By JUDY SHERIDAN
Parker County Commissioners on Monday awarded a contract for new software for the sheriff’s office and approved two health care options for county employees.
The court awarded the software contract to SunGard, which offered a best and final bid of $969,617 for the computer-aided dispatch, mobile data computer and law enforcement/fire records management system, Purchasing Agent Deena Nichols said.
The low bid for the new system was $515,726 from Tyler Technologies, with the high bid from ICS Integrated Computer Systems for $1,249,758.
The county attorney, purchasing office, IT department and county judge will negotiate the final contract, with the auditor tasked to work on the implementation schedule and financing.
After a lengthy review, SunGard was the choice of a committee made up of representatives from the sheriff’s office, fire marshal’s office, IT office, attorney’s office, auditor’s office and purchasing office, Nichols said, with the decision based mainly on the functionality of the software.
In a meeting last month, Lt. Mark Arnett called efficiency the main issue for the sheriff’s office and said SunGard was “head and shoulders above” the other contenders.
The new medical plans, which will take effect Jan. 1, were recommended by the Public Employee Benefits Cooperative (PEBC), which is assisting counties as they begin to implement the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare.
The Act requires everyone have access to health care, but it also effectively limits the amount of coverage that an employer can provide.
As a result of the Act, the county’s Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO) Plan — used by less than 30 employees — will be eliminated due to its future costs, Employee Benefits Coordinator Jenny Gentry said.
The two new options will be an enhanced Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) Plan — most employees have a PPO plan now — and an Account-Based High-Deductible Health Plan with a Health Savings Account (HSA).
An HSA belongs to the employee and can roll over every year, County Attorney John Forrest said. It stays with an individual even if the employee terminates his or her employment.
“The PEBC has done an excellent job of monitoring this for us, to keep us out of trouble and not cost us any money,” County Judge Mark Riley said. “Whether we like some of these things or not is not the decision. It’s how to best comply and be efficient with our tax dollars.”
Diana Kongevick, with the PEBC, said county employees will be educated to make sure they understand the options.
In other business, commissioners:
• Approved appointing Riley as the contact for litigation in Cause No. CV13-0129 RAS Ranch, Ltd. vs Parker County.
• Approved the purchase of a 1/2-ton 4x4 crew cab pickup truck for the sheriff’s office, awarding the contract to Jerry’s GM for $32,000 instead of Roger Williams for $31,890 — the bidder recommended by purchasing — so the sheriff’s office could take immediate delivery instead of delivery May 20. The purchase will be made with money from forfeitures.
• Tabled a recommendation from a committee made up of representatives from the offices of the auditor, treasurer, attorney and purchasing agent to award a bid for online auctioneering services to Lonestar Auctioneers Inc. The current auctioneer charges a 10 percent buyer’s premium to the bidders, while Lonestar has an 8 percent premium, according to purchasing, a better value for bidders. Riley said his concern was the value of the service provided.
• Approved posting stop signs facing north and south at the intersection of Old Garner Road on the Ric Williamson Memorial Highway, as well as at four intersections with Blue Ridge Drive and at Elliott Lane at Goshen Road.
• Proclaimed June 7 as Weatherford Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution Day in Parker County. The organization has received national recognition for their constitutional activities educating fifth graders.
• Reappointed Tim Watts to a four-year term on the Upper Trinity Groundwater Conservation District Board.
• Approved an election contract with the City of Azle.