care in the history of the township.

Further, the accomplishment is bigger when considered with the recent requirements for union employees to contribute toward their retirement. It is important to note that during union contract negotiations, the firefighters union conceded more than $10,000 per firefighter in pay reductions with the current contract.

Finally, Trustees Quigley and Taranto and I worked to cut more than $1 million from the general fund budget.

Orange Township and the unions have worked together to position Orange Township for sustainability by controlling overall costs and employee package costs.

Residents interested in learning more can contact me at jspitzer@orangetwp.org or on my cellphone at 614-973-9079. Residents can also attend board of trustees meetings the first and third Monday of every month.

Joel Spitzer
Orange Township fiscal officer