BEECH MOUNTAIN — The Beech Mountain Town Council reconvened for its monthly council meeting on Nov. 10 in which public comments were submitted to the council via email.

After approving the minutes from last month’s meeting, the council discussed the results of a health insurance committee report, in which a focus group consisting of staff and employees completed a survey related to employees with dependent coverage. The change in the insurance plan is meant to help the town control costs.

According to Town Manager Bob Pudney, the survey results and the committee recommended to the council that an increase in employee contribution for dependent care is recommended. The committee also requested that the increase be incremental over the next three budget cycles, targeting 35- to 40-percent contribution.

“They’re willing to pay more for good, dependent health insurance, and they’re willing to be part of the solution with the town. What they would like (the council) to consider is not changing the plan every year or two,” Pudney said.

The town currently pays 100 percent of employee health insurance costs. However, for employees with dependents, the town pays 80 percent, which makes up about 50 percent of the town’s employees. The council made no decision related to the report, but one is expected when the council when the town begins its budgeting process in the spring.

According to the town’s infrastructure report, Beech Mountain is continuing to see an increase in the number of permits and inspections being issued. The town is 34 percent above its water usage level compared to last year, meaning the town is maintaining a high occupancy going into the winter months.

The town is continuing to see an increase in its population and the number of homes that are sold. In response to the positive numbers, the council discussed potentially transferring funds in order to reduce the amount of marketing that the town is currently engaged in.

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