March 3, 2020 Tuesday 9:00 am
The Bourbon County Commission met in open session with all three Commissioners the County Counselor and the County Clerk present.
Also present for a portion of the meeting (that signed in) were Tammy Helm with the Fort Scott Tribune, Apex representatives Alan Anderson, Helen Humphreys, Jeff Spangler and Juliana Planelli as well as Anne Dare, Ken Anderson, Deb Lust, Mary Pemberton, Matt Davis, Joe Ludlum, Rachel & Clint Walker, Rich & Rei Clark, Arlene Weber, Barbara Peine, Kim Simons, Jordan Nielson, Darren Crays, David S?, Janice Bailey, Sara Conkling, Ruby Keith, Barbara Schmidt, Melissa Warner, Don (Sparky) Schroeder, Brent Smith, Sara Sutton, Kevin Huber, Tara Allen, Heather Herring, Stacy Racy, Dennis Fry, Janet Beene, Deb , Morter, ? Field, Deb Martin and Nancy Van Etten.
Jim Harris and Jerad Heckman with Road & Bridge met with the Commissioners. Jim said they are crushing daylight to dark to get caught up. They are patching around the County daylight to dark (patching on 125th, Hackberry, Valley, 215th and Yale).
Nick discussed the brush being left along the roads that has been cut up; he suggested not cutting anymore until the brush gets cleaned up. Lynne made a motion to burn the brush (and keep the fire away from fences), Nick seconded and all approved.
Lynne reported brush in the road near Range and 95th.
Lynne made a motion to adopt Resolution 11-20;
Bourbon County KS. Commission
Patron Participation and Public Forums
In order to maintain orderly and efficient County Commission meetings it has become necessary to enact the following policy addressing patron participation in commissions meetings and forums.
- Personal, rude, or slanderous remarks are prohibited.
- Patrons wishing to speak publicly during a commission meeting must make such request through the Bourbon County Clerk’s office.
- Comments will be limited to five minutes per patron per meeting.
- Fifteen minutes per subject or associated subject will be allowed.
- One hour of accumulated time will be set aside for public comments.
- A copy of any material to be shared or used to address the commission will need to be provided to the Bourbon County Clerk the day prior to the scheduled commission meeting.
Nick seconded. Jeff said that Mark McCoy (a civic leader in our community) recommended getting control over the Commission meetings, Jeff said at times they get asked questions and answer without giving adequate information. He said they have appreciated the conversations, Justin said they have enjoyed the banter about different subjects, but haven’t been able to control the meetings and now due to possible litigation this is necessary. Jeff said the Commission meetings are open, they are here to conduct business, they are glad the people are here, but they are trying to arrive at a balance. Lynne said they are trying to get the County to move forward, he said some entities have rigid rules and regulations to go by. Whatever the topic is, they encourage people to call and talk to the Commissioners or if there is a road issue to call the Road & Bridge department. All approved and signed the motion.
Lynne made a motion to go into a 30 minute executive session for consultation with an attorney for the body or agency which would be deemed privileged in the attorney-client relationship to discuss contract negotiations, Nick seconded and all approved, (the session included the Commissioners, Justin Meeks and Alan Anderson). No action was taken.
Lynne made a motion to go into a 20 minute executive session for consultation with an attorney for the body or agency which would be deemed privileged in the attorney-client relationship to discuss contract negotiations, Nick seconded and all approved, (the session included the Commissioners and Justin Meeks). No action was taken.
Lynne asked that the 11:00 meeting to discuss the Apex Wind generation contracts be rescheduled to 3/10/20 at 11:00 am.
Lynne made a motion to go into a 10 minute executive session for personnel matters of individual non-elected personnel, Nick seconded and all approved, (the session included the Commissioners). No action was taken.
Jeff Fischer reported that some people have been questioning Justin Meeks qualifications; Jeff read Justin’s resume, Justin has work experience in a private practice, a County Counselor, a County Attorney, an Assistant County Attorney, a partner in a law firm, a contract negotiator, a legal assistant and a law clerk. He has teaching experience and has served on several boards. Jeff said that the Commissioners have complete confidence in the County Counselor with his professional experience. Jeff said he supports the role of the County Counselor, he said Justin had been very actively involved in the ambulance negotiations for Bourbon County. Jeff said he supports Justin’s level of professionalism. Lynne agreed and said that Justin is a part time counselor, but works over 25 hours a week in this role. Nick said that Justin goes above and beyond what is asked of him and that he trusted him.
