MOUNT VERNON — Topics of casino funds, employee iHealth insurance and centralized purchasing were discussed when the Knox County elected officials met Thursday morning at the Knox County Service Center. Attending the meeting were county auditor Jonette Curry, county treasurer Sandra Mizer, county clerk of courts Mary Jo Hawkins, sheriff-elect David Shaffer, county recorder John Lybarger, and county commissioners Teresa Bemiller and Roger Reed.
Curry announced that the figures in her August report show a general fund unexpended balance of $3,741,923. Outstanding encumbrances stand at $348,685, leaving an unencumbered balance of $3,393,237. Curry compared this to last year’s August balance of $3,205,811.
She went on to explain that $53,000 was received in July in the county’s first installment of casino allotments. Although more funds are expected in October, Curry pointed out that local government funding has been cut back over the last several years for Ohio’s counties, and further cutbacks may be made with the casino revenues distribution as a share of government funds could be dispersed between townships and municipalities.
“They’re separate issues. We can’t really say that casino money is offsetting what we’ve lost in local government [funding],” said Curry. “It’s just a timing issue.” Casino revenues are distributed quarterly, and local government funds are dispersed monthly.
The iHealth program for county employees which went into effect this year was discussed. “We’re paying for that for our employees in order to hopefully catch anything that could turn into a major problem later on,” said commissioner Bemiller. Current concerns are the high amount of claims the county has seen, and that some of the claims have been conditions that if caught early the patient may be less likely of requiring a high level of treatment. “Really, we want to protect people and save lives,” said Bemiller. The commissioners are in the process of bidding out insurance for next year, so rates at this time are not yet determined and a premium cannot be attributed to any increase in health claims.
A centralized purchasing program is being pursued as a means to save the county some money when it comes to purchasing office supplies.
“We think there would be a lot of savings by being able to purchase in bulk, rather than having every department purchase their own,” said commissioner Reed. “With centralized purchasing, everybody could get it from the same place.”
No plan has been committed to yet, and options are being explored.
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