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Medical claims up but premiums level for city

Despite a nearly 30 percent increase in medical claims, the city’s insurance company is not increasing the cost of premiums for employees.

Sylvia Kings gave the Brookhaven Board of Aldermen the good news at a recent meeting.

“Blue Cross Blue Shield is not giving us a rate increase. The rates will stay the same,” she said. “I was kind of surprised because our claims have gone up over 29 percent since last year.”

The board approved the renewal with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi as well as renewals with Bluebonnet for life insurance and dental, short-term disability and vision with Sunlife.

The dental insurance renewed at a slightly higher premium — 97 cents for employees and $2.07 for dependents — but now includes a larger selection of dentists who are in the network.

Mosquito update

Brandon Cobb with Vector Disease Control updated the board on the latest mosquito counts. Cobb said the number of mosquitoes found  in the traps, which are placed in specific areas throughout the city, have not been excessively high. Vector did some aerial spraying in early July.

“The number in traps have been really low since then and should continue into August,” he said.

He expects to see that number continue to decrease as the season takes a downturn at the end of August through the end of October.

Cobb asked the board if they had questions, but they were quiet.

“You know when you’re not being discussed, it’s a good thing,” Mayor Joe Cox said.

Grants and training

Brookhaven Police Chief Kenneth Collins gave a report to the board concerning training on domestic violence laws and search-and-seizure laws by the state attorney general’s office. He also said he is seeking several grants for the department including one that would pay for a tag reader.

Automated license plate readers are high-speed, computer-controlled camera systems that can be mounted on police squad cars. ALPRs automatically capture all license plate numbers that come into view, along with the location, date, and time. The data, which includes photographs of the vehicle and sometimes its driver and passengers, is then uploaded to a central server. The information collected can be used by police to find out where a plate has been in the past, to determine whether a vehicle was at the scene of a crime and to identify travel patterns.

In other business Aug. 6, the board approved:

• Insurance renewal from MASA Medical Transport Solutions for medical flight and ground transportation coverage. The premium will remain at $99 per employee.

• Salary increase for Lasedrick Kelly in the street department from $9.18 per hour to $10.18 per hour for his one-year anniversary.

• Salary increase of $1 per hour for Cindy Smith, accounts payable clerk and mayor’s secretary, for 10-year anniversary.

• Employment of Justin Parkman in solid waste department as a CDL operator at $13.03 per hour.

• Application for Brandon Wilson Benefit Car Show to be held Nov. 3 at the South Railroad parking lot in downtown Brookhaven.

• Resolution encouraging state Legislature to acknowledge that Mississippi municipalities are in need of assistance in maintaining public infrastructure, and divert a portion of the use tax and internet sales tax to municipalities.

• Final payment to Lincoln County for the city’s portion of the Manufacturer’s Boulevard paving project in the amount of $186,700.53.

• Resolution to accept 300 18-gallon totes from the City of Natchez for recycling.

• Set a public hearing on the 2018-2019 budget for Aug. 28 at 5:30 p.m.

No action was taken by the board following an executive session with Collins concerning personnel in the police department. The board also met in executive session with attorney Joe Fernald concerning litigation. No action was taken following the closed-door meeting.