Last night the Commission approved a contract with Blount Memorial Hospital to provide health care to employees without knowing how much it would cost. No amount was stated in the resolution. That didn’t matter though, because it passed 15-2 with only Commissioners Burchfield and Folts voting against it. Commissioners Lambert, Lewis, Melton and Murrell were absent.
Commissioner Wright brought to light that the copier contract isn’t a flat cost like the Commission has always been lead to believe. There is a 5 cent per click cost for color copies. Wright works in the industry and said he could negotiate a better rate. The Commission chose not to pursue a better rate since some were afraid that Departments would be without copiers for a brief time if the final contract wasn’t approved prior to the old one expiring on June 30th. Theresa Johnson sounded more like a cheer leader for Canon Solutions American Inc., than the purchasing agent for Blount County. The length of the contract, 5 years, puts the matter out of reach for the incoming Commission where 6 incumbents will be gone.
Budget Modifications a new term
Old Agendas would specify budget increases and decreases. Now, thanks to Randy Vineyard the Finance Director, these transactions are listed as Budget Modifications. It sounds nicer than calling these for what they are, increases in spending your money.
The Commission also approved a Blount County employee dental plan without having much information. Currently the employees pay nothing and taxpayers pay $23.51 per month for each employee. Employees have the option of purchasing a family plan for $49.24 a month. The family plan costs $72.75 and the County pays the $23.51 it would pay if they just had the employee plan. Dental coverage was previously self insured by the County, but the current plans are offered through Blue Cross Blue Shield.