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Morning Sun
  • County gives OK to RWD No. 1 construction plans

  • Rural Water District No. 1 is building a brand-new office building/storm shelter. The group has already started pouring concrete so it can be open by the spring storm season.

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  • Rural Water District No. 1 is building a brand-new office building/storm shelter. The group has already started pouring concrete so it can be open by the spring storm season.
    There’s just one little catch: They are only now getting their building permit and zoning changes approved.
    “We’re building an office that’s also a storm shelter for 100 people in that area,” said Tim Gintner, of Rural Water District No. 1. “We thought we were in compliance because we were a quasi-municipality. We knew Bone Creek was doing work, and they didn’t have to get permission. Because of that, I was under the impression municipalities didn’t have to do zoning. Once Judy [Freeman, county zoning administrator] gave us a call, we’re doing what we can to come into compliance.”
    There is a date for a zoning hearing in April, but commissioners gave the go-ahead for work to continue until that time.
    The reason for the need for a zoning change is because the RWD No. 1 purchased about two acres of farmland through eminent domain for use as a septic system. Because of the change in zoning and the new construction, building permits, conditional use requests and more had to be filed.
    The commission also heard from Caleb Gilmore, from AFLAC, about bringing education opportunities about the county’s benefits to the residents.
    Gilmore said that the county, who has been with AFLAC for more than 35 years, will soon see their longtime contact person retire. That prompted a review of his clients and files.
    One of the things Gilmore found was a majority of county employees did not have supplemental insurance, and those that did were not using the preventive care and screening benefits.
    “It makes me think that your employees don’t understand what they have at their fingertips,” Gilmore said. “In pointing that out, your employees don’t know what they have or don’t know what opportunities there are. In other municipalities, we typically see 30-40 percent participation rate. You guys are at 5 percent.”
    Gilmore proposed two things.
    First, later in the spring or summer, AFLAC will bring a truck (NASCAR-, golf- or Heisman-themed) to the county. This truck will also have phone lines set up to dedicated AFLAC employees to help process claims and answer questions related to coverage.
    “So you’re going to come in, let the ones that have it know what they have, and basically try to sell it to the ones that don’t have it?” said Commissioner Tom Moody.
    Commissioners eventually said this would be fine with them, so long as it was not mandatory for employees to go to the AFLAC truck.
    “If we’ve got an employee that doesn’t want to go in, I’m not going to run it down their throat,” Moody said.
    Page 2 of 2 - The second proposal was to offer a program called Architecture Lite to the commission for free as a service. This program would put all the county’s benefits — retirement, disability, KPERS, etc. — in one online program. County employees would access this program every year to make changes to their benefit enrollment. This would, Gilmore said, eliminate the need for employees to turn in their benefit paperwork, only to have county HR staff input that information elsewhere.
    Gilmore later summarized both proposals.
    “We get better access [with the first proposal], but once you give us that access, we’re going forward in future years not continuing that access. But we are continuing the benefit [of the second proposal],” Gilmore said.
    Commissioners said that the educational opportunity sounded worthwhile, and that they would look into the second proposal.
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