July 07--DeSoto County supervisors are adding another nose to the county's squad of crime-fighting dogs.
Supervisors this week added a seventh canine for the Sheriff's Department, while during the same meeting receiving a health care coverage report for county workers that showed a savings of about $5.3 million in claim expenses with network discounts.
"We have one explosives-detecting canine, so we'll have two now," Sheriff Bill Rasco said of the added dog.
Rasco's department will now have a roster of seven public-service dogs, including the two drug-sniffing dogs and five for narcotics and tracking.
Rasco said the dog will have plenty to do when he arrives. Friday's visit to DeSoto by a former U.S. president -- Bill Clinton -- required buildings to be screened, a task done on a more common basis with occasional bomb threats or to prepare for major entertainment or sports events, some as far away as Oxford.
"We go to Ole Miss to screen their arenas," Rasco said. "And we have to take any bomb threats seriously in this day and age. You never know what can happen."
On the insurance issue, Humana is the plan administrator for the county's self-insured insurance plan. Over the past year, the administrative fees paid to Humana exceeded $900,000 and included premiums for the fully insured vision plan as well as other insurance expenses, county human resources director Janna Rogers told supervisors.
The county paid about $3.7 million for medical and dental claims over the past year, she said, but added this amount is after an average 52 percent discount for using in-network providers.
"The total billed claim expenses for county employees and their families exceeded $9 million before the network discounts offered by the contractual arrangement with Humana," Rogers said.
In other action, supervisors approved a contract with Trey Construction for a federal Emergency Watershed Protection bank and bridge stabilization project on Horn Lake Creek. Some $120,000 through the Natural Resources Conservation Service has been approved; the county will pay 15 percent, or about $18,000, said assistant county engineer Scott Young. An additional cost of $60,000 for more work along the creek will be borne by the Horn Lake Drainage District, he said.
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