April 6, 2021 Tuesday 9:00 am
The Bourbon County Commission met in open session with Commissioners Oharah and Harris present, (Commissioner Beth arrived at 9:20) the County Counselor and the County Clerk present.
Also present were the following: (some were present for a portion of the meeting and some were present for the entire meeting), Jason Silvers with the Fort Scott Tribune, Jeremy Frazier, Susan Bancroft and Nancy Van Etten.
Lynne made a motion to approve the minutes from the previous meeting, Jim seconded and all approved and signed the minutes.
Eric Bailey previously received a request to move an oversized load on the County roads; he said he has the insurance paperwork from this requestor and that Justin Meeks had reviewed and approved it. Lynne made a motion to approve the moving permit, Jim seconded and the motion passed.
Eric Bailey reported that they have finished capping the C&D at the Landfill.
Eric reported three trees had fallen across the road last week, which they have pushed off of the side of the road.
Eric said they hope to be crushing at the Beth Quarry by the last part of the week.
Eric reported that the burner on the oil tank quit, but the part has been ordered for repairs. He said they are working on repairs to the laydown machine.
Eric reported the low water crossing at 60th & Grand had given out, he said engineer Frank Young is involved and they are putting in temporary culverts there.
Eric asked Jim Harris about the crossing at 115th & Range to the north; Jim suggesting asking Frank Young to pull the review of this crossing.
Eric briefly discussed the windfarm project; he said the contractors are 13% complete on capping the roads and said they are working on 40th & 50th and at 39 & Cavalry Road. He said weight limit signs have been put up at a few crossings.
The Commissioners received hay bids for Elm Creek Lake and for land the County owns on Native Road. Elm Creek – Joe Tirri bid $3,000 and Pat Murphy bid $1,200. Jim made a motion to accept the $3,000 bid from Joe Tirri, Lynne seconded and all approved. Native Road – Pete Wiley bid $51 and Pat Murphy bid $301. Jim made a motion to accept the bid from Pat Murphy for $301 for the land west of the Oak Grove Cemetery on Native Road, Lynne seconded and all approved.
Eric Bailey reported they are behind on culverts.
Justin Meeks said that the City of Fort Scott’s Attorney Bob Farmer had approved the lease agreement from Justin for the dispatch area, Justin said he wrote the lease for $0 from the City for 10 years, he said the City would be responsible for their internet. It was stated that 911 funds are involved in the dispatch budget and payroll is a large part of their budget, Lynne said 911 funds can only be used for purchases. Justin said the County pays the City $50,000 a year for dispatch and said he hopes to keep this at $50,000. Jim made a motion to enter a contract with the City for the space at the Courthouse for dispatch at zero cost, Lynne seconded and all approved and Lynne signed the lease agreement.
The Commissioners discussed the mask mandate; Lynne said the legislative body did not accept the governors mask mandate; Lynne questioned if this reduces the liability risk from the County. Justin stated that masks do help and said he did not know where it will be in 2-3 years legally. Lynne said the Court system would still be requiring masks; Justin said people going to court have the same access points as other customers coming into the Courthouse. Justin said mask requirements would now be up to local businesses, local government and schools. Clifton said his position is to do what the C.D.C. recommends, which is that the C.D.C. has not lifted masks. Jim suggested following the C.D.C. guidelines and not to change anything and keep doing what we are doing at the Courthouse.
There was a discussion over forming a citizen’s advisory board; Justin said he had received a phone call from a concerned citizen over possibly having an advisory board for shared services with the City for an HR director. The Commissioners said a citizen’s advisory board could make recommendations to the Commissioners but could not make the final decisions. Jim said he would like the advisory board to not only look at shared services for HR but to also look at a full time HR position. Lynne made a motion to give Mark McCoy permission to head up a citizen’s advisory board for HR & a shared services committee, Jim seconded and all approved. Lynne asked that next week’s agenda have added a citizen’s advisory board for quality of life.
Jeremy Frazier said they were looking forward to getting the dispatch moved; Lynne said it was important to have a good working relationship with the City and said they are talking about shared services, but not consolidating.
Emergency Manager William Wallis met with the Commissioners to get a signature on the County Emergency Operation Plan; he said this is reviewed and done every 5 years and said the Emergency Operation Plan gives the County a base to work from if a major disaster hit. Jim made a motion to accept the updated Emergency Operation Plan and to allow the Chairman to sign, Clifton seconded and all approved and Lynne signed the Emergency Operation Plan.
Justin Meeks discussed land the County owns which was the old landfill site; he asked permission to find out when the safety plan is over for that land and said the County shouldn’t own land that the County doesn’t need, he said the City owns land next to this. Jim said he thought there were 6 wells there and volunteered contacting KDHE to find out when the inspections expire there. Lynne made a motion to allow Jim Harris to check this out with KDHE regarding the inspection and the use of the land, Clifton seconded and all approved.
