What Is the Capital Improvement Plan and What the Vote on the Plan Means for Ashland

Because of the amount of information on our Capital Improvement Project Plan, this post is written as an outline rather than in narrative form. Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) Overview: Timeframe, Inputs and Individual Project Approval The Capital Plan is a 20-year document compiling all the infrastructure needs for this time period.  Each department (water, electric,Continue reading “What Is the Capital Improvement Plan and What the Vote on the Plan Means for Ashland”

Utility Rates Begin With Master Plans

In our recent forums, council candidates received an excellent question about our Water Master Plan directing rate increases of 4% year over year. This begs the question, how are our utility rates established and what drives the increases? I love this question because it focuses on a critical part of the rate setting process. OurContinue reading “Utility Rates Begin With Master Plans”

Specialty Drug Spend – Cost Drivers and Impacts

Specialty medications are biology-based medications, administered either orally or through injection, and are used to treat chronic, complex conditions 1. Why does this class of medication matter? Specialty drug spending drives considerable healthcare costs for individuals and employers. While working for a specialty pharmacy, it was not uncommon to receive multiple price increases for aContinue reading “Specialty Drug Spend – Cost Drivers and Impacts”

Health Care Considerations

Over the last three years health care costs have increased annually by 5-6% out pacing inflation1. According to Price Waterhouse Coopers Health Research Institute the three primary drivers include increasing prescription drug prices, chronic disease, and greater utilization of mental health benefits1. Looking ahead to 2021 this trend was predicted to continue.  However, COVID-19 impactsContinue reading “Health Care Considerations”

What Is PERS And Why Does It Impact Ashland’s Budget?

What is PERS? PERS stands for the Public Employee Retirement System and constitutes the retirement pension system for Oregon public employees including, but not limited to, our police, fire fighters, and school teachers. Oregon PERS is currently underfunded by $27 Billion dollars statewide1. Subsequently for most municipalities, 25% of total payroll costs are allocated toContinue reading “What Is PERS And Why Does It Impact Ashland’s Budget?”