She said that she and Gardner worked with the unions to implement the cost reduction, and they hope to continue these reforms in the future.
Gardner said that as the county moves forward this year, officials are hoping to freeze taxes.
"When you're able to get cost savings in programs such as this program, it becomes a more achievable goal to do a zero percent tax increase or even a tax cut," said Gardner. "In order to do it, health insurance is a huge portion of the county budget for employees and retirees. It's probably in the $20 million range so if you're able to avoid the double-digit increases that have been plaguing health-care benefits and in fact have a reduction in expenditures, then it's possible that you can do these things."
He said that he and Dagostino have spent a significant amount of time looking at health-care issues and how to provide a decent level of benefits for employees while still saving money.
"It's part of a multi-front strategy in saving money on the taxpayer front. We're working hard in that regard," said Gardner.""