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Berkeley County Council briefs

June 06, 2013

Insurance coverage renewed for county employees

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The Berkeley County Council voted Thursday to renew insurance coverage for county employees.

The council elected to absorb rate increases that added about $100,000 to the budget rather than pass the extra expense onto employees.

County Council President Anthony “Tony” Petrucci, who had objections to the renewal, said he was concerned with how the insurance issue was handled.

“We can make do, but I just don’t like that situation,” Petrucci said after three separate votes on the insurance issues.

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Berkeley County Operations Officer Alan J. Davis said insurance services were not put out to bid, citing unknown outcomes from the new federal health care law. He also doubted whether any other insurer would “look at us” at this time.

Davis emphasized it was the first increase in employer contribution for the county since the 2010-11 fiscal year, but he also noted a shift in some coverage costs onto employees. One such move increased the up-front cost to see a specialist from $25 to $35.

As a whole, the changes were being recommended to shift some costs to the small number of employees whose claims are “so high that they are adversely impacting the cost of coverage for all employees,” Davis said in written recommendations for the council to review.

The insurance rate increases amounted to a cost jump of $360 per employee for the county to absorb.

With the approvals in place, the county’s contribution for employer health care increased from $7,800 to $8,160 per year.

Bids awarded for storm drain improvements

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The Berkeley County Council on Thursday awarded a bid to Virginia-based KEE Construction Services to make improvements to storm drains for Berkeley County’s new public safety building at 510 S. Raleigh St. in Martinsburg.

The company’s $64,915 bid was lowest of two proposals submitted for the project, according to county officials.

Berkeley County Clerk of the Works Jim Thompson told Berkeley County Council on Thursday that the new headquarters for the law-enforcement division of the sheriff’s department was probably about 80 percent complete.

Councilman Douglas E. Copenhaver Jr. said during the meeting that a flooring issue had surfaced for the 36,000-square-foot building, which last year was projected to be done this spring.

Copenhaver said that the building, which is estimated to cost between $2.8 million and $3 million, now might not be completed until October.

Officials were hoping the building would be done by August or September.

The former Martin’s Food grocery store building that is being renovated for county law enforcement is part of what was a vacant, 5.5-acre shopping plaza that the county purchased in 2007 for $3.1 million.

— Matthew Umstead

 

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