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August 16, 2022                                   Tuesday 9:00 am

 

The Bourbon County Commission met in open session with all three Commissioners (including newly appointed Commissioner Dist #1 Nelson Blythe) and the County Clerk present.

 

Robert Harrington, Anne Dare, Jason Silvers, Susan Bancroft, Bill Martin and Clint Walker were present for some or all of the meeting.

 

Jim started the meeting by welcoming Nelson Blythe, the newly appointed Commissioner for District #1.

 

Clifton made a motion to approve the minutes from August 9th.  Jim seconded.  All approved.

 

Eric Bailey stated that the information he read states the commissioners shall sign for new culverts.  It was determined that the culvert permits would be brought in once a month for signature from the commissioners.  Eric stated they had a surprise inspection in the Noxious Weed Department and passed with flying colors.  Andy has done an outstanding job.  Eric continued discussion with asphalting.  We are west of Uniontown.  We did not asphalt yesterday due to three dump trucks being down.  We got one back up and going so we are asphalting today.  It probably will be the middle of next week before we are finished in that area.  Eric thanked Commissioner Blythe for coming out last week and helped lay some asphalt and rode the screed.  Eric continued stating we are experiencing several breakdowns.  It is diesel, exhaust, & fluid (DEF) related.  We are not able to repair those DEF issues so we have to send them off.  We’ve got two dump trucks and a side-arm mower down with it.  Our other side-arm mower has the gear drive bearings out on it but are in the process of getting that put back together.  Grader #14 dropped a valve.  It’s at Foley getting repaired.  The lay-down machine was delivered to Van Keppel.  Regarding the belly dump, I will hold off till late fall to see where we are with the budget.  Eric gave a copy of the fuel cost spreadsheet to each commissioner.  Jennifer has done an outstanding job putting this together for us.  Bulk fuel saves us.  We are doing a field check meeting Friday on the bridge project at 160th & Fern.  KDOT, Schwab Eaton will be there.  Eric stated the sign requested for the “s” curve on 207th off of Jayhawk is in the process.  Eric said they would use a side-arm mower to get it trimmed up and ready for the sign.  Nelson stated he received a call regarding Hackberry Road between 80th & 95th the low water bridge is bad on the south side.  Eric said they would take care of it.  Jim asked about the bus route regarding mowing.  Eric said they are on it.

 

Lynne Oharah talked about one of the agreements we do every year.  Another discussion regarding the chillers at the hospital.  Design Mechanical services our chillers every year.  Last year our total package for servicing the chillers was $10,806.00.  It’s down this year because we are not servicing as much equipment.  The price for this year will be $$6,940.00.  Nelson asked if this was the same people who have taken care of it in the past.  Lynne said yes.  Clifton made a motion to approve the service agreement paying a quarterly payment.  Jim seconded.  All approved.  Lynne continued discussion regarding the chillers and stated that every 5 or 6 years they crack them open and actually clean the coils.  If you don’t, there is build up and it starts deteriorating.  The last time it was done was well over 6 years ago.  Lynne said he would come back at a later date and have a serious discussion on whether we are going to do this or not.

 

Anne Dare spoke about EDF Energy stating they are coming to NW Crawford County.  Anne was contacted by someone from Crawford County and wanted to know what could be done to fight this.  I was given a few paragraphs of the contract and it was shocking to read that if the leased land is ever sold, EDF has first rights at buying it among other things.  Anne asked the commissioners to seriously consider implementing a special use permit for new industry coming to the county.  Clifton stated that previously the commission was asked to sign something that we would not infringe on people’s property rights at all.  “I agree with that.  Are you asking me to infringe on people’s property rights?”  Anne stated that she did not believe asking industry, whatever it might be, in this case wind energy, the land owner that is approached would still have the right to put this in place, but it also establishes something for the protection of commissioners and something stronger to establish a negotiating process.  Jim stated that he has been a supporter of special use permits and still are somewhat because I understand, being a codes guy and zoning administrator for the City of Fort Scott for many years, but by doing this special use permit we have the option of saying yes or no.  If we say no, we are going back on what we voted on just a few months ago.  Nelson stated he doesn’t even like the sound of special use permit just from it doesn’t sound very conservative.  I understand your concerns, I will look at it, but I don’t know how you can only target it toward the wind industry and if put in place any other industry would have to go through that as well.  I don’t want any more barriers to bring industry into Bourbon County.  Clifton stated that we have setbacks already.  Justin Meeks stated that there were already setbacks.  Justin stated that you can’t restrict one industry and not another or you would run into lawsuits.  Anne asked that the commissioners take a look at and consider a permit.

