Supervisors open bids for health care

Published 12:03 am Tuesday, February 14, 2012

NATCHEZ — The Adams County Board of Supervisors opened bids for the county health plan and awarded bids for the emergency generator hook-up project Monday.

The supervisors received bids for insurance from Insurance Management Company, Regions Insurance Inc., Benefit Management Systems and Hazlip Insurance Inc. The proposals were too extensive for the supervisors to take action Monday, and they took the bids under advisement.

The county is self-insured, and Vice President Mike Lazarus said he has spoken with a representative of a local company that is able to insure 300 employees for $1.5 million annually, while he said Adams County insures 200 employees for $2 million. He also raised concerns that the county has never budgeted that much for its health care program.

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“If we are going to keep on like we are going, we need to fully fund (the health care program),” Lazarus said. “We put a million (dollars) in the budget for it, and every year we spend two (million dollars), and that kills our year-end balance.”

When Lazarus asked County Administrator Joe Murray if the supervisors were supposed to review the bids and then try to negotiate, Murray told him, “Basically, you need to be prepared to make alternate proposals.”

President Darryl Grennell reminded the board that the supervisors were going to have a meeting with all of the insurance vendors at a later date.

“Let’s not get too deep in this,” he said, “We’re going to spend an entire evening on this.”

When the supervisors awarded the bids for the generator hook-up project, the awards went to Eagle Electric for $36,300 for the Community Chapel location and Thorpe Sheet Metal for the Steckler Building for $80,484 and Parkway Baptist Church for $93,310.

The generators are located at the county’s three Red Cross shelters. The county has a deadline of March 31 to complete hooking them up if it is going to receive reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the process of hooking them up. Adams County Emergency Management Director Stan Owens said he has applied for a period of performance extension with FEMA.

Owens has previously said Emergency Management has $100,000 for the project in its budget. Monday, he said after the county receives the reimbursement from FEMA, the hook-up project will have cost the county approximately $58,000 out of pocket. However, as part of the project, the county has a memorandum of agreement with the City of Natchez in which the city has agreed to pay $22,000 toward the project, meaning that the county will only pay $36,000 for the project.

“Even if (the city) doesn’t have it budgeted, just like we don’t have this budgeted, they will just have to find it like we will have to find it,” Grennell said.

The costs for the bids were approximately $9,000 higher than originally projected because the cost of copper has risen dramatically, Owens said.

The county already owns the generators. When Murray mentioned that the generators could be sold, Grennell said it was important to remember the original mission of the generator project.

“We have to look at the overall mission from the very beginning, which was to provide the necessary energy to the shelters in a catastrophic event,” he said.

“When you have 100 or 150 people in one spot, electricity is a major necessity with that number.”

In other news, the board adopted changes to their open records policy. Board attorney Scott Slover said the new policy sets the price for copies of public records at 15 cents per copy, except in offices where the cost per copy has already been defined by statute.