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County approves healthcare reimbursement to employees

Photo by Jay Forness

The Cape Girardeau County Commission approved a $650 healthcare reimbursement to all county employees as of Nov. 15. County Commissioner Paul Koeper said the reimbursement is made in years the county has savings from its health plan.

“In the past, we’ve given them some healthcare reimbursement to help offset costs that they’ve had throughout the year and I think we are in a situation where we can do that again,” Koeper said. “Employees are using our in-house health insurance very well and doing the right thing – going to the hospital when they have to go to the hospital and not going for non-emergency items.

After the reimbursements, the county will leave $350,000 in the fund to carry over to next year. The remaining balance will be split between the law enforcement department, the highway department and general revenue.

“We had a very good year this year,” County Clerk Kara Clark Summers said. “We have been lower this last year than we have been since we joined the plan and what we would have been paying out in premiums in 2013. It’s remarkable really.”

The commission also approved a renewal of the county’s health plan, which is self funded through Mutual Medical, on Nov. 15.

There was no increase from last year and Presiding Commissioner Clint Tracy pointed out that the county pays less now per employee than they did in 2013.

The renewal for the county’s employee life, dental and vision plans resulted in a 7.65 percent increase. Summers said the increase was mostly due to increased usage of the county’s dental plan. The increase comes with a two-year rate guarantee.

In other action:

• The commission approved a $4,816 bid from Peters Heating and Air Conditioning to add air conditioning to the election room on the lower level of the Cape Girardeau County Administration Building. Peters was the lowest bid out of three.

“When this building was remodeled, that area didn’t receive air conditioning because of the way the concrete beams were,” Commissioner Paul Koeper said. “It was too much trouble to run air conditioning over there, so they never did that.”

The project will be paid out of the county’s capital improvement fund, with Koeper adding that an additional $1,100 for electrical wiring will be needed for the project. Koeper said the work would hopefully be completed in early spring 2022.

• The commission approved a $6,486 bid from Trutest Environmental Solutions to complete phase two of the county’s environmental site assessment, which would include the county jail.

The county previously approved phase one of the project on Oct. 14, with St. Louis-based CITEX completing an environmental site assessment of the old courthouse in Jackson.

Both phases are part of an ongoing capital improvement project that could include renovations of the 1908 courthouse and possible expansions of the existing jail campus.

• The commission approved a geotechnical services agreement totaling $3,000 from Koehler Engineering and Land Surveying. The agreement was under a previous contract with Koehler for engineering services.

• The commission reappointed Danny Essner to a three-year term on the Enhanced Enterprise Zone Board. His new term will expire on Nov. 18, 2024.

• The commission voted for county offices to be closed the day after Thanksgiving (Nov. 26), to stay in line with the updated State of Missouri holiday schedule.

Jay Forness covers education, county government and community events for The Cash-Book Journal. He graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a degree in multimedia journalism and has lived in Jackson for the past four years. He can be reached at cbjedit@socket.net.

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