August 25, 2020 Tuesday 9:00 am
The Bourbon County Commission met in open session with all Commissioners Oharah and Ruhl present, Commissioner Fischer was present by telephone, the County Counselor and the County Clerk were also present.
Also present were the following; (some were present for a portion of the meeting, some were present for the entire meeting) Anne Dare, Mr. & Mrs. Clint Walker, Michael Hoyt and Mary Pemberton.
Jim Harris announced that his retirement date is October 2nd, 2020. Nick said he would like for Jim Harris to sit in on the interview process when the Commissioners interview for his replacement.
Jim Harris reported that it would cost approximately $4,000 for oil and asphalt for the Riverfront parking lot, Jim suggested that the County do this as a donation to the park; Nick made a motion to pave the Riverfront parking lot as a donation by the County, Lynne seconded and the motion passed.
Greenbush representative Monica Murnan met with the Commissioners regarding the Spark grant; she questioned who would sign the memorandum of understanding; Nick made a motion that Lynne sign the memo of understanding, Jeff seconded and all approved. Michael Hoyt questioned the timeline if an applicant decided they didn’t want the grant money; Monica said they have asked that all of the paperwork for reporting be to them by November 22nd, and if someone drops out they would bring this issue back to the Commissioners to decide where to allocate the extra funds.
Michael Hoyt asked the Commissioners when a resource is at the Commission meeting if people could have the opportunity to discuss any questions they have with them; Lynne said they could take this under consideration. Lynne said eventually the meetings will be televised and they would later discuss the format of the meetings.
Jayhawk Wind representatives Juliana Pianelli, Jeff Spangler, Alan Anderson and Chris Rutherford met with the Commissioners; Juliana said they have had added additional participants to the project, she said some of them had land in the project already, they presented a revised map showing the additional people wanting to participate in the project, Juliana said the boundaries of the project had changed, but the scope of the project hasn’t changed she said it is still a 195 megawatt wind farm. Juliana said they had reached out to neighboring landowners in the revised area; Anne Dare questioned if it was documented that they had contacted the neighbors, Juliana said this was done through phone calls. Jim Harris questioned what would keep the wind farm company from expanding the area again; Jayhawk Wind said they would have to come back to the Commissioners if that happened. Lynne stated that Bourbon County has all of the agreements in place, they just want to move further west with the project. Michael Hoyt questioned if the neighbors had an opportunity to object; Alan Anderson said landowners can object. The expanded area included an area near 20th & 200th & 210th and an area near 20th & Fern. Jeff said the original road use agreement that was signed was not confined to the original area. Alan said they were asking the Commissioners to amend the road use agreement to incorporate the new area. Jeff questioned if it was necessary to amend the road use agreement; Justin Meeks said yes Exhibit A needed to be amended, because Exhibit A confines the project to the original boundaries. It was stated that Bourbon County isn’t zoned and that landowners can do what they want with their land. Jim Harris mentioned using special use permits; Alan Anderson said that is zoning. Lynne asked Juliana if the Commissioners waited a week to decide on amending the road use agreement would jeopardize the new participants ability to have a contract; Juliana said no. Jeff commended the wind farm company for using extended setbacks for the people that had expressed health concerns with the wind farms. The Commissioners will discuss amending the road use agreement on September 1st at 9:00 am.
The Commissioners held the 2021 budget hearing; additional people present for the hearing were Angel Wilson and Lora Holdridge. Mary Pemberton had two areas to comment on the budget; the employee benefits health insurance portion and the County Counselors salary. She said the County Counselor wants to change the structure of his pay without benefits to make it look like a better deal for the County when the County Counselor could get their own health insurance cheaper elsewhere. She said the County Counselor said he spent more time working (some of his time was spent on wind farms) than he negotiated in his contract, but said that was their own fault since he could’ve hired an outside attorney for the wind farm counsel as was suggested. She asked that rather than renewing his contract they wait until the new Commissioners come on board so they can help select who will be the County Counselor. Kendell explained the budgeting process for the employee benefits; by looking at the budget it appears that health insurance costs almost double of the actual cost, this is offset through a reimbursement section in the budget. Lynne said that in the past Don Doherty had told the Commissioners that the County should stay with their current insurance company since they are part of an insurance pool. Anne Dare commended the Commissioners for not raising the mill levy, but encouraged the Commissioners to continue to look for ways to save money. Anne also question why hire both a Road & Bridge director and a foreman; she suggested combining the jobs. The Commissioners briefly discussed the Road & Bridge sales tax; Lynne said if that doesn’t pass services would go away and it would mean a loss of revenue of approximately $1,050,000. Mary Pemberton said it was stated that the money from Mercy Hospital and the Pilot money weren’t included in the budget since it wasn’t guaranteed money; she questioned why the Road & Bridge Sales tax money was budgeted for since it was unknown if it would pass; Justin Meeks stated that the Sales Tax would expire in June of 2021 if it didn’t pass. Clint Walker questioned the wording for the ballot for the Road & Bridge sales tax; Lynne said it will say that the County will use their portion of the money for hard surface roads. Lora Holdridge questioned if the Commissioners budgeted for raises; Lynne said no, they budgeted for a raise for three positions; the jail major and the jail captain and the IT employee. Nick made a motion to adopt the 2021 budget, Jeff seconded and all approved, Lynne and Nick signed the budget.
Economic Development Director Jody Hoener met with the Commissioners to discuss the CDBG $132,000 grant; she said they had received 17 applications for the grant money but said 10 will be able to meet the strict income guidelines and be able to submit the necessary paperwork, she asked the Commissioners to increase the maximum amount up to $14,000 for each of the approved applicant. Nick made a motion to adopt the new presented guidelines and the new parameters for the CDBG, Jeff seconded and all approved the motion and Lynne signed the document.
Register of Deeds Lora Holdridge met with the Commissioners; she said she had previously told the Commissioners that she wouldn’t be using all of her 2020 budget, but said she could use the money to pay a company called US Imaging (an expense of approximately $10,000) to work on the deeds books, she asked the Commissioners if they were depending on her unspent budget money or if she could use it; the Commissioners said they always appreciate unspent money, but they weren’t depending on it. Lora will be paying this expense from the Register of Deeds budget.
Lynne made a motion to sign a letter of support for Coordinated Transit District #10, Nick seconded and all approved and Nick and Lynne signed the letter.
Lynne made a motion to accept a cereal malt beverage license for KC Mart, Inc, located at 2191 Soldier Road, Nick seconded and all approved and Lynne signed the license.
Jeff Fischer discussed the 3 mile restriction of the wind farm near Elm Creek Lake and questioned if the expanded project would be closer than 3 miles to the Bourbon Allen Lake; Lynne said he would call Jayhawk Wind and ask them to make sure they were out of the 3 mile limit and ask them to revise the map to be at least 3 miles from Elm Creek Lake and Bourbon Allen Lake.
Nick made a motion that Lynne signs the Spark payment vouchers, Jeff seconded and all approved.
Lynne made a motion to go into a 5 minute executive session for personnel matters of individual non-elected personnel, Nick seconded and all approved, (the session included the Commissioners, Justin Meeks, Kendell Mason and Doretta Neville). No action was taken.
At 11:17, Nick made a motion to adjourn, Lynne seconded and all approved.
THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
OF BOURBON COUNTY, KANSAS
(ss) Lynne Oharah, Chairman
(ss) Jeff Fischer, Commissioner
(ss) Nick Ruhl, Commissioner
Kendell Mason, Bourbon County Clerk
September 1, 2020, Approved Date