Lynne made a motion to go into a 20 minute executive session for personnel matters of individual non-elected personnel, Nick seconded and all approved, (the session included the Commissioners, Justin Meeks and Kendell Mason). No action was taken.
Lynne made a motion to go into a 7 minute executive session for consultation with an attorney for the body or agency which would be deemed privileged in the attorney-client relationship, Nick seconded and all approved, (the session included the Commissioners, Justin Meeks and Kendell Mason). No action was taken.
At 11:12, Lynne made a motion to break for lunch and reconvene at 1:30, Jeff seconded; Jeff said he was asked about the executive sessions that just occurred, Jeff said the sessions had nothing to do with the wind farm agreements, he said the wind farm agreements were to be talked about at 11:00, but that had been postponed until 3/10 at 11:00, all approved the motion.
The Commissioners met with David Neville regarding the front porch steps; David reported that Jess Milburn who had gotten the bid is declining the job. Nick made a motion to re-bid the job and open the bids on March 24th, Jeff seconded and all approved.
Lynne made a motion that all of the Commissioners view the front porch steps, Jeff seconded and all approved. After looking at the steps, Nick made a motion to close the front porch until the porch is repaired, Jeff seconded and all approved.
The spring on the door at the ambulance barn has broken; the Commissioner’s were ok with the $1,000 replacement. Nick will discuss this with Robert Leisure.
Barbara Peine met with the Commissioners; she is against the wind turbine. On 2/29/2020 she attended a Fort Scott Chamber meeting; five different representatives from Topeka were at that meeting. Wind installations came up and she said they all said it was a local decision made by the local commissions whether the wind farms would be located in Bourbon County. She said they had hoped that the Commissioners would listen to all of the concerns the citizens in Bourbon County before making a final decision and signing the agreements. She asked the Commissioners to do a moratorium because the people here are just now discovering wind turbines are being considered. She said if they would have been informed back in 2016 it would have been a fairer playing field. She suggested allowing the voters to decide whether or not to allow the wind turbines here. She said during her working career transparency and the lack of communication caused discord, similar to what is happening now between the citizens and taxpayers of Bourbon County versus the Commissioners. She discussed the new 5 minute rule on speaking at the Commission meetings; she said it seems as though the Commissioners didn’t want the citizens to voice their opinions. She said moving forward with technology isn’t always for the better.
Mike Wunderly met with the Commissioners; he is also opposed to the wind farms. He asked the following questions; do you live in Bourbon County by choice, are you forced to live here under any circumstance, when you chose to live here did you do so hoping that a wind turbine power plant would someday be located in Bourbon County, how many of you would like to have a brand new home in the country and how many of you would like to have the new home in the middle of or new a wind turbine power plant? He said he had been many places, but always looked forward to coming home to Bourbon County for the peace and quiet that it offered. He compared the $14,000,000 County budget to the PILOT payment (he said the PILOT is $400,000.00). He asked if the PILOT money would be shared with other entities. He discussed the KDWP requirements for the wildlife habitat and asked how a wind turbine power plant could build all of the roads and towers without KDWP permits.
Carla Nemecek with Southwind Extension District met with the Commissioners and presented their Making a Difference January 2020 newsletter. She said their office does many things as well as soil testing, Aging with Attitude Regional Expo, Walk Kansas and accept online registrations and online payments. They are planning and preparing for the 2020 fair.
Jeff reported that he, Jody Hoener, Bill Brittain and Nathan Fausen will be meeting in Topeka on 3/5/2020 regarding healthcare.
Jeff made a motion to go into a 5 minute executive session for matters relating to the security of a public body or agency, public building or facility or the information system of a public body or agency, if the discussion of such matters at an open meeting would jeopardize the security of such public body, agency, building, facility or information system, Nick seconded and all approved, (the session included the Commissioners, Judge Ward, Ben Cole and Bill Martin). No action was taken.
At 4:06, Nick made a motion to adjourn, Jeff 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
March 10, 2020, Approved Date