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Health costs leave Marion cash-poor

MARION – Marion has started the new year with virtually no money on hand after its mayor said the community was buffeted by rising health-care costs.

Marion began 2012 with $2.3 million in cash reserves but ended it with just $44,000, leaving it unable to repay a $1 million short-term loan from Marion Municipal Utilities.

Controller Cindy Wright told the Chronicle-Tribune ( the city is working to repay that loan as soon as possible.

Mayor Wayne Seybold said the numbers show Marion’s fiscal “disaster” came mostly from health insurance, not administration overspending. Marion’s health insurance reserve fund that supports city workers’ coverage went from a $2 million deficit to a $5 million deficit last year.

Seybold said Marion is poised to rebuild its finances during 2013.