County employees opting for single-coverage health insurance will again not have to pay monthly premiums after the Codington County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved Tuesday Sanford Health projects for 2023.

But at least two commissioners believe that perhaps in the years to come, employees should have to contribute.

The discussion came after commissioners approved the new policy, which saw a 6.5 per cent increase from 2022.

Both Myron Johnson and Charlie Waterman said they thought the commission should consider having employees contribute to bonuses. Commissioners Troy Van Dusen and Brenda Hanten said the individual bonuses paid give the county an advantage over the higher salaries found in competing private sector jobs.

Waterman said that one of three options available for single coverage offers almost $11,000 savings to an employee.

“So everybody wants a good percentage increase (in salary),” Waterman said. “Maybe next year is the time to start thinking ahead.”

VanDusen said he liked the new plan and said it was a benefit offered to county employees.

“It’s an advantage. A huge advantage,” VanDusen said. “I like it and was happy to see it go up by just 6%. I’m not saying we don’t need to look at that, but it’s one thing that when people decide to come and work for the county or staying with county health insurance is a great thing.

Listener Cindy Brugmanwho is retiring this year, said in a recent job interview that a candidate said the salary offered by the county was lower than her current salary, but that she would consider county benefits before determining where to work.

Hanten said insurance benefits are one thing the county can do to entice qualified people to work for the county and retain them.

County employees have three options based on deductible costs. All offer free premiums for single coverage. The county pays half of the premium costs for family plans.

The compilation of real estate appraisals will begin soon

Brugman, Director of Equalization, provided monthly reports Shawna Constant and Director of Wellness Sara Foust.

Constant said his office is completing field valuation work and the property valuation process will soon begin.

Foust noted that there had been a “significant increase” in mental health issues in the county. She spoke with human services agency responsible for the increase and said it can be difficult to find facilities to help those in crisis. She said the new HSA facility will help alleviate the problem, but completion of that structure has been delayed due to construction shortages.

Foust also said the Helpline Center, which began serving Watertown earlier this year, is able to handle calls 93% of the time without needing to call law enforcement. She told the commissioners that her department continues to work on obtaining a van formerly used by the Veterans Services Bureau. The owner of the van is the Disabled American Veterans organization.

In other actions, the commissioners:

* Approved a seasonal memorial park campground management services agreement with Scott and Gail Wahl for $19,000.

* Created an account with Reliabank of Watertown which will be used for bookings made at memorial park.

* Authorized commission President Hanten will sign a lease termination agreement for the Girl Scout property at memorial park.

* Accepted one $1,000 grant from the Watertown Area Community Foundation for an investigation into child custody in the county.