July 18, 2022 Tuesday 9:00 am
The Bourbon County Commission met in open session with two Commissioners (Clifton Beth and Jim Harris) and the County Clerk present.
Patty LaRoche, Jason Silvers, Anne Dare, Bob Reed, Kevin Davidson, Matt Quick, Clint Walker, Nelson Blythe, Donald Coffman, Rachel and Clint Walker were present for some or all of the meeting.
Clifton made a motion to approve the minutes for last weeks’ meeting. Jim seconded. All approved.
Eric Bailey stated he had no permits to report on. Eric gave a reminder that the LRSP meeting with KDOT is tomorrow from 1pm to 5pm in the Commission Room. Open to the public if they wish to attend. Eric states regarding to asphalt, they lacked about 125 yards being done at Hiatville today. They blew a hydraulic fitting on cities’ laydown machine. We should be back up and going tomorrow and hopefully get finished. We will be moving to 55th & Yale. I called on our paver and they haven’t got it in yet. Bellydump is still hauling rock. We are scheduled for a blast at Blake Quarry this Wednesday probably somewhere around 50 to 60 ton. Having issues with a couple of dump trucks. Roadside mowing is going on now, we have four mowers going. Have the sidearm going as well. 165th & Tomahawk had a grader operator do about 1 mile of ditching. Did a good job. Culvert crew is trying to get some crossroad tubes in as well. Waiting on 30 inch tubes for 115th. North of Hackberry we have three tubes needing replaced. They’ve rotted out on the bottom. Clifton asked if Eric had heard anything from KDOT on the bridge on 215th. Eric stated no. He said he got a rough estimate from an engineer for bridge replacement and it was around 2 to 2 1/2 million. Eric stated they are looking at some grants.
Clifton requested an executive session KSA 75-4319(b)(1) to discuss personnel matters of individual nonelected personnel to protect their privacy including two commissioners, Susan Bancroft, Justin Meeks, Tiana McElroy and Shane Walker for 15 minutes returning here at 6:23pm. Jim seconded. All approved. Clifton made a motion to return to normal session with no action. Jim seconded. All approved.
Clifton made a motion to amend the agenda to remove Matt Quick regarding Hours of Operation from the printed agenda. Jim seconded. All approved.
Jim stated that a commissioner needed to be appointed to the Bourbon County REDI following Lynne’s resignation and I would like to recommend Commissioner Beth. Clifton seconded. All approved.
Susan Bancroft discussed the Revenue Neutral Rate regarding the County. After discussion of keeping our levy flat which would exceed the Revenue Neutral Rate and this stands as a notice to the county clerk for this budget year. The Clerk has to send letters to every tax payer so we have to certify by the 20th of September. The Revenue Neutral Rate hearing will be first and then we’ll talk about the budget hearing. We will present why we are exceeding the RNR and then we will vote on the budget following. The commissioners stated that they would like the hearing and vote to be on separate dates. Clifton suggested a night meeting so more of the public could attend. Clifton made a motion for Ashley to publicize the intent to exceed Revenue Neutral Rate and the hearing will be held August 30th @ 6pm at 210 S National, Fort Scott, KS in the Commission Room. Jim seconded. All approved.
Clifton asked Bobby Reed for an update on the jail. Bobby stated that since July 6th we’ve had two applicants. We called to schedule an interview with one them. No answer. I saw this individual out in the public and asked him about it. He said he decided to do something else. Bobby told him there had been an increase in wages to $14.50/hr. The individual stated that wasn’t enough. The other applicant was not contacted due to her background. We are having open interviews this Thursday from 4pm to 8pm out at the jail. We’re going to hit it again on Facebook. As of tomorrow, I will be down to 6 correctional officers. Both lieutenants are working shift work and the captain will be going to a shift as well. I will be utilizing off-duty deputies and myself when applicable for transports. Linn County should be opening their new facility soon and hoping to get our inmates closer which will cut down on drive time, maintenance and fuel. Current inmate count as of this morning was 25. We do still have some inhouse because we can’t find homes for them at the moment.
