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BWC could return $1.8M to local agencies

Nearly 70 public employers in Clark and Champaign counties could see a combined $1.8 million refund on their 2011 Bureau of Worker’s Compensation premiums — and could see a 4 percent reduction in future rates — if a proposal is passed later this month.

The plan would return nearly $1.3 million to 34 schools, governments and other agencies in Clark County and about $564,000 to 32 in Champaign County from surplus BWC assets, a press release from Gov. John Kasich’s office announced this week.

The local rebates are among nearly $113 million that would be passed back to nearly 3,800 public employers statewide from excess BWC assets, if the bureau’s board of directors approves the proposal May 30.

That translates to an approximate 56 percent rebate on the premiums paid by counties, cities, schools, villages, townships and other agencies statewide that have public employees and subscribe to the BWC, according to Kasich’s office.

Locally, school districts in Clark County would benefit most from the rebate with nearly $640,000 in combined rebates.

The city of Springfield alone would see a rebate of nearly $360,000.

Springfield Finance Director Mark Beckdahl said the city would likely return any BWC money it received back to the funds from which they came, but didn’t currently have plans for it except possibly to pay BWC premiums in advance per a payment schedule change.

“We currently pay our premiums in arrears, and they’re talking about wanting us to pay them up front, so that’s liable to chew up a lot of that cash we get back,” Beckdahl said, if the proposal passes.

In Champaign County, the auditor’s office would most benefit from the proposal with a more than $217,000 rebate; school districts there would get more than $148,000.

Champaign County Auditor Karen T. Bailey was out of the office and not available for comment Tuesday.

Kasich’s proposal includes a 4 percent BWC rate reduction for public employers on future payments.

“I’d have to look at how that’s going to shake out,” Beckdahl said. “Four percent of our premium, if you base it on last year, would be about $43,000, so it’d be a nice savings for us.”

It also calls for a $3 increase in state grant funds to match every $1 spent spent by employers, up to $40,000, for the purchase of safety equipment.

The proposal by the governor and BWC Administrator/CEO Steve Buehrer is part of “A Billion Back” campaign that returns BWC premiums to public and private employers.

“The proposal will be funded from BWC’s net assets, which have grown to $8.3 billion and are far in excess of the target funding ratio of assets to liabilities established by the BWC board in 2008,” according to the state.

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