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by Patty Cheffey
It was good news for Marion County as their health insurance numbers came in at an average 2 percent decrease.
Carla Meyers with First State Insurance, was present at Monday’s Marion County Commission meeting to update them on the new numbers. Also Monday the commissioners approved the purchase of a new sheriff’s vehicle, turned down a request for ARPA funds and discussed the need for a planning and zoning field representative.
According to Meyers, the county’s fixed costs are decreasing 3 percent while its claims liability is down 1 percent. In addition, she said there were no additional liabilities.
If thing stay as they are for the county at a 65 percent or less loss ratio, they will be fine, however if something catastrophic happens and the county is at a 100 percent loss ratio, they will be short around $290,000.
The commissioners voted to keep things as they were as they have been running less or at the 65 percent loss ratio.
Meyers also informed them that as of Oct. 11, employees with dependents can now go through the Affordable Care Act to see if they can save money that way.
Prior to that date, the ACA determined eligibility by including whether or not the employee had affordable health care, which would knock the entire dependents off the eligibility.
The county’s dependent rate is fairly high, Meyers said, noting it could possibly benefit employees with dependents, but it can also be a long, drawn out process.
In other business, the commissioners approved the purchase of a 2023 Chevy Tahoe for the Sheriff’s Department at a cost of $40,982. In addition, it will cost between $6,000 and $8,000 to get the vehicle outfitted.
While the commissioners approved the purchase of this vehicle outright, rather than through a lease-purchase agreement, they noted the other two vehicles the sheriff is waiting on might be purchased the same way and might not, depending on circumstances at the time those vehicles become available.
Sheriff Jimmy Shinn said he will be selling the Dodge Charger with over 150,000 miles on it.
The commissioners also turned down a second time a request for ARPA funds to help pay for water lines on County Road 258 through the Ralls County Water Supply District.
With supply chain issues and inflation, Tyler Shuhlman, with the Ralls County Water Supply District, noted the cost for the project has nearly doubled, and while the district has been planning for that project, they could use help from the county. The district serves approximately 3,000 customers currently in Marion County.
Both Eastern District Commission Larry Welch and Western District Commissioner Steve Begley said they did not believe there were any funds available, and if there were it would be such a small amount as to not be helpful.
Teya Stice, county coordinator, also requested the commissioners consider hiring a field representative to keep track of new buildings in the county, especially those which did not purchase building permits.
The commissioners agreed that a person is necessary, and Presiding Commissioner David Lomax was going to talk to an individual who has expressed interest in the position.
Begley said he also felt planning and zoning needs “some teeth” to go after those who build without getting a permit.
The county also:
• discussed the two bridges they have been awarded to have built. Begley noted it might be possible to get both done in 2023;
• learned Tournear would not be starting until the spring on the roof, and that Stice has asked Kemner to at least get the clock face painting done this year.
• signed the paperwork for the annual CART money for the Highway Department; and
• approved having the public administrator’s office repainted sometime next year.