Health insurance benefit proposals for about 2,000 employees of the new Macon-Bibb County consolidated government should be back for review by July 29, with a recommendation ready for current city and county governments to vote on Sept. 3.
Thats the message Wednesday from Jimmy Hinson of BB&T Insurance Services.
Hinson, a consultant hired by the task force thats working on city-county government consolidation, told the task force Wednesday that employee enrollment in the new benefits system should start in November.
A request for proposals to insurers and plan-administration firms went out June 28. Since then BB&T has been answering questions from various interested parties, he said.
Both the city and county now use self-insurance systems with a hired third-party administrator, instead of buying a full coverage package from an insurance company. It would probably be cheaper for the new government to stick with a self-insurance system, which also offers more customized coverage, Hinson has said, but BB&T isnt rejecting any proposals out of hand.
A city-county committee recommended offering three insurance options to employees: an HMO, a point-of-service plan with a $1,000 deductible, and a point-of-service plan with a $500 deductible.
The Carl Vinson Institute of Government is working on a tentative merged city-county budget, said Pearlie Toliver, chairwoman of the task forces Finance Committee.
The tentative budget should be ready for a first look in August, she said.
The consolidation legislation doesnt require any budget cuts in the new governments first year but says spending must fall by 5 percent a year in the following four years.
The new government will benefit from a county action this week, said Leonard Bevill, chairman of the task forces Facilities Committee. Bibb County plans to sell $13.2 million in bonds through the Macon-Bibb County Urban Development Authority and use part of the proceeds to buy the former Sears building at the corner of Third Street and Riverside Drive. It would then be renovated to hold city and county records, as well as some law enforcement offices.
The biggest issue that Im really excited about is that this will solve a lot of our record retention problem, Bevill said. Space in the Middle Georgia Regional Commission office that the county now leases for record storage will be freed to hold other offices.
Jeffery Monroe, chairman of the Laws Committee, said reconciled city-county ordinances on stormwater control, alcohol, records management and Municipal Court should be ready to review in August, with a new purchasing code soon after that.
A public administration software package was installed June 24, and employee training on it should start July 29, said Monroe, also speaking for the Technology Committee. City and county technology department heads have agreed on how to merge their departments and agreed that collaboration should be working before the new governments January 2014 start, he said.
Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report. To contact writer Jim Gaines, call 744-4489.