Thursday, November 12, 2009
North bypass on hold
By SUE WATSON
Work on paving the North Holly Springs bypass has hit a snag and the contractor will cease hauling topping until next year, according to county engineer Larry Britt.
He advised the board of supervisors that two of three borrow-pit sites must be surveyed for Indian artifacts if they are found to be Indian grounds. The borrow pit on the west end of the bypass does not have to be reviewed, but one pit in the middle and one on the east end will be examined by an archeologist with Ole Miss for a cultural resources assessment, Britt said. The results will be put before the Tribal Council and they have 45 days to respond. If the council does not respond in 45 days, the contractor can use the two pits in question. If the council does not release the sites, the contractor will pick new sites for fill material.
Britt said he expects it will be mid-June of 2010 before the road is paved and ready for opening.
“We’ll have to play that game; it is not the contractor’s fault,” Britt said. “There’s nothing they can do. Their hands are tied.”
Supervisors approved a permit for the town of Byhalia to continue laying water lines down French Road to Victoria and over and up St. Paul Road. Britt asked for the permit, saying Byhalia has been holding on to grant money for about four years to get the expansion but could lose it if the town doesn’t get on with the construction.
The board also approved giving developer Mike Bailey permission to file some plats if he puts up a maintenance bond to check erosion on some lots that have not been sold.
Alan Burnett, program director for Hospital Wing, addressed the board of supervisors Monday seeking county participation in memberships that would help the air ambulance service and residents of the county who do not have adequate insurance. A trip to Memphis on Airwings can cost up to $8,000, Burnett said. Most insurers pay only about $5,000 of that fee, he said. The remainder is born by the patient. Individual memberships are $50 per year for a single person, $60 for a family but the county could enroll its residents for about $195,000 and charge each sanitation customer $1.25 monthly for the membership.
Individuals who have Medicare Part A and Part B are not obligated to pay any more than Medicare has already agreed to pay, but those who do not have Part B as well as Part A would be billed for what Medicare does not pay, he said.
Burnett said this program is becoming popular with counties, is economical, and helps remove the burden of critical care transportation via Hospital Wing to area hospitals. The company operates as a not-for-profit and memberships are tax deductible.
Hospital Wing transports about nine patients on average a month from Marshall County and over 2,000 a year over the system, he said.
Supervisors could offer the membership to its employees only for about $10 per employee insured.
Hospital Wing has been in service 25 years and has been accident free for 45,000 hours flying. The service operates three helicopters from Memphis and has one stationed in Brownsville, Tenn., and another in Oxford. The service uses the Eurocopter, now made in Mississippi. The aircraft are powerful enough to operate safely with three pilots, two nurses and one patient aboard and flies at top speed of 150 miles an hour.
If the county selects to purchase a membership for the whole county, Hospital Wing will provide protection and accept whatever benefit a patient’s insurance pays. It will also cover anyone living in the county regardless of ability to pay.
The blanket coverage to the county would provide peace of mind and anyone who does not want to participate can opt out of the program, he said.
Some counties put the fee on the wheel tax and others add it to a utility bill such as sanitation or electricity, he said.
Burnett said the enrollment by no means is a money-maker but helps the service pay for training and certification of its pilots, nurses, paramedics, mechanics, etc.
In other business, the board of supervisors:
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