Local News

Saturday, Nov 10 2012 02:00 PM

Supervisors to tackle recycling, animal shelter, health contract issues

BY JAMES BURGER Californian staff writer jburger@bakersfield.com

Kern County supervisors will meet this week to struggle with a number of significant issues from Kern Medical Center finances to the state of the Kern County Animal Control main shelter to the $3.1 million extention of a pair of controversial health care management contracts.

Kern Medical Center

On Monday, at Kern Medical Center, supervisors will discuss increasing the size of a loan from county general revenues to the county-owned hospital by $6 million to make payroll and cover routine payments to hospital vendors.

The move is becoming a routine activity for the county as the hospital's convoluted government reimbursement system delays funding, forcing Kern Medical Center's to draw deeply on the $78 million loan from the county and then repay millions of dollars at a time.

That meeting starts at 2 p.m. at KMC, 1700 Mount Vernon Ave. in Bakersfield.

Curbside recycling

Single-family homeowners in the Kern County areas of metropolitan Bakersfield will see a $36 a year increase in their refuse collection fee -- to a total of $245.64 a year -- if county supervisors approve a proposed rate increase and the implementation of a curbside blue-cart recycling program.

The blue-cart service will add $32 to the annual cost of trash service in Bakersfield. The other $4 will go to pay for increased costs of trash service.

Supervisors will discuss the change, listen to any public comment and take formal letters of opposition at 2 p.m. Tuesday in the Kern County Board of Supervisors chambers at 1115 Truxtun Ave. in Bakersfield.

Ann Barnett

Supervisors are expected to accept the resignation of Auditor-Controller Ann Barnett on Tuesday and appoint Kern County Accounting Chief Mary Bedard to replace her for the remaining two years of her term.

The Kern County auditor-controller is chosen by Kern County voters and the position will be up for election in 2014.

Managed Care Systems

Supervisors are also being asked to extend two controversial contracts with Managed Care Systems, which runs the health insurance plan for the county's more than 8,000 employees.

The existing contract has been criticized because MCS is charged by the contract with negotiating service costs with Bakersfield-area hospitals with which it shares an ownership interest.

If supervisors agree to the proposal, the county would extend the larger of Managed Care System's two contracts by six months, at a price tag of about $2.3 million, and the other for a full year at a cost of $800,000.

In addition, County Administrative Officer John Nilon is proposing small increases to both contracts totaling around $43,500.

The largest of the two contracts would also be amended to give the county, not Managed Care Systems, control over negotiating reimbursement rates with hospitals in Kern County, a move that could be aimed at getting around the potential conflict of interest charges..

Animal shelter

New Kern County Animal Control Director Jen Woodard has submitted a report to supervisors stating that the current main county animal shelter on South Mount Vernon Avenue is inadequate, poorly designed, helps transmit disease and needs to be replaced.

Woodard has talked in the past about needing to make aggressive efforts to improve operations at the shelter.

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