JASPER, Ga. – On the agenda since January, Jasper City Council has been discussing self-funding for medical insurance versus insuring normally as they have been for years. They have had both Matt Bidwell, of MSI Benefits, and Kevin Godfrey, of Godfrey-Downs, looking through their contacts and markets to bring forth proposals to the council for insurance.
The city ultimately went with the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA) recommended by Bidwell and MSI Benefits. Though the original recommendation was a $1,500 deductible plan, the council’s motion approved an alternate plan with a $1,000 deductible. The new plan’s premiums for the city would come to $1,104,163.00, around a $52,000 increase, which is far less than the near $300,000 increase the city was originally looking at during the beginning of the year. According to Bidwell, this plan is just above a 4 percent increase over the $1,500 deductible plan for the city.
The plan also allows, according to Bidwell, for any employee receiving compensation in the form of workman’s comp or a salary from the city to be covered under the insurance. This covers the issue the city had with their current insurance preparing to drop an officer from coverage who was injured in the line of duty.
The city may be closing down North and South Main street once a month in favor of a recurring Chamber event. Setting the events as May through August, the Chamber is attempting to establish the Saturday Social in the Mountains as a tourism event. The issue came before council to close South and North Main Street for the social events. While representatives had no set point of exactly what every event would entail, they did suggest they could include live music, children’s events, food, and other activities. Ultimately approved, the item passed with two votes, as Dr. Sonny Proctor and Anne Sneve abstained due to their involvement with the Chamber.
The council also approved a number of previously budgeted expenses including $14,000 to swap out the Cove Well emergency generator, $11,900 to rebuild pump four across from Shiloh Church, and the previously discussed 3 percent raise for city employees.
Senator David Perdue Applauds President Trump’s Move To Increase Access To Insurance
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator David Perdue (R-GA) comments on President Trump’s action today to provide Americans’ relief from Obamacare:
“President Trump has proven once again he is willing to take bold action, even when Congress won’t. This action today will bring relief to the millions of Americans unable to obtain affordable health insurance because of Obamacare. This law is collapsing under its own weight and hurting millions of Americans. It needs to be fully repealed. In the meantime, I applaud the President’s courage to take action and support this move emphatically.”
Jasper, GA – Pickens County residents Kenny and Sharon Prather claim that they are being forced by Pickens County to pay insurance on their family dog, Annabelle.
Annabelle was adopted by the couple from the Pickens County Animal shelter back in May of 2015. The Prathers say she received a nearly perfect score, before her adoption, from a local certified dog trainer and Canine Good Citizen Evaluator who volunteers her time to evaluate Pickens County Animal Shelter dogs for adoptability traits.
In July 2016, a Pickens County resident reported a dog bite in the same neighborhood where Annabelle had lived with her family for 14 months without incident.
It was said by the Prathers that the person who was bitten described the offending dog as a grey pitbull and Annabelle was assumed to be the culprit by Pickens Animal Control, although she is a brindle bully mix.
The family says they are being forced by Pickens County authorities to euthanize Annabelle or to purchase additional liability insurance on their homeowner’s policy for the dog. This policy was purchased by the Prathers for $1,000 annually.
They also state that Annabelle is required, by Pickens County authorities, to wear a muzzle whenever in public.
In the 2012 Legislative Session Governor Nathan Deal approved House Bill 685, with its Responsible Dog Ownership Law, to hold owners more deeply accountable for their dangerous or vicious dogs.
As of July 1, 2012 owners responsible for dangerous dogs — those dogs that puncture a person’s skin with a bite but do not cause serious injury, or those dogs that kill another owner’s pet — must now:
- Apply for a certificate of registration for the dog every year
- Build a secure enclosure to house the dog
- Post warning signs at all entrances to indicate that a dangerous dog lives on the property
If a dog inflicts serious injury on a person, a dog control officer will classify that dog as vicious, and owners of vicious dogs must also:
- Microchip the pet
- Maintain at least $50,000 of liability insurance to cover costs in the event that the dog attacks or damages another’s property a second time
Any vicious dog responsible for a second offense will be euthanized, and owners who violate registration requirements may be fined and imprisoned for infractions.
County Commission Chairman Robert Jones stated,
The county has no control over this, it is a state law. If time has passed and the owners want their animal removed from the vicious list they would have to go through the state and have their animal re-evaluated by Public Health Officials.
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Georgia Governor Nathan Deal visited Fire House 1 in Gilmer County Thursday to officially sign House Bill 146 known as the “Firefigher’s Cancer Insurance Bill.”
Joined by several officials including Georgia House Speaker David Ralston and Senator Steve Gooch, author of the bill Micah Gravley, District 67 Representative, opened the ceremony by speaking about the two year effort to bring the bill to this point. Gravley related his interactions with two firefighters, Frank Martinez and Brian Scutter, who he said were the honor of the Bill as they fought for and spoke with legislators to get the bill passed, as well as the appropriateness to have the signing in Scutter’s home station in Gilmer County. Scutter was also mentioned by Speaker Ralston who said he had made a promise to Brian that he would give all that was in him to bring this day about. Turning to face Scutter, Ralston said, “I kept my promise.”
Governor Nathan Deal, who originally vetoed last year’s Bill 216 called the new House Bill 146 an “innovative and great solution to the situation.” Deal said the Bill provides relief for firefighters by providing a different method for compensation and money for treatment and care for firefighters who contract cancers during their work. Gravley thanked the Governor for his support of, as he called it, a “better bill.”
The sentiment was echoed by Speaker Ralston who said, “We have arrived at a better solution. By requiring a local government to provide insurance to our firefighters for certain types of cancer, the firefighter can skip the process of litigating a worker’s comp claim. This will allow the firefighter to focus on getting better and recovery rather than having to worry about legal bills and depositions and hearings.”
FYN caught up with Speaker Ralston and Governor Deal to ask them to elaborate on why the bill is better, comparative to last years Bill 216. The Speaker replied saying, “This uses a Health Insurance Model as opposed to a Workman’s Comp model which means instead of having to make a claim and perhaps go through a court type process to get benefits and income, Firefighters in this case will file a claim just like health insurance.”
Governor Deal also spoke on the insurance versus workman’s comp comparison saying it was an awkward and “adversarial way of deciding whether or not compensation is owed.” Deal went on to say the newer Bill is a much better solution “to provide insurance coverage that will define benefits and give some flexibility as to deciding the compensation that will be given to firefighters.”
More than Senators and Congressman came to see Deal sign the Bill, though. Several representatives from neighboring and local emergency services attended the event including Gilmer’s own Director of Public Safety Tony Pritchett who said the Bill “gives you a sense of protection… You can lay your head down and sleep better at night knowing that if you contract cancer because of the job, there’s some protection that will take care of you and your family.”
For more on the Signing of House Bill 146 watch the full ceremony below or find more Photos in our Album:
Featuring Dr. Bill Whaley.
Sponsered by the Georgia Cancer Specialists.
Dr. Whaley and BKP talk HIllary’s Health and National Healthcare.