Some Marion County citizens outraged over supervisors' decision - WDAM - TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports

Some Marion County citizens outraged over supervisors' decision

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COLUMBIA, MS (WDAM) -

Marion County business owners and concerned citizens piled into a room Tuesday for a specially called board of supervisors meeting. 

The heated meeting was sparked from concerns with the boards decision to use a Jackson based insurance agency to handle Marion County's employee health benefits. The recent vote, which moves tax dollars out of county, is causing quite a stir. 

Concerned citizen Louise Anderson said, "If we have the same benefits for the same amount of cost, why are we taking this money out of the county to Jackson?"

That very idea was the root of every question asked Tuesday morning.

One Marion County businessman asked, "How can it help the county to take the money out of Marion County? That's what we're looking at."

Marion County Supervisor Terry Broome told the crowd, "The best way to promote Marion County is to keep the money in Marion County and let it recirculate within the county."

Danny Wilks Insurance of Columbia had previously handled the county's health benefits. However, on April 12 the board voted three-to-two to retain Nick Floyd and Associates out of Jackson. 

Supervisor Randy Dyess asked, same plan, same price, why outsource? "They were identical plans. There was no difference with either plan. The guy out of Jackson never proposed a plan. It came in the morning they voted on it."

However, Supervisor Calvin Newsom said his reasoning in voting for the measure was to keep in a supplemental bridge plan. "The bridge plan is very important to the benefits that our employees receive. It reduces the $5,000 deductible down to $1,000."

Dyess says the local carrier could match the bridge plan dollar for dollar, but the purpose of the vote was to cut costs. "The problem is we can't afford the bridge plan. Taxes will have to be raised to pay for this."

"I believe I was doing the best thing I could do for the employees and that weighed in on my decision," Newsom says.

As of now the vote stands, and a commission of approximately $1.3 million annually will leave the county for a Jackson based agency. Anderson says, "Some of them are totally unwilling to reconsider. They've been asked repeatedly in the meeting."

Newsom says, "A part of politics is to try to put pressure on legislators, on supervisors."

However Dyess says he puts the blame on the majority of the board ignoring what's best for the county, "I would say that this board is out of touch with their constituents or the business people anyway."

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