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Rindge to save nearly $2K on insurance costs

RINDGE — The town is expected to save nearly $2,000 on its workers’ compensation and property/liability insurance this year, after implementing a series of best management practices in 2011.

Primex — Rindge’s property/liability, workers comp and unemployment comp insurance provider — is offering a 2.5 percent savings incentive to towns that implement a series of safety measures and then maintain those practices. Among the requirements are annual safety inspections of town buildings, the adoption of a safety policy manual, an active safety committee, as well as town employee attendance at a workshop on harassment, according to Primex’s website.

Primex presented the town of Rindge with the “Prime Program for Risk Management Excellence” award at the Select Board’s meeting on March 11. The 2.5 percent insurance discount went into effect Feb. 1, said Town Administrator Carlotta Lilback Pini in an interview with the Ledger-Transcript on Tuesday.

In 2012, Rindge paid $31,696 for its workers comp insurance and $35,280 for its property liability insurance. With the 2.5 percent savings this year, Pini said taxpayers will see a $1,675 reduction in the cost of coverage.

New Hampshire law requires every town in the state to have a joint loss management committee or safety committee that meets quarterly, Pini said. Rindge’s Safety Committee, which is composed of town employees and town management, tries to meet on a monthly basis, she said.

“At our most recent meeting we identified a list of safety improvements needed in town buildings, and we will be working in the near future to prioritize those, taking into consideration the cost involved, as well as the implications for not addressing them,” Pini said.

The town’s current budget limbo, though, may delay some of the work.

At the polls on March 12, voters rescinded a 2012 vote that would have changed the town’s fiscal year with a one-time 18-month budget. Now the town is without a budget and must petition the Cheshire County Superior Court to hold a Special Town Meeting, in order to implement a 12-month budget that starts Jan. 1 and ends Dec. 31. Though a majority of voters cast their ballot in favor of the 18-month, $5,424,329 operating budget, the vote to rescind takes precedence and the 18-month budget does not apply, according to town officials.

As a result, Pini said that while the town is in budget limbo it must spend conservatively, which may mean putting off projects unless there is an immediate need.

The town’s Highway Department had proposed a warrant article for $15,000 to fund the purchase of an exhaust system for the highway garage, but voters defeated the article, 369 Yes to 584 No votes. While the Select Board and Safety Committee unanimously supported the appropriation during the 2013 budgeting process, the Budget Advisory Committee did not.

“I don’t know where the exhaust project will go this year,” Pini said, “but I think it’s worth bringing back to the voters in 2014. It is work that needs to be done to ensure the safety of our highway workers.”

Alyssa Dandrea can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 228 or adandrea@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter at @alyssadandrea.

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