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County to save $93,000 on insurance

Commissioners heard from Matt Bidgwell about insurance policy changes that could save the county $93,000 in the upcoming fiscal year at their April 29 meeting. He said Blue Cross Blue Shield offered the county a 7.2% increase based on claims, which would equal around $50,000 more for the fiscal year starting July 1. A significant change in the BCBS network means Pike can save money instead of paying the increase. ’Most physicians in the Thomaston area and at Upson Regional have joined the point of service network. If the county will change to a point of service network it’ll save $93,393,’ he said. ‘Otherwise, Pike is looking at a $50,000 increase in cost.’ Commissioners approved a letter of support for tax abatement for a potential energy project in the county. ’There’s land near a substation which would be suitable for a solar power development. It’s essential to get tax breaks to make that a possibility,’ said Kevin Casey of Beaufort Rosemary. ‘Solar power is clean, quiet and produces very little pollution. It can add a significant tax base to the county. The single largest cost to operate is property taxes. It would create jobs during construction but there would be very few permanent jobs after installation. This means it puts very little burden on the county and infrastructure yet it’ll contribute significantly to the tax base.’ The solar power project is not guaranteed. If a bid is not agreed upon in a certain amount of time the letter of support will be voided. Casey said it should be known by July or August if the project is feasible. The county also: ’¢ Heard work will continue on Woodcreek Road once the rain has subsided. ’¢ Held a public hearing and approved a special exception in an agricultural-residential zoned district for a general home occupation for Jessica Cruce to allow a pet sitting service on Perkins Road. Conditions include an annual business license, a maximum of 10 animals, revoking the license if there are repeated animal control violations and prohibiting the site from becoming an animal rescue shelter without proper approval. ’¢ Approved $1,1013 from contingency to buy Fleetmate Software for vehicle maintenance for the public works department. ’¢ Approved use of the courthouse grounds for Second Saturday on the Square events sponsored by the Pike County Arts Council May 10, June 14, July 12 and Aug. 9. ’¢ Called a closed session to discuss pending or potential litigation regarding the magistrate court but reconvened to take no further action.

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