SOUTHINGTON — The town now has a policy on when it can use excess money from its self-insurance fund, a move officials took earlier this year to make up losses in state funding.
The policy, approved by the Town Council Monday, outlines the target range for the fund and sets guidelines for when surpluses can be used for annual operating expenses. It also sets rules on when surpluses can be put aside for future expenses and when they can be used for wellness programs.
The self-insurance fund is used to pay medical claims by town and Board of Education employees.
Chris Poulos, a town councilor and Self-Insurance Committee chairman, said although any transfers need to be approved by the council, he felt guidelines were important for committee members.
Education officials earlier this year proposed a self-insurance contribution holiday, in which the district and town would keep money usually paid into the self-insurance fund for a period, to make up for the loss in state funding. Town and education employees didn’t have to make contributions to the fund for that period as well.
The holiday netted the board $637,000 and the town just under $200,000.
“There was no language last year, we just did it,” Poulos said. “It was under a lot of debate. Now there’s some guidance.”
The guidelines were established based on recommendations from the town’s actuary. If the fund exceeds certain thresholds, Poulos said the policy allows another insurance contribution holiday or for the funding of employee wellness programs.
Tom Lombardi, a Republican councilor and committee member, said the policy is good to have and allows for flexibility if circumstances change.
“It is good to have something written down that the committee can look at,” he said. “The council does have the final authority on decisions outlined in this policy. This is a good document but it’s not set in stone that the council has to do these things.”
Thus far this year Poulos said claims are more than $700,000 lower than expected.
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