Bob Poitras addresses members of the Board of Supervisors about the PERMA agreement.
Essex County may extend an agreement for worker’s compensation insurance for the next two years.
Bob Poitras addressed members of the Personnel and Administration Committee July 16 about the two-year extension of PERMA on Volunteer Firefighters and EMS policy for workers compensation.
“The goal of the Essex County Fire and EMS policy is to keep the costs of insurance down for the districts involved,” Poitras said. “We go to marketplace and purchase insurance on a wholesale basis.”
Poitras said that there are currently 25 districts that are part of the pact (three in the county are not) and that the current market would favor the PERMA proposal.
“PERMA is the largest provider of municipal workers comp in the state and one of the top 10 in the country,” he said. “They assume the risk from the first dollar. Three fire districts are not part of the plan. We can get with them to give them a quote and it may end up saving everyone.”
Chesterfield Supervisor and committee chair Gerald Morrow said that the county handles the agreement and receives payments from those who are part of the plan.
“We pay for the insurance and then the fire companies reimburse us,” Morrow said. “I hope that we continue to allow them to do that in March when they get their tax revenue in.”
From bill to flyer
County Manager Daniel Palmer also spoke on eliminating a local law that was established last year to let county residents know how much of their tax dollars were being used on unfunded state mandates.
“We had a local law that allowed us to put a separate column on the tax rolls that showed how much of the budget goes to Medicaid,” Palmer said. “That is not comprehensive enough. They are asking that the local law be repealed and a tax bill flyer be enclosed with a look at the state mandates and the impact of the mandates. It would be inserted with every bill and posted on the county website.”
County chairman Randy Douglas agreed.
“The flyer is much easier to understand and comprehend,” Douglas said. “People will be shocked at the potion of our county budget that goes toward the state mandates.”
“I thought that what we did last year was a great idea that did not work,” Westport Supervisor Daniel Connell said. “People thought it was a tax increase when it was not. This is a great alternative that will help people understand their taxes.”
“They thought that was a straight state tax,” Palmer added. “I think that the best is to eliminate that line on the tax bills and go this way.”