CHARLESTON - Mississippi County commissioners rescinded last week's approval of an agent letter of record for Blue Cross-Blue Shield health insurance. "If anybody wants to bid on it, fine," said Jim Blumenberg, presiding commissioner.
During their previous meeting commissioners approved a request from Mitchell Insurance designating them the county's agent of record for Blue Cross-Blue Shield, giving them exclusive rights to provide Blue Cross-Blue Shield insurance to the county.
Commissioners voted to reverse this decision during Thursday's county commission meeting after discussing how they had received complaints.
"Personally, I don't think Blue Cross will be in the ballpark," said Homer Oliver, commissioner.
The county is presently insured by the Trustmark company through Brink Insurance with a March 1 anniversary date.
In related discussion, Blumenberg said the commissioners may need to consider capping the county's contribution toward employee dependents' premiums at a set amount instead of paying a percentage.
Commissioner Martin Lucas suggested they wait and see how bad the expected rate increase actually is before making a decision.
County Clerk Junior DeLay said only 20 of the county's 78 employees opted to insure a dependent on their plan. Of those, only seven have the full family plan. "We had several drop last year," DeLay said.
In other Mississippi County commission business:
* Commissioners discussed bridge projects for the coming year, the first being a rail-car bridge to replace three pipes under County Road 532 at Maple Slough.
"The bridges we built so far are super," said Blumenberg, noting the county builds them for around $22,000. "They serve their purpose."
* Commissioners will seek a $19,000 solid waste grant through the Bootheel Solid Waste Management District to go toward the purchase of a limb grinder.
The project's total, after considering the cost of labor, operating trucks, and advertising, will be $34,855 for the program's first year including the grinder's $24,000 price.
DeLay said he is gathering letters of support for the application.
The deadline for grant applications is Dec. 31
* Commissioners have decided to purchase a used rock spreader from the Apex paving company for $500 to be used during next year's blacktopping season.
"When they used it last, it worked," said Blumenberg. He said that even if the county has to invest some money into the machine, it should still be a good buy for the county.
Apex agreed to drop off the machine next time they have a truck in the area, according to commissioners.
* Oliver reported locations for the trees to be planted at the county-maintained Oak Grove Cemetery are marked.
Commissioners also discussed putting in a well and pump to water the trees.
* Lucas volunteered to attend a Department of Justice training session March 19-21 in Mountain Home, Ark.
The session is for sheriffs, jail administrators and county commissioners, according to Blumenberg.
Commissioners agreed it was important for someone from the county to attend as it may help the county secure more Department of Justice grants.
* The county will pay the recently-mandated retirement fund contribution for county employees hired prior to Jan. 1, 2003.
DeLay explained the state legislature recently passed a bill requiring employees hired after Feb. 25, 2002, to contribute 4 percent of their gross income to the County Employee Retirement Fund. The bill included a retroactive provision.
DeLay said employees hired in the future will be advised during the application process that they will be required to pay the 4-percent contribution themselves.
* The county commission meeting will be Wednesday instead of Thursday next week due to Thanksgiving.