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Commissioners take no action on burn ban

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Gives approval on county health plan

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HENDERSON COUNTY–Henderson County Fire Marshal Shane Renberg said the average rating in the county on the Keetch-Byram drought index was 567 as of Monday, Aug.12, when he brought the matter before the commissioners court on Tuesday. The highest reading was in the Malakoff area at 613.
“The threshold for a burn ban is 575 but since we are seeing a 10 to 12 point increase every day we don’t have significant rainfall, I thought it was important to consider it,” Renberg told the court. He reported 16 grass fires had been fought since August began with 11 of them in the past week.
Renberg also said the weather service has predicted four to six weeks of less than 25 percent of normal rainfall and that the entire county was above 500 on the Keetch-Byram index. He pointed out that the index measures moisture in the soil and that not only were the grasses dry, but that the canopies of smaller trees and bushes were drying out.
After discussion, the commissioners agreed to see what another week would bring since there was some rain in the forecast. The burn ban will be placed on next week’s agenda. In the meantime, Renberg urged citizens to be cautious when burning.
Health insurance for county employees and their families was set for a 7.5 percent increase by renewing the current plan, the court learned, but through the committee’s negotiation with the provider, the increase was kept down. The increase on the PPO plan chosen will be 1.8 percent, going from $919.14 currently to $936.54. The HSA option will see a 2.1 percent increase by changing the deductible and using the HSA bank for payment directly. The dental plan will see a 4 percent increase for the same plan and the voluntary vision plan will remain the same.
Henderson County Commissioner Pct. 4 Ken Geeslin addressed the continual increase of health insurance cost and the need for education for the employees. “We have to drive our employees to realize taking care of themselves is their responsibility and increases in the rate is based on usage of the plan, so the healthier we are, we can look forward to a lower renewal rate next year,” he said, adding that everyone needs to “eat better, exercise more and live a healthier lifestyle.”
In other business, commissioners:
 • appointed three members to Henderson County Levee Improvement District No. 3 and agreed although there are no term limits, it should be looked at every 2-3 years
• approved plat for Oakwood Water Addition in Pct. 1
• approved payment of bills totaling $250,873.76


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