MANSFIELD — Richland County Commissioners spent much of their meeting Tuesday trying to cut expenses, aiming at insurance administration and financing long-term debt.
Representatives of NWGS Companies of Maumee outlined a proposal to serve as the county’s third-party administrator for flexible spending accounts and other voluntary insurance services. Under the plan, NWGS would use a single-benefit card and application form for optional life, short-term disability and critical illness plans being offered by the county as well as administer COBRA at a total savings of nearly $47,000. The projected savings were based on the county’s 2011 costs.
“We’re not trying to replace your health insurance provider but just trying to coordinate your programs and get things down to one form,” said NWGS sales administrator Jessica Askins.
The company also would provide self-enrollment capabilities and education for employees.
“Something like this would ease the administrative work for our department,” said purchasing director Cathy Mosier. “This would be an opportunity to help the administration, provide better service and help employees get a better product for what they need.”
Commissioners also met Tuesday with Joseph Robertson of Ross Sinclaire and Associates of Columbus, who advises the county on financing long-term debt for major purchases and projects. The main issues were notes on purchases of cruisers and other equipment for the sheriff’s office, a truck for the county engineer and the remaining $3 million debt on the new county jail.
Commissioner Ed Olson said the county will have money available to apply to the jail debt when bonds for the Job and Family Services and Child Support Enforcement buildings on Park Avenue East are paid off at the end of the year. However, he also pointed out the money will cover only one-third of the remaining jail debt.
Robertson recommended the county monitor financial markets between now and October before deciding whether to go with long-term bonds or roll over current notes.
“The Federal Reserve chairman recently said he thinks it will be another one or two years before interest rates will begin to rise, so it probably would not hurt to stay in notes at this time,” he said.
Commissioners also heard a report from Mansfield Fair Housing administrator Don Mitchell, who also administers the county’s program. Mitchell says only two or three of the 40 to 50 calls he receives per year turn out to be actual discrimination.
“Disability is the biggest problem with landlords not allowing animals with a no pet policy,” he said, explaining there are people who require companion animals for treatment. “You cannot require a deposit for an animal if it is for a disability.”
News Journal correspondent
Original link to comments so you can see those here that have been copied over that are not there due to CENSORSHIP – LOL, and they call themselves a News Agency?. – http://www.mansfieldnewsjournal.com/comments/article/20120530/NEWS01/205300311/Richland-County-works-save-money