Pottawatomie County has given the go-ahead for a local construction company to pursue a Housing Investor Tax Credit from the State of Kansas.

The funding would help offset construction and interest costs, giving developers a discount on tax liability and allowing them to achieve more attainable price points for buyers.

Ross Vogel with Heartland Housing Partners spoke on behalf of JLC Construction, which is pursuing the tax credit on nine single family units and one duplex in the Whispering Meadows and Willow Glen additions.

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Commissioners were hesitant at first to sign the resolution, citing unfamiliarity with the tax credit program. Commissioner Greg Riat says he’d like more time to study the program.

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Commissioners approved the resolution Monday, but removed three sections pertaining to knowledge of a shortage of housing in attainable price points and knowledge that the shortage would persist, potentially impacting growth.

Commissioners also received an update on estimated costs for a new generator for the Wamego Senior and Community Center, which have almost doubled in price.

Buildings and Grounds Supervisor Thomas Edwards says when they first came to the commission two years ago on this project, the project cost was anticipated to be around $45,000. It’s now roughly $80,000, which includes $25,000 just to install the new unit. Commissioner Pat Weixelman responded.

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Commissioner Greg Riat says he supports the project, but is hopeful staff and can find ways to lower the cost.

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County Administrator Chad Kinsley says grant money is available, but requires the new generator to be up and running no later than June 30.

Edwards will research prices and bring any new information to commissioners at their next meeting, which is Feb. 27. Commissioners are not meeting Feb. 20, as offices are closed in observance of Presidents Day.

Commissioners also received an update Monday on its new employee health care plan, which has gotten off to a rocky start.

USI Insurance spoke to solutions it is implementing to help avoid further disruptions to employees, many of whom have reported skyrocketing prices for prescription drugs. It says some of the disruptions were caused by miscues by the provider when writing the new plan.

Matt Morrison is a pharmacist with USI’s Pharmacy Benefit Manager Oread RX, who says some nuances that were in the previous plan, pertaining to maintenance medications, weren’t initially included in the new plan.

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As of Jan. 23, Morrison says there are no cases where a 30-day copay should’ve been applied when it wasn’t appropriate.

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The company is issuing 18 checks ranging from $1.60 to $75 to employees which they believe should be received by the end of the week. Morrison also says another underlying issue has been with GLP-1 drugs, historically used for Type-2 Diabetes that have also been recently shown to be an effective weight loss drug.

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Morrison says that should alleviate any disruptions in the near term and is probably worth further discussion, since the drugs are not cheap.

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Morrison says they also plan to reduce the generic copay from $15 to $5 for employees to help capture some of the pricing discrepancies from the previous vendor.

Employees with additional questions or concerns are being advised to contact Pottawatomie County Human Resources Director Whitney Phebus at 785-457-3455.