While meeting in regular session Tuesday at the Courthouse Annex in Farmington, the St. Francois County Commission covered a light agenda that included the announcement of bids received for county employee health insurance.
Presiding Commissioner Gallaher announced that two bids had been received regarding health insurance coverage for county employees. One was from Colonial, the current provider, and the other from the First State Insurance Agency. The bids were made available for public scrutiny and passed on to the auditor’s office to evaluate costs and benefits.
County IT director Nick Jones informed the commission of a request from the sheriff’s office to purchase Panasonic CF 33 Toughbook laptop computers for the department’s vehicles. This is the second half of a budgeted purchase begun last year. Last year, 15 computers were bought, but the cost bid per unit will determine the number that will be purchased.
According to Jones, the computers, which will be mounted in the department vehicles, can be removed from the car if needed or used to take a report, a statement, or pictures.
“It’s definitely something they use every day,” he said.
The request was approved.
An individual raised a question about being unable to get a flu shot through the county health department. He said the shot he wanted was unavailable, and the department did not return calls regarding availability. Director Linda Ragsdale met with the individual, exchanged contact information, and assured the commission that the situation would be resolved to everyone’s satisfaction. The commission was satisfied with this timely resolution and moved on.
The new Teamsters representative, Local 600 President Mike Gibb, introduced himself to the commission.
“I know I haven’t talked about anything about insurance or business, but we’re happy to serve you in the business aspect,” he said.
County Auditor Louis Seiberlich informed the commission they would soon receive the 78-page 2024 county budget.
“We started this back in July,” he said. “It’s thousands of line items, as you can imagine. But we did something a little different this year, where we brought department heads and officeholders together so that everybody has a better understanding of why we need the money for your department, how it’s going to be spent, and justified it, so we all have a better understanding now. So, I think it was a good process overall.”
Highway Superintendent Clay Copeland of the county’s Roads and Bridges Department gave a brief report on the annual meeting for the LAGERS retirement system he recently attended.
“LAGERS is very well-funded,” he said. “I think the assets are now over $12 billion, and it is 95% funded. There are some legislative changes, but any changes must be done through the Missouri Legislature. I’m always humbled to go, and the county employees should feel confident in the retirement they have through LAGERS. It is very, very sound.”
Copeland commented on the status of road and bridge projects, “We’re doing a little here and there, some potholing, and a few patch jobs here and there.” He added that several projects were postponed until next year due to the price of materials. He also thanked the auditor’s office for the “huge help” it provided throughout the year.
County Clerk Kevin Engler mentioned that several area school superintendents will meet with him this week to discuss the county’s role in school board elections. He assumed they were interested in the county becoming more involved in the election process but said he would explore other counties’ roles in theirs.
Engler was also complimentary of the budget process used by the county this year, pointing out that the communication between departments helped answer questions before they needed to be asked. In the final analysis, he believed it was more efficient.
During a discussion of the consent agenda held at the top of the meeting, a question was raised about the certificates of training received by Commissioner Kary Buckley, Prosecuting Attorney Blake Dudley and Collector Angie Usery. Commissioner Kary Buckley explained that every county officeholder must attend 20 hours of continuing education to stay current with issues relating to their position.
The next St. Francois County Commission meeting will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday on the third floor of the courthouse annex.
Dan Schunks is a staff writer for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.