Justin reminded the Commissioners that they have KOMA training on April 13th from 10:30-11:15.
Justin said he would talk to the Commissioners later regarding the Hester property across from the Landfill, he said there is a new owner of the land.
Jim made a motion to give Lynne permission to have a meeting with City officials and Shane Walker about the Courthouse being used as a multiuse facility and sharing IT services and about the City moving to the Courthouse, Clifton seconded and all approved.
Lynne made a motion to allow Susan Bancroft to help (and have access) with managing the COPS grant, Clifton seconded and all approved.
Clifton made a motion to give Lynne permission to set up a meeting with BEDCO, the Healthy Bourbon County Action Team and the County to look at consolidating and to deal with any issues with those entities and to possibly have a meeting this week, Jim seconded and all approved.
Justin and the Commissioners discussed the County pay scale; Justin said our pay scale is at a 2015 pay level and said finding qualified people for employment is difficult. Lynne said this is a budget issue and said they are always hearing that people don’t want their taxes going up, Justin said taxes couldn’t go up for salaries, (with the possible exception of public safety). Lynne questioned if there are places we could cut to give raises to become competitive. Clifton questioned what the services are the public is willing to give up. Lynne said they have cut staff over the years. Justin said some departments have a high turnover rate.
Lynne made a motion to go into a 10-minute executive session for KSA 75-4319(b)(4) to discuss data relating to financial affairs or trade secrets of corporations, partnerships, trusts and individual proprietorships regarding a non-disclosure, the Commissioners will meet in another location and reconvene in the Commission room at 10:13, Clifton seconded and all approved, (the session included the Commissioners and Justin Meeks). At 10:10, Lynne made a motion to come out of executive session and resume the regular meeting, Jim seconded and all approved. Clifton made a motion to allow Justin to negotiate two lots for a value of less than $10,000 each for parking, Jim seconded and all approved. Clifton made a motion to allow Shane Walker to discuss lease agreements on the old SRS building (108 W. 2nd), Jim seconded and all approved. Justin said they will talk about this topic in open session once the lease is signed.
Lynne made a motion to go into a 7-minute executive session for KSA 75-4319(b) (1) to discuss personnel matters of individual non-elected personnel to protect their privacy to discuss 4 employees with medical issues and someone’s work and job function, the Commissioners will meet in another location and reconvene in the Commission room at 10:20, Jim seconded and all approved, (the session included the Commissioners, Justin Meeks and Susan Bancroft). Lynne made a motion to come out of executive session and back into open session, Jim seconded and all approved. Clifton made a motion to allow Susan Bancroft to discuss I/T issues with possible shared services with Shane and the City, Jim seconded and all approved.
Public Comment: Nancy Van Etten thanked the Commissioners for the continued mask mandate for the Courthouse, she encouraged people to get their COVID vaccinations. She also thanked the Commissioners for the citizen’s advisory board. Nancy asked for an update on the sewer district; Susan Bancroft said the city had transitioned to a different attorney and said she had a meeting with Mr. Farmer this week, they are working on an agreement with St. Marten’s Academy, Susan said they are metering the lift station so they know what to charge them. Nancy said she appreciated the conversation on how to save taxpayer money; she said they needed to keep an eye on the effective tax rate. She said the PILOT money could help decrease the mill. Nancy said that William Wallis is doing a great job as the emergency manager.
Susan Bancroft announced that Senator Moran was at Labconco this morning.
Commissioner Comment: Jim said as a private citizen he had met with the Chief of Police and said they are interested in an SRO officer for Fort Scott. He said the City is interested in the possibility of two additional ball diamonds.
Jim said he and Eric Bailey had met with T&C Wildlife and said T&C requested #’s to pave approximately 1 mile of road in front of their facility; T&C would pay 100% of the installation cost, the Commissioners would have to review this and approve if they opted to.
Lynne reported that with the cold weather in February the gas bill for the Courthouse and the jail was $30,000; he said they may need to talk about gas contracts later.
Lynne said they are not doing consolidation (City and County) and said everything would be separate, he said the savings to the taxpayers would be to only have one building.
Regarding the advisory board, Jim said they should have town hall meetings regarding reducing services.
Lynne said he and Susan Bancroft would be meeting to do an S&P report for the sewer district bond refinancing.
At 10:33, Clifton made a motion to adjourn, Jim seconded and all approved.
THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
OF BOURBON COUNTY, KANSAS
(ss) Lynne Oharah, Chairman
(ss) Jim Harris, Commissioner
(ss) Clifton Beth, Commissioner
Kendell Mason, Bourbon County Clerk
April 13, 2021, Approved Date