Commissioners decide not to implement a burn ban

Once again the County employee health insurance is being discussed after several budget workshops. County Treasurer Andy Vinson explained during an action item on the agenda about the insurance why the costs had risen substantially. 

Vinson told the Commissioners, “Renewal rates are higher than the past. Mostly this is due to COVID and in part because of the pool that share with other counties.”

Rusk County participates in the Texas Association of Counties (TAC) that offer several services to the counties of Texas with insurance being one of those services that is supposed to be at a discount because of group participation. This year is not the case according to Vinson. 

“Forty-nine employees and their families reached their deductibles. The Health Fair has helped us lower our cost in the past. Healthier participants will lower our costs,” Vinson said.

He went on to explain that the average age of county employees are eight years older than other counties which causes rates to be higher.

As stated in prior meetings Commissioner Greg Gibson recommends that the County cancel the Health Fair and encourage all employees and family members on the health plan to see their personal physician. This would save the County money.

A representative from TAC was at the meeting and told the Commissioners that October 1 is the deadline but he offered to extend it for a decision until the Commissioners next meeting on October 4. The agenda item was tabled until then.

Patrick Dooley of the Rusk County Sheriff’s Office and part of the team of Emergency Management gave an update of the status of the weather that caused a possible burn ban to be placed on the agenda.

“I’m not asking for a burn ban. Just informing you of the conditions,” Dooley said. “When the cold front moves in this week the wind is predicted to increase and this causes concern with it being so dry.”

Currently the County is not under a burn ban and hasn’t been under one since September 20, 2020 according to Dooley. Also the rainfall total for the past three days is zero. Precipitation chances for Tuesday were 50 percent with the wind at five miles per hour gusting to 20 miles per hour.

The Commissioners decided not to implement a burn ban yet.

Judge Janet Enloe, Justice of the Peace for Precinct 5 along with two representatives from GHS asked for approval to continue using GHS to pursue court collections for violations.

“We’ve been with GHS for ten years and it’s time for renewal,” said Judge Enloe.

According to the representatives there are no charge to the County for their services. Enloe recommend that Precinct 5 continue using GSS. It was approved.

The new Rusk County Elections Coordinator was introduced at the meeting. Her name is Shannon Brown and she worked at Cherokee County for 15 years.

Other items approved were:

The renewal of the NETDATA contract

Interlocal agreement with the City of Tatum to repair portions of Forest Acres Street and McNeese Street in the City of Tatum

A commercial trailer lease for Precinct 3

The proclamation for National Night Out as presented by Sheriff John Wayne Valdez

The Mutual Aid Agreement between Rusk County and the City of Overton, City of Tatum and City of New London

Request from SQUAN (Frontier Contractor) to place a buried communication drop along/within the right-of-way of CR 182 and CR 146

Request from Eastex Telephone to place a fiber cable under the right-of-way of CR 272

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