Kidder Township supervisors unanimously voted to place a cap on the health care costs for township employees at Thursday's regular board meeting.

The employees affected by the new motion will retain the same health care coverage as they received in 2009.

If the costs of the health care coverage were to increase, the individual employees would then be expected to pay the difference out of pocket. Township employees will also not receive any raises in 2010 in hopes of eliminating some extra cost to the township.

The move by the board to place a cap on their health care costs stems from the recent economic down turn. The township has worked hard for nearly twenty years to acquire a significant reserve fund for Kidder Township to fall back on during tough times.

Over the last two years nearly forty percent of that reserve fund has been absorbed into the township's budget.

The supervisors, chaired by Larry Polansky, are looking for ways to help ensure that the surplus will be used as little as possible.

Kidder Township receives the majority of its income from the businesses in the township. The board felt that to raise taxes would only increase the economic strain on the already beleaguered businesses in the township. The board of supervisors is also looking at increasing fees on inspections and applications submitted to the township.

If the economic conditions in the township do not improve, the next step the board of supervisors would have to consider would be layoffs. Regrettably, the first place the board would have to look to save money would be the police department since they make up the largest portion of the budget for Kidder Township. After that, they would look to save money by cutting back on township staff. Kidder Township supervisors are aware of about fifty layoffs in the township that has only 1,100 residents.

Due to on going negotiations with the police department over contracts, the health care cap for township employees will only affect non-uniform employees.

Police officers would still be covered under the current agreement.