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City budget burdened by health care | News, Sports, Jobs

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Nashua Mayor Jim Donchess reviews files, scanning through information regarding the city’s $317 million budget plan for fiscal year 2020.

NASHUA – Increasing health care costs seem to be a fact of life for virtually everyone these days, including Nashua city leaders.

A special Budget Review Committee meeting is set for 7 p.m. today in the auditorium at City Hall, 229 Main St., for the purpose of discussing how health care expenses are affecting the city’s budget.

Mayor Jim Donchess, Chief Financial Officer John Griffin and Administrative Services Director Kim Kleiner are scheduled to make the presentation. Those representing the Police Commission, Fire Commission, Board of Education and other interested parties have been invited to attend the public meeting.

Facing rapidly rising health care costs, officials will discuss multiple possible remedies to the problem.

“This is not an isolated case,” Donchess said Wednesday. “Health care costs, nationally, are going up very rapidly. We’re part of this national trend and we’re not the only ones dealing with it. As far as our local taxpayers are concerned, what we do here is the most critical thing.”

Officials are also anticipating future health care cost hikes. Nashua experienced an 11% increase in health care costs for the current fiscal year as compared to the previous one, while leaders are projecting an additional 8.6% jump in fiscal year 2021. Donchess said health care professionals tell him the city should expect its health care bills to jump by 9% each year for the next five years.

This then adds more than $3 million to the budget every year, placing a lot of financial pressure on taxes and services.

Adam Urquhart may be contacted at 594-1206, or at aurquhart@nashuatelegraph.com.

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