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Lanesborough Dips Into Reserves To Pay Insurance Bills

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff
09:11PM / Monday, August 04, 2014
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The Finance Committee approved the transfer on Monday night.
LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — The town is already dipping into its reserves after insurance bills came in $10,800 more than anticipated. 
On Monday, the Finance Committee approved transferring the $10,800 from the reserve account, which opened the fiscal year in July at $40,000.
The transfer pays the last insurance bill, which is for police and fire accident insurance.
"We don't have much of a choice. We have a bill and we have to pay it. We can't go without insurance," Finance Committee member Ronald Tinkham said.
According to Town Administrator Paul Sieloff, the town hadn't received "firm numbers" from the insurance company until after the budget was crafted. Sieloff estimated nearly $100,000 in insurance costs but that was ultimately short.
"They wouldn't give me a firm number. This year I had to come up with an estimate," Sieloff said.
With insurance costs at $110,000, the Finance Committee is questioning if there are ways to better serve the taxpayers. In the fall, the committee is looking to further discuss the town's various options.
"I would like to look into different insurance companies or higher deductibles," said Finance Committee member Christine Galib
Sieloff said the premiums are expected to decrease significantly next year. In the last three years, there have been three claims — one unemployment and two vehicle accident claims. However, one accident and the unemployment claim will drop off the policy, Sieloff said, so the annual cost will drop significantly. 
Last year, with only those two claims on the record, the town paid about $82,000 for insurance. Most of the town's insurance costs are in two sectors — about $46,000 for worker's compensation and about $44,000 for property and liability. Sieloff said the town pays all of the annual bills at once at the start of the fiscal year and only the $15,000 bill for fire and police accident remains.
In other business, the committee is asking the Board of Selectmen to appoint Steve Wentworth to fill its vacant seat. Longtime member William Stevens did not run for re-election and nobody else ran. 
Wentworth sat in on Monday's meeting. Wentworth received his bachelor's degree from North Adams State College (now Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts) and his master's from Western New England College. He worked in the finance department at the former General Electric and is currently at Crane & Co. He is retiring in the fall.
"I've been in accounting and finance for most of my career," he told the other members.

Tags: appointments,   Finance Committee,   insurance,   

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