Dry conditions, health insurance among topics at Victoria County Commissioners Court meeting


Nov. 14, 2011 at 5:14 a.m.

The Crossroads remains dry but residents seem to better understand how to play it safe, fire personnel said Monday.

Victoria County Fire Marshal Ron Pray spoke at the Victoria County Commissioners Court meeting, briefly updating attendees on the region's conditions.

The county sat at a 672 drought index Sunday, Pray said. The drought index scale ranges from zero, which indicates no moisture depletion, to 800, which indicates completely dry conditions, according to Texas A&M University's Texas Weather Connection website.

The good news, Pray said, was that only one structural blaze took place throughout the weekend.

"I think people are starting to realize it's getting dangerous again," he said, explaining residents are either curbing their burning habits or keeping a closer eye on things when doing so.

Victoria County's employee health insurance plan was also discussed.

The county will see a 9 percent fee decrease next year, said Linda Walker, a Corpus Christi consultant for the county's benefits plan.

Fixed costs will drop nearly $80,000, she said, while the maximum liability will decrease from this year's estimated $3.6 million to an estimated $3.3 million, she said.

Joyce Dean, the county's director of administrative services, attributed much of the decrease to an aggressive approach to wellness.

An employee clinic helps people receive early diagnoses, she said, and obtain necessary treatment.

Employees pay into the insurance program but the decrease will not affect the rates they pay, Dean said. The lower prices mean the county will basically break even, she said.

"In previous years our claims have exceeded deposits, so the court had to transfer funds at the end of the year," she said. "This is good news for us next year."



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