 

Transient Guest Tax (TGT) – Nelson stated that he contacted one of the businesses in the county and they weren’t even aware that people were talking about the TGT.  Nelson stated that he would want to meet with the people that own the Airbnb’s to ask their opinion.  Jim stated that he would like Susan to look into it to see how it can be structured to help the County.  Jim stated I would be in favor of it if the property owner supported it and if the money stayed in the County to be used to promote tourism.  Mark McCoy stated the Tourism Director should market and merchandise and advertise not just the city of Fort Scott, but the entire County.  As a former business owner, we survive together, not alone.  The subject was off set for 60 days.

 

Sheriff Bill Martin – a couple of weeks ago a citizen put through a KORA for an ammunition report.  Nick Trim will present this information.  Nick gave information regarding his previous experience and training certificates.  Nick stated that he is a less lethal instructor.  We teach taser and pepper ball.  I am thankful for the progressiveness of the sheriff’s office as it has changed in a positive manner during my tenure.  We have trained law enforcement agents only to see them leave.  The positive thing about that is they have gone to other agencies and made those agencies better.  We have one of the best firearms training programs out there due to Sheriff Bill Martin’s understanding of the importance of such training.  We have three phases of training: preparation, fight and aftermath.  Ammunition is expensive.  It is a necessary cost.  Training is expensive and time consuming.  Law Enforcement is about doing the right thing to the right person at the right time.  Everything we do has to be legal, ethical and within department policy.  That takes training, time and experience.  Our training is so good here that we have outside entities coming to us and asking how do you do it.  How are you providing such a quality product?  It’s through time, training and money that gets it done.  The sheriff’s office maintains three weapon systems: Glock pistols, AR rifles and 12-gauge shotguns.  We have 18 weapons-certified officers under my charge.  Three admin, 1 jail major, 1 school resource officer, two detectives, 8 road deputies and 3 part-time, including myself.  Everyone of these individuals must be responsibly trained in each one of these weapons as they may never know which weapon system they are going to have.  Everyone has to be trained because we owe to them to survive.  We have to stay ahead of ordering ammo.  Sometimes you can’t get it.  We use one ounce slugs, double-aught buckshot and number 8 birdshot.  Double-aught buckshot will beat you up.  After four hours at the range most people are ready to go home.  That’s why I use number 8 birdshot.  Twenty-five rounds of this cost $8.00.  Twenty-five rounds of double-aught is $27.00.  I can still teach the same cost-saving manipulations in training for this ammo.  We live in a rural community and everyone has shotguns in their homes.  Our biggest threat is number 8 birdshot.  I need our guys to understand you can survive this and how to counter it and what can I use this for to make my day better and get me home.  This is why we use number 8 birdshot.  It’s not out wasting ammo.  We are very fortunate to have the ranges that we use and available to us at no cost.  We do competition shooting, stress level shooting.  There are only 8 of us that work the road.  There’s only 13 or 14 of us total.  Way less than a quarter of the population.  Training is based on the four pillars of self-defense: mind set, tactics, skill and right gear.  We owe it to our community to provide a level of law enforcement that is trust-worthy and proficient in all we do.  Law enforcement is an expensive service to provide.  Ammunition is one of those costs.  If I have only 8 to 16 hours per year to teach an officer something that can save their life or another then I believe we owe to them the time, money and effort to get them home.  Bill Martin stated that there is a major health system in Kansas who has reached out to Deputy Trim because of the training he puts on for the sheriff’s department.  They are wanting this type of training to this health system.  That is a major kudos for Deputy Trim.  Nelson commended Deputy Trim for the training he provides.  Mark McCoy has attended multiple training sessions in different states with different law enforcement present.  In regards to Columbine and Uvalde, the lack of training and mindset of the officers; there is a failure that took place there.  Training is so important.  I’ve been present when the FSPD and our guys are training.  They train together because if something goes on here in Bourbon County, it’s going to affect Bourbon County.  We survive together.  Jim stated that the presentation was by a citizen submitting a request.  This commission has never questioned your training.  Bill stated in regards to the fuel update, I submitted an updated fuel cost for the 2023 year.  Five Corners has offered a 5 cent per gallon discount to the sheriff’s office.  Jim asked if Bill felt that was an adequate discount considering the savings that could be had with Public Works.  Clifton stated that today a gallon of gas is $3.61/gallon and bulk fuel is $3.18/gallon.  That’s a 40 cent/gallon savings.  Jim stated that a report that was given to him by Eric Bailey on July 27th the fuel pump rice was $4.30 or $4.40 and bulk price was $3.46.  There is no discussion on savings by buying fuel at Public Works or providing you a tank, but the savings can’t be argued.  Bill stated that I live local and buy local to help people.  Jim stated that our bulk is purchased from a local dealer.

 

Justin Meeks gave an update on tax sale.  The date is October 13th at 10:00am.  We have a meeting set up next week to have discussions regarding the future of the land bank and how the county and the city can work together to move that forward.

