Insurance costs to rise slightly for health employees

LISBON — The Columbiana County Board of Health approved with conditions a health insurance renewal for their employees at a small increase of 0.21 percent.

When the initial rates were given, it had appeared the county board would be facing about a 4 percent increase. But after some negotiating with the insurance broker, the increase will be much smaller.

Board President Jack Amato urged Cis Donahey to still ask again hoping for an even bigger decrease, but the board approved the current offer during their meeting last week. The employees’ current health insurance is set to expire on Dec. 1.

Amato said he would like to see numbers of how much of the insurance the employees are actually using. The current insurance has a high deductible and so first employees use their health savings accounts to offset that cost.

In other matters before the board:

–The food inspectors were recently inspected to see how well they perform. Health Commissioner Wes Vins called the inspector one of the Ohio Department of Health’s top inspectors. First she inspected and then had the county’s food inspectors conduct the same inspection to see if they found at least 80 percent of what she found. All of the local inspectors passed the test and Vins said in some cases the violation missed by the local inspector was not missed at all. The local inspector verbally told the business owner about the problem, but did not write them up.

–Amato questioned again about what happens to those cited into court for refusing to make needed repairs to septic tanks or systems. In one recent case on Forbes Road, owner Ronald Cochran was fined $50. Amato said this does not address the actual health concern caused by the failing septic and urged the department to pursue such problems again so the owner may be found in contempt of court for not fixing the problem.

“We don’t want just a $50 fine,” Amato said. “There was raw sewage on the ground and four children living within a half mile radius.”

— Donahey has officially issued her retirement resignation to the board, although the board was aware and she has been training her replacement for several months.

— Septic system replacement contract bids are being sought until Nov. 30 for projects which are being funded in part by the Ohio Water Pollution Control Loan Fund.

— The board was notified by Vins about a $1,000 donation from the Lisbon Lions Club with the money to go toward the cancer clinic.