At the July Hancock County Fiscal Court meeting, Hancock County Judge/Executive Johnny “Chic” Roberts told the magistrates that Anna Hynes with Air Evac Lifeteam approached him about providing Air Evac memberships as a benefit for county employees. Magistrates told Roberts they wanted more information, so at Monday morning’s Hancock County Fiscal Court meeting Hynes appeared before the court to explain the proposal.
The proposal passed on a 4-0 vote. Magistrate Kasey Emmick abstained from the vote due to his wife Rachel working in the county judge’s office.
Hynes Air Evac Lifeteam is a part of the AirMedCare network. She said the proposed plan costs around $4,000 per year, and covers the county’s full-time employees and members of their households. The premium per employee costs the county 65 per year, and also covers plan members’ children enrolled in college, children in joint custody homes and anyone living under a member’s roof.
“If you decide to provide this benefit to your employees, they are not just covered here in the county,” Hynes said. “They are covered anywhere you see one of our aircraft.”
Hynes said the company owns 320 air ambulances in 38 states. The company covers the Midwest, southwest, the Gulf Coast, most of the west coast and part of the East coast.
“It is not just Air Evac anymore,” Hynes said. “It is AirMedCare Network. It is a network of airplanes and helicopters all working under the same membership.”
The plan operates like other benefit plans offered by the county. A blanket policy covers all of the employees and their families. When an employee quits or retires he or she loses the coverage; when a new employee hires on he or she either replaces a person that left on the policy, or is added as a new member, and the county pays the additional cost for that employee.
The main question concerned how to synchronize the renewal dates for plan members since some county employees already joined the network. Hynes said all employees automatically receive a one-year membership. At the renewal date the company would see how many months existed on the existing memberships, prorate the bill and send it to the county. As an example, Hynes said if an employee purchased a membership prior to the company providing the benefit and had nine-months left on the membership when the county benefit activated, at the renewal time one year from now the company would bill the county for only three months for that employee, bringing that employee’s renewal date to the county’s renewal date.
Magistrate LT Newton said he knew of several individuals that owned a membership and needed to use the service. He said one member that he knew about was flown from Owensboro to Nashville, Tennessee and the bill cost around $50,000.
“Air Evac paid it,” Newton said.
A question then arose as to whether or not the county wanted to provide the benefit to elected officials. Opposition quickly arose concerning this matter.
“I am not for the elected officials having it,” Newton said. “It is for full-time employees only.”
Discussion then turned to the idea of some of elected officials receiving the benefit and others not receiving the benefit. Some blowback erupted over this idea with magistrate Mark Gray leading the dissent.
“Either all get it or all don’t,” Gray said. “It ain’t no part of them get it.”
The magistrates discussed the issue for several more minutes and finally reached a consensus on what they wanted to do in regards to the plan. Magistrate Gray started the process to approve.
“I’ll get the ball rolling,” Gray said. “I’ll make a motion we do it except for the elected officials.”
Magistrate Newton provided the second and all members present except magistrate Emmick voted on the proposal. The final tally was 4-0-1 for the measure.
“It is a nice benefit,” Judge Roberts commented.
In other action
- Appointed Dave Tindle to be the new road department supervisor and Timmy Dowell as the new Vastwood Park supervisor.
- Approved the July Occupational Tax report. The report showed year-to-date collections of $211,901, up from $156,938 from last year.
- Approved the Ambulance report. It showed a balance of only $83,000, down from $141,000 the June report.
“I am going to call her (the collection company representative) about that outstanding balance,” Emergency Medical Services Director Damian Rice said.
Rice explained the report came in late Friday afternoon, and he did not have the opportunity to call her about the drop.
- Kyle Veach with the Emergency Management Service said the department received the new drone the service purchased, and spent the past few weeks training on it.
- Treasurer’s Report. Judge Roberts said the county had $6,398,200 on hand at the end of July; he said it was up from $5.249 million at the end of July last year.
- New Road Department Supervisor Dave Tindle said the county tire amnesty went quite well. Otherwise the department kept busy with its routine duties.
- Animal Shelter Report: Supervisor Ronald York said the shelter currently has 12 dogs. The county started July with one dog.
- Tax rate: Unless Frankfort provides information to the contrary, the county decided not to increase tax rates, and voted to take the compensating rate to bring in the same revenue as last year.
By Ralph Dickerson