GIRARD — The Crawford County Commission continued discussions about the county’s employee insurance program at its regular meeting Friday.

The county currently has a personal and annual stop-loss built into the insurance system. If an individual reaches $100,000 in claims, the rest of the cost is paid through another plan and not by the county. The annual stop-loss is set based on the county’s estimated claims costs.

If the county reaches 125 percent of its estimated claims in one year, any remaining claims that year are also paid through another plan, not by the county. The commission plans to speak with BCBS Representative Cristy Mitchell Tuesday to see how far away from the annual stop-loss the county currently is.

To date, the commission has transferred over $300,000 from other county funds to cover insurance costs. The money was taken from funds exceeding budgeted rollover money, but have to transfer money is still a concern to the commission, as they have used all excess funds from the county’s general fund.

The commission is exploring the possibilities of raising employee premiums or moving from a partially self-insured plan to a traditional insurance plan. The commission has met with many department heads to learn how these changes would affect their employees.

Members from the original Growing Growers group, which teamed up to begin working toward the high tunnel greenhouse at the Career and Technical Education Center of Southeast Kansas approached the commission to discuss the high tunnel. Group members included Amanda Marney and Martha Murphy from Kansas State Research and Extension Wildcat District, Live Well Crawford County Director Brad Stroud and CTEC Interim Director Randy Corns.

The group gave an update on the high tunnel, which officially opened May 22. They discussed what each organization plans to use it for, from agriculture classes offered to high school students through CTEC to hands-on workshops offered by Wildcat Extension and more.

The group also asked for the county’s help hooking utilities up at the high tunnel. The high tunnel is in need of an electrical outlet, as well as a water hydrant. The Growing Growers group said they plan to use combined funds to purchase the materials, but asked the county for help connecting the utilities.

The commission agreed.

According to Commissioner Jeff Murphy, Radell Construction plans to begin laying a 6-inch sewer line at the Crawford County Fairgrounds June 12. Radell has donated time and materials to help lay the 6-inch line as part of the fairgrounds renovation.

Murphy said his district road and bridge crew are finishing dust control efforts Monday and Tuesday next week, then plan to begin laying the 4-inch line portion of the sewer line at the fairgrounds.

All work is still expected to be completed by fair time.

— Chance Hoener is a staff writer for the Morning Sun. He can be emailed at choener@morningsun.net or follow him on Twitter @ReporterChance.