Mt. Vernon Register-News

August 28, 2013

County begins insurance bidding

By RICK HAYES rick.hayes@register-news.com
The Register-News

---- — MT. VERNON — County officials voted unanimously Monday night to start the bidding process for property and casualty, health, and workmen’s compensation insurance if there are increases of 10 percent or more.

“I would like to do it like we did it before, advertising in the newspapers asking for agents to provide in the order of priority what they want to submit as quotes,” explained County Board Chairman Robert White. “Assuming I am an agent who is in competition, I say I want Travelers, Continental Western, Liberty Mutual and/or One Beacon. I send it in that particular order. All of these agents would be a blind draw. The incumbent agent is the first pick and then we’ll assign accordingly. That way when you get bids you don’t have to worry about broker letters or anything like that. If you quote two carriers those are the carriers that you bring to the table. If you don’t get those carriers you’re not bringing them to the table. You’re only allowed to quote the ones that we authorize you to quote which will be based on a selection system that we will go through with the Services Committee.”

White said based on the market, property and casualty increases of 5- to 10 percent are average.

“Working from the benchmark from two years ago when we were able to knock off almost 40 percent by going with Travelers, even with a 10-percent increase, it’s still saving gobs of money,” White said.

An employee of the sheriff’s department requested the county look at Central Management Services as the county’s health insurance carrier, White reported.

“As a county we can look at opting into the same program the State of Illinois employees have. It’s actually a good program. I don’t know how the state plan is in terms of paying claims and providing service. But I can say this program is interesting to look at. I already gave the plan description information to the AFSCME (American Federation of State and County Municipal Employees) union, and I have asked Suzy (administrative assistant Suzy Tate) to circulate that among the non-union employees because they have a capped contribution, therefore, they have skin in this game,” White said. “If we do decide to go out for bids we will be working with them because they bare the brunt of the costs if it’s in excess of what our contribution limit is,” he added.

Board members were split on three highway budgets and levies. By a 9-3 vote with Jeremy Hall, Jim Laird and Bob Watt voting in opposition, the County Highway budget of $772,371 and the levy of $334,931 were approved. The same three board members voted in opposition to the Federal Matching Aid budget and levy of $154,773. Laird voted in opposition to the County Bridge budget and levy of $154,773; and the County Motor Fuel Tax budget of $1.4 million was approved unanimously.

IN OTHER BUSINESS:n The Board heard a presentation from Tom Upchurch, director of the Jefferson County Housing Authority, regarding the organization’s mission and outreach.

n Approved the purchase of a new 2014 XL250 truck from CMS at a cost of $27,860 with the stipulation that Highway Engineer Brandon Simmons provide documentation to Highway Committee Chairman Steve Draege that the truck can’t be purchased locally at a reduced price. Laird voted in opposition to the purchase, indicating the county did not need that large of a truck.

n County Clerk Connie Simmons reported the county received $4,571 in grant from money from the state and it was redeposited into the election line item. Simmons said new voter registration cards were mailed earlier this month, resulting in an $8,472 expense for printing and postage.

n Approved by resolution opposing any unfunded mandate requiring sprinklers to be placed in every home in Illinois.

n And approved by resolution an endorsement of the Jefferson County Historical Society’s fund-raising campaign.