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County officials finalize '09 insurance plan

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Plan-commission member disputes claim he's hard to work with

By Kevin Koelling, Managing Editor

TELL CITY – County employees' health-insurance costs will rise $10, and the county's cost will rise $20 per employee per month after county commissioners finalized Dec. 8 an action they approved a week earlier.  

As The News reported Dec. 4, Cathy Dunn of the Columbia-based Dunn and Associates benefits-administration firm, and Pete Franzman of Franzman Insurance Agency attended a commissioners meeting Dec. 1 to present insurance-renewal information. Dunn said she'd been tracking medical-cost inflation data, which shows 7-percent increases for this year and next year.

Commissioners gave their tentative approval to the continuation of a plan used this year, in which the county self-insures medical costs up to $45,000, after which 100 percent of expenses are paid. Their approval was contingent on employees' acceptance of the plan, and they scheduled a special meeting Dec. 8 to finalize it.

Franzman said a high number of claims were reported in October and November, bumping the quotes a bit from what he'd provided Dec. 1.

The commissioners accepted Franzman's recommendation to finalize their approval to continue the county's insurance, under which they self-insure each employee's medical costs up to $45,000. County Auditor Connie Berger said at the earlier meeting she needed time to present the new information to employees before the commissioners took final action.

They also approved an amendment which raises each individual deductible $50 to $300 and each family deductible from $450 to $500. The increase will bring to $453 monthly the amount the county pays per employee, with the family rate rising to $848.

Board Appointments

In other actions at the commissioners' Dec. 1 meeting, Al Faulkner Sr.'s request for reappointment to another one-year term on the county's alcoholic-beverage board was granted, as was Gene Borders' request to serve another four years on the county's airport authority.

Cindy Emmons will replace Marshall Terry on the convention and visitors bureau board of directors, where terms are two years.

Commissioner Gary Dauby abstained from the vote on Faulkner because he owns a winery. At Fortwendel's request, a four-year reappointment of Pat Tempel to the county plan commission was tabled.

"We got some reports that he was hard to work with," Dauby explained after the meeting. "We want to find out if he's compatible. It's not that he disagrees with people and causes some discussion. I just got some bad reports on him, that's all. I just wonder if those people can work with him." Dauby said he'd check with other members.

Tempel said Wednesday he and Fortwendel, who also serves on the plan commission, "have not seen eye-to-eye for years."

Among other issues, Tempel said he opposed rules adopted for areas in the northern part of the county to prevent what was described as potentially undesirable development.

"Leaders in Perry County are not used to being told 'no,' " he said, but he voices opposition when he feels it's necessary. He also noted he's worked successfully in construction and farming for more than 30 years, suggesting that would not have been possible if people found him hard to work with.

The commissioners' next meeting was to have been Monday, but bad weather forced a postponement. They will meet instead at 6:30 p.m. today.