Commissioners amend budget for insurance

To accommodate the recent increase for insurance coverage for the court reporter for the 198th District, the McCulloch County Commissioners voted Monday to amend the budget to allow for the necessary changes in health care coverage. “The insurance for the court reporter which covers McCulloch, Menard, Mason, Kimbell and a portion of Kerr County went up rather drastically,” said McCulloch County Judge Randy Young. “The county didn’t have enough money budgeted originally. “The policy recently increased when it was renewed; however, the county’s portion wasn’t a lot. It was give or take $340 per year.” According to Young, the additional funds needed to accommodate the insurance hike will be taken from other line items in the county’s budget. In other business, Young reported news of a recent hearing concerning West Texas Rural Counties Association (WTRCA), a former insurance carrier for McCulloch and several other Texas counties. McCulloch County, as well as others previously covered by the insurance carrier, have engaged in a lawsuit against the company which filed for bankruptcy in 2000. Young reported that in a hearing held recently, the judge overseeing the lawsuit ordered that an audit be completed for WTRCA to determine the insurance company’s liabilities and how they were distributed among all the counties and cities covered through WTRCA. In a separate discussion item, the Commissioners studied the renovation project at the McCulloch County tax accessor/collector office located on West Commerce Street. Young added that minor changes have been made since the office relocated to that building. The original window installed in the drive-thru wasn’t large enough for the clerk to pass license plates through. A larger window was installed making the access window more assessable. Young also commented that the additional office space in the new tax accessor/collector building has not yet been completed. Of the five offices still available at the building, several are designated for county law enforcement personnel. A budget workshop was also discussed in the Monday meeting with the primary focus being placed on possible salary increases for elected officials. “We feel that our salaries are out of balance,” explained Young. “There’s not a proper ratio between elected officials, part-time employees and others. We’re looking at the overall salary structure. “We’re basically proposing salary increases for most of the elected officials with the exception of the county commissioners, myself and the county attorney,” said Young. “We feel that the salaries for the district clerk, sheriff, county clerk and the tax accessor/collector ought to be more than what they currently are. “We currently have one particular employee who is very skilled and valuable to the county and is seeking another job simply because the position held here doesn’t pay enough money. We’re simply trying to find a way to hold on to our employees.”

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