Published On: Thu, May 9th, 2013

Board meets new director; hears of insurance rate hike

PIERCE — The Pierce County Board of Commissioners met Monday, April 29, joined by members of the Pierce County Economic Development Group, got an update on the county’s health insurance plan, and accepted bids on gravel, bits, blades and culverts.

Bob Wehrer, vice president of the newly-formed Pierce County Economic Development Group, introduced Joe Grof, who is the new director of the development group, to the board. Michael Holton, who is secretary-treasurer of the group, was also present.

Wehrer told the board that Grof will be going to city council meetings within the county to introduce himself and to update them on the progress of the group. Wehrer also told the board the group greatly appreciates the $16,000 the board pledged to them. He explained that they will soon be changing to a non-profit group to give them more flexibility.

Wehrer asked the board if the development group decides to hire an employee, how much they should pay and for how many hours. Board President Jim Maas explained that the county has nothing to do with that. He said the money is donated to them to do as they see necessary.

Maas also explained that the room recently vacated by Health and Human Services at the courthouse will have no rent charge and they can use it for free because they serve only Pierce County. Wehrer said Grof would be in the office on Wednesdays, but would be mostly on the road. He said the group plans to have a golf tournament in August as a moneymaker.

County Clerk Shannon Wragge told the board that auditor Mike Pommer has contacted her in regard to the Ag Society. She indicated Pommer said he had repeatedly tried to get information from them but has had no success. After a brief discussion, the board turned the matter over to County Attorney Verlyn Luebbe to settle.

Sue Warner, county BC-BS representative, told the board that premiums will go up by 12% because of health care reform. Warner said many things will change and it looks as if insurance costs will increase as it goes along.

She also explained that under the Rx Plan ED, pharmaceuticals are not covered. Also any prescription given at the hospital to take home is not covered and must be filled by a participating pharmacy to be paid for by the plan.

The amounts Warner gave the board are for a six-month period only — from Jan. 1, 2014, to June 30, 2014. Warner said she would keep the board apprised of any changes.

In other business, the board:

— in Board of Equalization session, approved Tax List Corrections 2499-2500 as presented by County Assessor Peggy Wragge.

— authorized and approved the chairman to sign change order No. 6 (increase of $20,014.78 for changes in culvert quantities) and Pay Application No. 6 ($363,232.80) to A & R Construction Company for unbonded concrete overlay of 854 Road, C-70 (473) (Pierce-Neligh Road).

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