Hancock County Fiscal Court approved an 18-month contract with AMB for ambulance billing services, contingent upon getting a change in monthly invoice timing.
The contract provisions stipulate the county reimburse AMB 12-percent of the amount it collects in fees each month, up from 10-percent the current company pays.
The 30-day billing cycle presented was the only concern for fiscal court members. The contract calls for AMB to submit an invoice to the county “on or about the 10th of each month” according to magistrate LT Newton.
“If that is true, I hope they are aware they would not be paid for another month,” Newton said.
Since Fiscal Court meets the second and fourth Mondays of each month, getting the invoice into the claims for the first meeting proves problematic.
The meeting schedule makes it nearly impossible for fiscal court to get the invoice approved and a check issued within the 30-day time frame. The contract stipulates late fees for bills paid after the 30 days.
The magistrates discussed various options regarding the contract; with a suggestion the county ask the company for a 45-day window to pay the invoice. Upon the advice of county attorney Paul Madden Jr., fiscal court decided upon this option.
“We can approve (the contract) today contingent upon the changes in the billing date,” Hancock County Judge/Executive Johnny “Chic” Roberts said.
Magistrates approved the contract contingent upon making the discussed changes.
Fiscal court also approved the 2021-2022 budget. The county anticipates spending $13,480,613 in fiscal year 2022.
Tax Settlement Approved
Fiscal court approved the 2020 Tax settlement submitted by the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department. The Sheriff’s Department billed $8,949,445.73 in regular taxes, $301.65 in Clay and $4,366.07 in oil for a total billing of $8,954,113.45.
Occupational Tax Report
Judge Roberts read the May Occupational Tax report. He said year to date, the county collected $4,855,037.16 in tax revenue. “It is up about $820,000 from this time last year,” Roberts said.
Judge Roberts also read the ambulance report. He said the outstanding balance was $130,685. “The balance looks a little higher,” he said. Last month the outstanding balance was $114,213.
Hancock County Animal Shelter Director Ronald York told fiscal court an inspector for the state told him the shelter needed a quarantine area for vicious and other dogs at the shelter. County Attorney Paul Madden Jr. questioned York on this matter.
“You said it was required by law, what law?” Madden asked.
“The state said we should have a separate quarantine area,” York said.
York told fiscal court he learned this information when an inspector visited the shelter several weeks ago, and told him the shelter needed a separate area to house vicious animals. York said he received preliminary estimates on costs to construct a 20 by 30 foot addition to the end of the building. Though not complete, rough estimates place the construction cost over $10,000, and this does not include the cost to purchase and install trusses for the building.
After York told the magistrates this information, Madden said he wanted more information on the matter, and the specific law on the issue. Madden wanted to know if the shelter needed a completely separate area, or if the county could simply block off an area of the existing shelter for the quarantine space.
“Let’s start there then,” Judge Roberts said.
Hancock County Jailer reported collecting $784 in fees in May.
Career Center Report
Judge Roberts reported on the job fair held at the Career Center last week. He said it went well, with several vendors on site that day.
“If someone wants a job, they are out there,” Magistrate Wayne Hodskins said.
• The magistrates approved the appointment of Mary Hodge as the lifeguard supervisor at the Vastwood beach.
• Judge Roberts said the county plans to hire additional workers at Vastwood Park in the near future. Supervisor Scott Powers plans to retire, but the county does not know at this time if it will promote from within the department, or hire someone else to be the supervisor.
• Fiscal court reappointed Belinda Moffitt,to the Hancock County Public Library Board of Directors. Magistrates also approved Jill Brown’s appointment to the board.
• Judge Roberts read, and magistrates approved, a resolution for a hazard mitigation plan. The county must approve such a plan to be eligible for Federal Emergency Management Agency funds in the case of a natural disaster or other emergency in the county.
• Senior Services Director Lona Morton said she plans to reopen the Hancock County Senior Citizens Center in Hawesville on July 12. She said details still need to be worked out on how the center is to operate, and how to serve daily meals.
“We still do not have any regulations from the state as to what kind of procedures we need to follow,” Morton said. “We had a Zoom meeting with GRADD on Thursday and their suggestion was we follow our county’s guidelines.”
Morton said she spoke with Hancock County emergency Management Director Kyle Veach on this matter.
By Ralph Dickerson