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County employees may face higher premiums

ALBANY, Ga. -- Health insurance costs were the hot topic during Wednesday's Dougherty County Commission work session.

Acknowledging that costs have been increasing and those costs have not been shared proportionally by county employees, Group Health Insurance Plan consultant Spencer Allen told the commission that the numbers "suggest mid-year (premium) increases" are on the way.

Allen presented projections to Commissioners that the county's self-funded health plan would cost an estimated $7 million in fiscal year 2011.

Allen said the county's insurance "costs were under-budgeted" and "the costs per employee are 22 percent higher than other government benchmarks," Allen said.

Allen made a proposal to the commission, which will later discuss the matter further.

The commission also heard proposed awards of roofing contracts for the Mental Health Building ($336,651), Fire Stations No. 8 ($11,216) and No. 9 ($10,935) to L.E. Schwartz & Sons of Macon.

Two commissioners, Gloria Gaines and Jack Stone, questioned Assistant County Administrator Michael McCoy as to why the contracts were not awarded to local firms.

McCoy said that there were no local bids for the projects.

The commission also heard about the proposed purchase of a Hi-Scan 7555i Oversized Tunnel High Performance X-Ray Imaging System for the Judicial Building from the state contract holder, Smith's Detection, for $37,828. This is to be purchased by grant funds.

The commission heard from George Paul, Environmental Horticultural Instructor at Albany Technical College, on the establishing of an intern program with the county at Radium Springs Garden.

Daryl Sabbs, Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital Community Benefits Director, presented a proposal to the commission to get behind Phoebe's "Don't Text and Drive Initiative".

The commission also heard a zoning request from Reginald Fluellen and Kurt Jurado for special permission to allow placement of a cell tower on property located at 821 Liberty Expressway.