Closer Look at BG City Budget

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Bowling Green's City Commission has approved an $84 million spending plan to guide your tax dollars for the next year.

The budget calls for hiring 5 new police officers and 6 firefighters.

The Circus Square project will get more than $3 million to continue buying and developing land downtown.

Commissioners approved $850,000 for a new skate park and $50,000 for a new dog park.

The new budget also provides funding for a host of new road projects included in the long-range transportation plan.

One of the bigger and more unexpected costs in the new budget is the skyrocketing cost of health insurance for city employees and retirees.

The city will pay 86% more for their retirement program this year, mainly as a result of increasing healthcare costs.

The city's self-funded health insurance plan for workers.... will also see a million-dollar increase in funding.

That may prompt the city commission to start asking for more insurance premiums from its employees.

"We're offering a very rich plan for our employees. And we've been able to continue that. With the increases in medical costs we may have to relook at that and make some changes to the plan that we have," said Michele Tolbert, Bowling Green's Human Resources Director.

Tolbert is quick to add that nothing will change this year for the 428 current city employees but any payment changes could come as early as the next fiscal year.