Court of Commissioners reviews employee health insurance scheme, preliminary plan and air deal


Auto Wrecking And Salvage Yard Ordinance establishing regulations, requiring license approvals for Hopkins County

The Hopkins County Commissioners Court on Monday morning, June 27, considered a number of items, including a real estate flat claim, automobile destruction and salvage regulations, employee health insurance options and an extended agreement with Hoyt Breathing Air.

Domain dish

Rios Estates Preliminary Dish

The commissioners were asked to consider an application for approval of a preliminary plan by Rios Estates. County Clerk Tracy noted the request was for a single dish, splitting one batch into two batches.

There was initially some confusion due to the road numbers listed on the original proposal, FM 2653 and County Road 4112 were listed, but did not intersect.

After obtaining clarification on the matter, Precinct 1 Commissioner Mickey Barker and Precinct 4 Commissioner Joe Price saw no problem with the request as proposed.

“I still want to watch this now that the road numbers have changed because I was very confused the other day. So I’m going to drive over there today and watch it. I’m sure there’s no won’t have any problems, as I understand it, as it does,” Barker noted, before moving Rios Estates’ preliminary plan approval motion. “I think we can go ahead and approve the preliminaries and, if there are any changes, we will have with Tracy [Smith, county clerk]. But I think it will be fine. »

Price supported the motion, which was later approved by the Court of Commissioners.

Hoyt Agreement

Hopkins County Fire Department Chief of Operations Doug Skinner asked the Court of Commissioners to consider approving, in lieu of an annual agreement, a three-year agreement with Hoyt Breathing Air Products to lock in the price for three years. The department’s cascade system is tested quarterly each year, as required by the Texas Fire Commission.

(An air cascade system serves as a bulk storage of high pressure breathable air to be used to fill breathing apparatus cylinders used in firefighting. Cascade systems can be used in fixed or mobiles.)

According to Skinner, the price of the tests has increased from last year to this year. The agreement would lock in the price for the service for the next three years.

Barker introduced a motion, seconded by Precinct 2 Commissioner Greg Anglin, approving a three-year deal with Hoyt for required testing of the cascade system.

Health insurance

Hopkins County officials discussed employee health insurance rates and options in business sessions for the 2022-23 contract year, and Monday were asked to consider approving the 2022-2023 alternative plan proposal. 2023 for employees of the Texas Association of Counties (TAC) – Health and Employee Benefits Group.

“The renewal rates for the same plan that we discussed was a 3% increase and the TAC [Texas Association of Counties] gave us options to lower the rate or save money,” Hopkins County Auditor Shannah Aulsbrook said. “The option we were given was an HMO plan, which was the same deductible – all the same for employees, except it’s an HMO and it’s a savings of $96.99 per employee.”

As a Blue Cross Blue Shield HMO plan, employees in the future would be required to obtain a referral from their primary physician before they could see a specialist. Most people already receive a referral from their doctor to see a specialist.

Plan doctors have been vetted, and according to Aulsbrook, it appears that all doctors in Hopkins County are covered. A commissioner, who sees a doctor from out of town, also found his doctor on the approved list for an HMO plan.

Another option discussed Monday was participating in a pilot program through TAC, helping up to 15% with health insurance costs for dependents of county employees. The TAC would then be 15%, providing a 30% savings to employees who choose to enroll their dependents in the county’s health insurance plan, according to Aulsbrook. Currently, the county does not assist with dependent coverage, so this would be a 30% savings for employees who choose to enroll their dependents in county health insurance through the pilot program.

The amount saved on the HMO plan could be applied to cover the county’s 15% for dependent insurance through the pilot program, Aulsbrook explained.

Justice Robert Newsom noted that, in his experience, health insurance plans have gone up every year, but never gone down.

On the recommendations of the County Auditor and the Department of Human Resources, Precinct 3 Commissioner Wade Bartley offered to approve the HMO plan and offer the pilot program to employees’ dependents. Price supported the motion, which the Court of Commissioners later approved.

