News from Gaston Gazette:

Gaston County commissioners on Tuesday voted unanimously to give themselves and future commissioners the right to purchase taxpayer-subsidized health insurance through the county even after they leave office.

The only prerequisite for the benefit is that an elected commissioner must serve at least one four-year term. Afterward, they will have access to health benefits until they become eligible for Medicare.

The decision didn’t sit well with many people this week, including several who offered public comment during Tuesday’s meeting. Gaston County is now struggling to absorb rising costs of providing health insurance for its full-time employees. The county is spending about $ 10 million on health insurance this year, and that cost is expected to rise by roughly 10 percent, or $ 1.2 million, next year, said County Manager Earl Mathers.

Though county commissioners are considered part-time employees, several said Tuesday that paints an inaccurate picture of the many hours they must put into being elected officia……….. continues on Gaston Gazette.

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