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Park board talks about health care plan at WRCC

DICKINSON - Discussion regarding a new health care plan that is to be instated at Dickinson's West River Community Center continued at the Dickinson Park Board's monthly roundtable meeting on Friday.

The program involves Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota and the National Independent Health Club Association working together with WRCC to reimburse eligible members using the WRCC.

Parks and Recreation Director James Kramer said individuals around the community have been inquiring about the program.

"We have had an unbelievable response as far as calls and requests for when it's going to start, and how it's going to work," Kramer said. "Member retention and member recruitment is going to be a tremendous asset."

He added individuals in other parts of North Dakota do not seem to be taking full advantage of the program.

"They're getting a good response as far as people wanting to join, but most of them aren't making their requirements to get their reimbursement," Kramer said.

Individuals who are eligible for the program, but do not utilize it will not be reimbursed for using the WRCC's services.

Kramer also discussed the financial impact the program is expected to have on the park district.

"In a nutshell, what it's going to cost us is $800 annually and then depending on how many members we have taking advantage of it, it could be $50 total for a month or 30 cents per transaction," Kramer said.

One issue that still must be worked out is adequate staffing to tackle the paperwork involved with the program.

Kramer said a company called Apex is to help with some of the workload, but the number of WRCC members expected to be eligible for the program is apparently much larger than Apex normally accommodates.

"We're working with 4,000 to 5,000 members and they're used to working with 400 to 500," Kramer said. "We will have some issues to get through."

The park district also has finalized the actual amount of back taxes owed, which resulted from a payroll error. Kramer said $14,886.60 is the total amount the park district owes in unpaid taxes.

The error was discovered earlier this year.

During June's roundtable meeting, park board commissioners decided the best way to resolve the issue was to use the emergency fund to pay the debt.

Current park district employees will still have to deal with the taxes on the $14,886.60. Kramer said depending on individual retirement plans, the amount owed by each employee ranges from $20 to $300. Park district employees will have 10 payments deducted from their paychecks from August to December.

"Starting Jan. 1, all of this will be cleared up and finalized and checks will be back to normal," Kramer said.

In other matters, the budget committee plans to submit a preliminary budget to park board commissioners in September. The final budget is to be submitted for approval on Oct. 6.