County approves new, cheaper health plan for employees

Posted 8/27/19

Madison County Commissioners updated the county’s emergency management plan, health insurance for county employees and a computer server during a packed agenda Monday during their regular meeting.

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County approves new, cheaper health plan for employees

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Madison County Commissioners updated the county’s emergency management plan, health insurance for county employees and a computer server during a packed agenda Monday during their regular meeting.

The server, which allows the Sheriff’s department access to the state’s Criminal Justice Information System, will replace one at least 10 years old that had fallen out of compliance with Texas encryption guidelines. Sheriff Travis Neely was informed recently that the county’s server needed to be in compliance by Jan. 17 or the county would no longer be able to access the system.

The new server, from government technology provider NET Data Corp., will cost the county $60,195, $6,000 of which is the cost of new encryption software. A fingerprint scanner may be added to the bill later on for $3,630.

Though approved on Monday, the equipment will actually fall into the 2020 budget, as the replacement would have to be complete in a matter of weeks to fall under the 2019 budget.

Also looking to next year, commissioners approved a change in the health insurance provider that covers county employees, agreeing to accept a quote from United Health Care that will create about 10% savings from the previous policy with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas. The new plan will also lower co-pays for county employees.

Madison County paid Blue Cross and Blue Shield $736,255.20 for coverage in 2019. UHC will charge the county $660,878.20 under the new policy. Daniel Anderson of ANCO Insurance told commissioners that Blue Cross and Blue Shield also had requested an increase from their 2019 rate because of spikes in costs during certain months this year.

Co-pays for employees will fall to $35 from $45 for primary care physicians and to $70 from $90 for specialists.

Commissioners also approved an updated Emergency Management Basic Plan for the coming year. Emergency Management Coordinator Shelly Butts told commissioners Monday that the changes offer more separation between the county and “participating cities” within, including a detailed succession plan for public offices.

“It says ‘basic,’ but it’s pretty comprehensive,” said County Judge Tony Leago, holding up a thick copy of the plan.

In other matters, commissioners approved a $40,899.86 tax refund of CDM Resources Management LLC following a class-action suit by natural gas compression companies in Texas that resulted in those companies paying taxes on equipment based on the location of company headquarters, rather than where the equipment is stored. CDM was the only compression company operating in Madison County that will get a refund, because it was the only one that had paid the taxes.

The county also approved a refund of $15,809.10 to Buc-Ee’s LTD after an agreed judgment on the convenience store’s protest of tax valuation.

Commissioners approved a request from the United Daughters of the American Revolution to designate the week of Sept. 17 as Constitution Week in the county.

Separate from Commissioners Court, Madison County released Monday the salaries of elected officials as part of the 2020 budgeting process. Under the new budget, Leago will receive a $2,250 bump in salary for 2020, bringing total compensation including a $12,563 car allowance and supplements from the state and juvenile board to $98,656. County Commissioner salaries will also rise by four percent, now ranging from Carl Wiseman’s $73,019 to Rickey Driskell’s $75,650.

A full accounting of county elected official salaries is contained in a legal notice in the Meteor’s classified advertising section.

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