County faces health-insurance hike

The Marion County Clerk Carol Maggard announced Monday receipt of $59,943 for December sales tax from the state, a figure commissioners noted is staying consistently higher than in former years.

County Appraiser Cindy Magill said that the state has granted her department an extension from March 1 to March 15 to mail property valuation notices to county residents.

She said that commercial property owners and mobile homeowners will find their tax rates changed in the future under new guidelines mandated by the state.

Mobile homes were valued by square footage under the old system, but are being changed by a system that takes into account such amenities as central heat and air, and numbers of rooms.

Tim Oglesby of Blue Cross Blue Shield told commissioners they likely will face about a 16 percent increase in health insurance rates because of price increases and employee use.

The county?s average insurance cost per employee, given by the clerk?s office for about 100 employees, was $478.81.

Maggard said the county has budgeted a 30 percent increase in health care for this year.

Oglesby said given likely federal health-care requirements and rising health-care rates, insurance probably will keep rising in the future. Counties may find health benefits difficult to sustain, he said.

Commissioner Dan Holub said, ?I?m not sure this level of health-care will be sustainable.?

Commissioner Randy Dallke said, ?We may not always be able to keep the doors open on health care. It?s sad.?

Commission Chair Roger Fleming said, ?We may have to back off? when it comes to future rate hikes.

Cooperative Grain & Supply of Hillsboro was awarded a road and bridge diesel fuel bid of $20,074 with prices more than $3 a gallon over a competitive bid of $20,386.80 from Cardie Oil Inc. of Tampa.

The commissioners approved a recommendation from Department on Aging Director Gayla Ratzlaff to appoint Barb Smith to succeed former Marion County representative Finas Jantz to the North Central Flint Hills Area Agency on Aging board.

Emergency Medical Services Director Steve Smith reported 105 ambulance runs for January including four from Burns, five from Florence, seven from Goessel, one from Herington, 34 from Hillsboro, one from Lehigh, four from Lincolnville, two from Lost Springs, 25 from Marion, 18 from Peabody, two from Tampa and two to Wichita.

The commissioners approved a bid for the noxious weed department of $23,345 for a 2011 one-ton Ford truck from Hills?boro Ford over competitive bids of $24,766 for a Ford and $24,709 for a Chevrolet from Midway Motors of Hillsboro.

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