 

Susan Bancroft requested permission to publish the RNR Hearing Notice scheduled for August 30th at 6pm.  The proposed tax rate is 62.514 which keeps us levy flat.  I would like to schedule a budget workshop between the commission and myself and go through the budget.  It was determined that the budget workshop will be held on Friday, August 19th at 9am.  Ashley remarked regarding the RNR that people are going to get the letter; they’re going to see them in the newspaper.  The RNR rate, just like the counties you see it going up, that is an estimate.  And if you think you’re going to be close, you want to put that you’re going to go above and publish that because otherwise you can’t exceed that.  So, in November when the valuations, if they change, if they would happen to go down, you won’t get x amount of money you asked for because you can’t go over that rate if you didn’t publish that and hold a hearing.  Clint Walker commented that he was glad Ashley brought up the RNR because the public needs to know that this isn’t the county’s deal.  This is the state come in and said if you exceed this not only do you have to publish these hearings in the newspaper.  They estimated that it would cost $20,000.00 to send this out. For the first two years, the state is going to pay for that.  Then after that it’s up to the county to pay for it.  Ashley stated that it cost Bourbon County approximately $10,000.00 to send the letters out.  Ashley stated she has the representative’s information if you would like to contact them if anyone would like to give their opinion.

 

Shane Walker – CIO: gave a report on the towers.  What we are doing with the towers is going to add three repeaters to law enforcement and then we’re going to put EMS on the same repeaters.  Someone went out to work on something and ended up cutting a service loop out of the cable that we would use to take the antennae down or to service it.  That all goes back to having one vendor service all this equipment and we put that entirely in the cities hands.  When this is done, we should have 97 to 99% coverage, even in Hidden Valley; having two towers up there will help.  Jim asked if this would provide most everyone with internet.  Shane said internet is more line of sight.  Ring built on east side and Fort Scott Fire Station #2 tied back in.

 

Public Comment: Clint Walker asked Commissioners what town in Kansas is the top 52 to visit?  The answer was Humboldt.  Clint suggested they look at what Humboldt is doing and it might pay for us to take a look.  Anne Dare stated that she appreciated Eric and Susan staying on top of the Public Works budget.  Anne asked Ashley for an RNR explanation (printed) and would also like a tutorial.  Anne asked how many different types of things the County does have charge of, that maybe we don’t need to have charge of.  The hospital comes to mind.  What expense is happening out there?  The cell towers; I don’t know about the ambulance service.  Does the County run that?  Susan stated by law the County has to run it.  Anne asked about the subject being brought up to privatize the jail.  Shane stated that by law, the sheriff has to run the jail.  Jim stated that could be one room.  Anne added that she is in favor of the transient guest tax being applied to the county.  Anne stated last week there were some officers here talking about the meth weight.  She stated that she discovered on the 11th that all charges against those two gentlemen have been dismissed due to lack of evidence.  Clifton stated that state statute states that we have to make sure ambulance service is available to the county.  We don’t have to own it.  We could do like Linn County and have AMR come in and run it and pay them a large sum of money.  We have subsidized EMS in this county since 1995.  Regarding the hospital building, we still want to get rid of it, but to the right people.  That is still being worked on daily and lots of hours have gone into that over the last year by myself, Rob Harrington and multiple people.  Clifton also stated that he believes the RNR is an absolute joke and I’m sure they had good intentions at the state level but it is all on them.  Call your state representatives. Susan stated it is costing us more money.

 

Nelson Blythe requested the budget workshop on Friday, August 19th be moved to the afternoon if that would work for the others.  The meeting was rescheduled to begin at 1pm.

 

Clifton addressed the radio towers.  ARPA funds were used for the radio towers for internet, dispatch and EMS.  Shane stated its part of the 911 system and we have no choice.  Clifton stated he voted yes because he believes the county needs those services.  Jim stated he agreed with Clifton.  Jim stated that during the work session he will be looking for any place we can cut a penny.  We have to do it because of unfunded mandates this year.

 

Jim read a letter from SEK Substance Misuse Prevention Coalition asking to come and promote recovery month on September 7th on the courthouse lawn with a table, a banner and some recovery handouts.  We would like to leave the banner for the month.  Discussion was had that indicated the commissioners would like to find them another location to set up.

 

Rob Harrington reminded that there will be a vision meeting at the River Room on Tuesday, August 23rd at 5:30pm.  There will be a meal, but only those who are invited will be allowed to participate.  The public is invited to the meeting.  We’ll have another meeting at the end of September to follow up.

 

At 10:56am Clifton made a motion to adjourn.  Nelson seconded.  All approved.

 

 

THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS

OF BOURBON COUNTY, KANSAS

(ss) Jim Harris, Chairman

(ss) Nelson Blythe, Commissioner

(ss) Clifton Beth, Commissioner

ATTEST:

Ashley Shelton, Bourbon County Clerk

August 23. 2022, Approved Date