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Park rates could change

Utility customers at the Decatur County Industrial Air Park could soon see changes to their usage rates.

County Finance Director Carl Rowland said the county had Watkins and Associates, consulting engineers from Cairo, Ga., look at updating the utility rates because the county has had to subsidize the industrial park’s budget by more than $500,000 for several years due to a shortfall in utility rate fund.

Watkins’ study proposes raising both the water and sewer base rates to $19.50 for the first 2,000 gallons and slightly boosting overage fees for high-usage customers.

The 26 utility customers at the park pay a variety of utility rate plans, and it’s unclear how the different rates were negotiated years ago, County Administrator Tom Patton said.

Consulting Engineer Stacy Watkins said increasing the rates and making them uniform would create a fair environment for all customers.

County commissioners will hold a work session on the issue on Thursday, Dec. 4, at 1. p.m. in their meeting room at the County Administration Building on Broughton Street in downtown Bainbridge.

County will enhance employee health benefits

Decatur County government employees will soon get additional health benefits approved by county commissioners in a 4-1 vote at their Nov. 25 meeting.

Outgoing Commissioner Glenda Battle voted against the benefit changes, citing her belief that a self-insured insurance plan was not “in the best interest of county employees in the long term.”

The City of Bainbridge also has a self-insured insurance plan,

Changes to the medical plan include the following: Waiving of $15 prescription generic drug co-pay if plan participant completes a health fair, provision of eye care for a maximum of $200 per person/per year for exams and prescription glasses or contact lenses, at no additional cost to participants.

Changes to the dental plan include the following: Provision for orthodontics at a maximum of $1,500 lifetime benefit per covered person, increase dental premium by $1.15 per pay period for all participants.

All of the changes will take effect by Jan. 1.

Human Resource Director Marjorie Mayfield said by operating a self-insured health plan during its previous fiscal year, the county had saved an estimated $672,000 versus purchasing insurance coverage directly.