Hinds County District 4 Supervisor Robert Walker provoked a collective gasp at Monday's board meeting when he made a motion to cancel every Hinds County contract, if they're not scrutinized for cost and necessity. His motion didn't pass, but Walker tells us he felt like he got the ball rolling.
"In order to get some funds, we're gonna need to go through the fiscal year without any problems, we're really gonna have to renegotiate some contracts and reduce some of them as recommended by our financial advisor," he says.
No specific contracts were named during the meeting, but we have investigated in the past about contracts that seem excessive. A startup company called Airwave, LLC earns about $730,000 per year for upkeep of the county's radio system. Former District 4 Supervisor Phil Fisher repeatedly questioned the company's performance. He and Supervisor Peggy Calhoun often voted against paying Airwave's monthly claim, but they were always outvoted.
At Monday's meeting, Board Attorney Peter Teeuwissen said there are currently more than 200 contracts altogether, with various companies. He says the contracts will be pulled and a report will be furnished for the board.
"Once the report comes in at our next board meeting, the first one next month, we're gonna have a better idea of who we have contracts with," Walker says.
Also at Monday's meeting, board members voted to increase United Healthcare Insurance premiums for county employees by 13.9 percent. It's a total increase of more than $797,893.
An increase was budgeted, but just $440,000 worth.
The board plans to swallow the costs for now, but the county will negotiate new premiums as soon as possible.
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