BY BRIAN JONES
During a June 6 meeting, the Clay County Board of Supervisors received an update on aerial photography, voted to alter the county’s health insurance and terminated construction contracts with Major Construction.
The board received an update on their decision to join with a group of counties who are redoing state-mandated aerial photography a few years early.
The state requires counties to update their aerial photography every 12 years. Clay County is not due for a refly until 2018, but Tax Assessor Paige Lamkin explained that the state is encouraging counties to do it next year. She recommended that the county participate in the 2014 refly because they would probably be able to get much cheaper rates.
Lamkin gave a brief update on the project last week.
“About 20 counties are participating right now,” she said. “I need you to go ahead and sign the interlocal agreement so that we can move forward. This does not bind us to anything, but it’s got to be done before we can do anything else.”
In spite of the fact that the 20 counties are cooperating, each county will still get an individual contract, she said.
“If there’s something we don’t like we can amend it to suit us,” she said.
The county will be required to pay up front, but will be reimbursed by the state, she said.
“The Mississippi Department of Transportation will reimburse us up to $10,000,” she said.
The interlocal agreement was approved unanimously.
The supervisors voted to change the county drug plan.
Treva Hodge gave a presentation about the existent drug plan, during which she stated the county could save three percent on premiums by changing to a new one. However, employees may have to cover the cost for some drugs that were previously covered.
“All prescriptions are classed in three categories: The copay for Class One is $2, Class Two is $25, Class Three is $50 and Class Four is $100,” Hodge said. “If you get a drug that’s in Class Three, you’re going to pay a $50 copay every time you get it. Next year, because of the health care changes, the state is making a change mandatory. But this year you can voluntarily go to the new payment schedule and the state will give you a 3 percent break on your premiums, which now come out to about $50,000 a month.
“The change will recatogorize certain drugs,” Hodge said. “People using these drugs will be affected.”
Drugs will be reclassified, with some drugs, for example, moving from Class Two to Class Four or from Class One to Class Two, she said.
“Most of the drugs are going to a more expensive level,” she said. “There are 37 drugs that are on this list that will not be covered at all. The employee will have to pay the full price for the drug. Some of them will have a generic equivalent that the employee can go to.”
District 2 Supervisor Luke Lummus made a motion to enact the change this year, and was seconded by District 1 Supervisor Lynn Horton.
“The pro is that the county will save money,” Hodge said. “The con is that the employee is going to have to pay more for their drugs.”
“Our employees won’t receive any savings, will they?” Lummus asked. “It’s going to go up anyway?” “It’s going to go up anyway next year,” Hodge confirmed.
“But we can get that savings if we do it now,” Lummus said.
“Now you’re saying that the employees can get generics for the drugs that aren’t covered,” asked District 3 Supervisor RB Davis.
“I can’t swear to it,” Hodge said. “But I do know that all the ones that are going off the plan do have a generic equivalent. But some of these others might not.”
The board approved the change unanimously.
The voted unanimously to terminate two contracts with Major Construction.
Last year Major Construction submitted the low bid for three Home Project homes in Clay County. They gave up one of those earlier this year because they didn’t feel that they would be able to finish it in time. The other two homes soon came under board scrutiny in late April, when the 120 days allotted for the project were about to expire. Neither of them had been demolished, and it was clear that Major would be unable to complete either of them on time.
In May Major Andrews of Major Construction appeared to explain himself, and claimed that inclement weather had prevented him from moving forward; District 5 Supervisor Floyd McKee pointed out that another home, this one being build by Avant Construction, was proceeding in spite of the rains.
Last week the board voted to terminate the contract and award it to the next lowest bidders, Avant Construction and Price Construction.
“We are asking the Mississippi Development Authority for more money, because the cost to complete the projects is greater than the amount we have left,” said Golden Triangle Planning and Development District Housing Specialist Patsy Patterson.