Demolition/recovery sites

Another topic covered by county officials in recent business sessions has been auto wrecks and salvage yards. The Hopkins County Commissioners Court on Monday morning, June 27, 2022, approved regulations mirroring those recently updated by Rains County officials establishing an ordinance regulating auto wrecking and salvage yards.

Essentially, any scrap yard or auto salvage yard must be county licensed, unless these businesses are under a municipality with their own regulations or they are a recycling business. To apply for a license, the applicant must pay a $25 issuance fee to the county clerk and submit it along with the completed county application and four 8×10 inch color photos showing the entire property, one of each direction. Each must include a plaque from a licensed surveyor stating that the location is not within 300 feet of a road, subdivision, residence, business or waterway under authority of the Texas Natural Resource Commission; allow the health department or environmental enforcement department to enter the premises for on-site inspections, without notice, provided they are made at a reasonable time.

Applications will be posted by the County Clerk’s Office at the courthouse for 14 days prior to any approval action by the Court of Commissioners. Licensees may submit an annual renewal application if the conditions continue to be met.

Automobile wrecking and salvage yards are permitted to discharge any automotive fluids on the ground, nor fluids generated from the washing of automotive parts or assemblies, onto the ground. Storage batteries should be elevated off the ground and sheltered from the weather to prevent pollution of springs and water from runoff. All broken batteries or leaking cases should be stored in a containment container capable of holding all battery fluid and which will not corrode or decompose. Unmounted tires should also be sheltered from precipitation to prevent water retention and mosquito breeding.

All Hopkins County demolition and salvage sites must also screen using natural objects, plantings, fencing or other means so that the screen is at least 8 feet high along the part of the junkyard or salvage yard that faces the road or a family residence. . No part of the yard should be visible from a public thoroughfare, a business or a residence.

If the company violates regulations, including failing to properly control the site, not allowing inspections, not remedying any violation identified by the inspection or falsifying the application, the license will be suspended or revoked. The renewal could also be refused for these reasons. A salvage or auto wrecking yard would be assigned alleged violations found during the inspection, along with a date and time no later than 30 days after the revocation or inspection for a hearing regarding non-renewal.

Those who violate the order can be fined $100 to $500 per day for the misdemeanor. Each day the violation continues is considered a separate violation, under the order approved by the Court of Commissioners and effective June 27, 2022. Existing businesses will have 30 days to apply for a license. New auto salvage and wrecking businesses should apply to the county for a license within 30 days of being established.

Hopkins County Commissioners Court – June 27, 2022

Other items

The court also approved the consent agenda, which included minutes of two working sessions and one meeting; an FEC application for electrical distribution facilities that will cross County Road 1127 south of FM 2653; and a request from Spectrum/Charter to construct underground conduit and fiber on county roads s3513, 3516, 3517, 3518, 3519 and 3520.

Commissioners also entered executive session to discuss personnel matters. Sections 551.074 and 551.0745 of the Texas government code were cited on the agenda.

Section 551.074 allows the court in a closed meeting to:

"(1) deliberate the appointment, employment, evaluation, reassignment, duties, discipline, or dismissal of a public officer or employee; or (2)to hear a complaint or charge against an officer or employee."

Section 551.0745 allows the court to:

"(1) deliberate the appointment, employment, evaluation, reassignment, duties, discipline, or dismissal of a member of an advisory body;  or(2)  to hear a complaint or charge against a member of an advisory body.(b)  Subsection (a) does not apply if the individual who is the subject of the deliberation or hearing requests a public hearing."

The county judge said he did not expect the executive session to last long. The court entered a closed session at 9:28 a.m. and had not yet resumed in an open forum 30 minutes later. Newsom did not return KSST’s phone call about it late Monday afternoon.

Following the conclusion of the regular meeting, the Court of Commissioners was to begin the first of what should be a week of working sessions with the Sheriff and Fire Marshal to discuss operations, revenues and expenses, improvements and proposed repairs; Tom Glosup to discuss building maintenance; general manager of the Civic Center regarding events, repairs and improvements, income and expenses; discuss culverts throughout the county; and budget work sessions for the 2022-2023 fiscal year.


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