Clifton asked Sheriff Martin regarding money for vehicles. The highway patrol vehicles that the city bought would they be an option for us. Bill responded that their cars are maintained but they drive their vehicles hard. The city only drives about 5 square miles. Some of the equipment that is in the vehicles cannot be transferred to other vehicles. Bill said the price for a car fully equipped is $50 to $55,000.00. Bill stated they are going to order two cars this year. Our fleet is getting old and worn out. Jim stated that Bill budget request would result in a 5 mil increase and the tax payers cannot bear that at this time. Jim stated that Bill’s concerns regarding putting a fuel tank on the property due to flood plain. Jim stated that is not true. The flood plain is not on the county property. Jim also stated that Bill could save 82 cents per gallon as of today if Judy’s Fuel brought that to you. Eighty-two cents per gallon times 15 vehicles daily. That’s $100,000 per year. Bill said that he had concerns with the tank tipping over and running down the creek. Jim stated that there would have to be a fence to suit the fire marshall. Bill said if that’s what you want to do then do it today. Jim further stated that Bill had asked for more deputies. In 2021 you had 2,253 traffic stops; 928 were within the city limits. If you stay out of the city limits would you need two more deputies? Bill stated he was glad Jim brought that up because we are now going into criminal investigations. With that being said we will have to go into executive session to explain those reasons. I’ve also brought Deputy Davidson who will need to be part of the executive session to explain why we do what we do in regards to that. Clifton made a motion for an executive session KSA 75-4319(b)(2) for consultation with an attorney for the public body or agency which would be deemed privileged in the attorney-client relationship including 2 commissioners, Justin Meeks, County Attorney Tiana McElroy, Bill Martin, Deputy Davidson for 10 minutes returning at 6:53pm. Jim seconded. All approved. Clifton made a motion to return to normal session with no action. Jim seconded. All approved. Clifton stated that what Bill is asking for is a 5 mil increase. You have been in here with your guys stating they don’t get paid enough. But what you’ve asked for isn’t shown in the budget. We don’t control the budget. You control what you do with your budget. You can ask for whatever you want and the law states we have to allow you reasonable amounts. It also states that we basically have to give you what you ask for. What you are asking for doesn’t address the issue which is pay. Bill stated the pay needs to have a base pay and then differential for what you do special. If you’re K9 you get x amount of dollar per month. Same thing with fire arms coach and same thing with field training officer. If you take classes and have 40 hours of drug interdiction courses and develop that time limit then you get x amount of dollars. It helps people strive to better themselves to help the community better. Bill discussed scheduling issues. Jim asked why other sheriff departments have zero overtime and you have bookoo hours of overtime. Bill stated it is staffing. You can’t eliminate overtime in law enforcement. Reports have to be done before they go home. Jim asked if Bill thought the crime rate has gone up that much since he has been sheriff to keep growing the budget 127%. Bill stated that crime has gone up and in regards to the 127% increase since 2010. Bill stated he didn’t become sheriff until 2013. Susan stated the year it went up was 2013. Bill stated that shows proactivity. Bill asked what kind of Sheriff’s department do you want? Do you want a proactive one or reactive? Jim asked Bill to look at the folks in the room and tell them do you want us to raise taxes by 5 mils to hire you two more deputies. Bill said that he would only be hiring 2 deputies to absorb my budget. Jim stated with a $500,000 increase on your budget request. If I’m going to provide professional safety, when someone picks up the phone and they need help and not wait for an hour or two to respond, yes I will. I worked in an environment not too long ago when a call would come in and it would be an hour or so before I will have a deputy to respond. I’m not going down that road again. With the type of calls that law enforcement is faced with today I don’t expect a deputy to walk up to the door on a domestic call, not knowing what is going on in there, he knocks on the door and a gunshot comes through that door. They need backup. Jim asked if these positions were created or replacing someone. These were created for that grant. Jim stated the grant is going to expire and we have to pick up their salaries. Bill stated we discussed this before with Susan, that one of the positions that is not currently filled right now is making up the October to December, if everything goes right there maybe a little extra that we can spend but we can use that money to assist them with more time to do additional work to solve more crime. I’m working with the state with that right now and showing there could possibly be additional monies left over and that’s one thing you don’t want to do is turn money back in. They want you to spend all of it. Jim stated regarding the SRO position, I believe those positions are needed in our school system. I’m going to echo what you told me six months ago that we have no money for SRO for 234 and 235 so I’m recommending the cities and the schools work together to provide that position. I believe the schools and the cities have the money. Bill stated that fuel and ammo is the biggest expense. Vehicle maintenance is also increased. Clifton asked Bill who does their oil changes. Bill stated that the decision is left up to the deputy. We do business with local businesses and in turn they support us on certain things. Jim stated as a commissioner I will not raise the mil levy if we have to go up a couple mils to provide you with a couple of deputies then we will cut other departments if we have to. Clifton stated that Bill’s department is doing a good job. Bill gave statistics on drug detectives since June. Bill stated in June alone 8.5 pounds of meth was seized in Bourbon County; 1.7 ounces of marijuana; 13 drug dosage use of pills; 31 paraphernalia; over $169 dollars in cash. We have seized 6 vehicles and about 14 arrests that were drug related. Jim asked Bill if he was given 2 more deputies what do you see change next year that you might need more positions. Bill said nothing. These positions will focus on drugs but if there is a shift change, someone calls in sick, vacation, they will step into those positions. Jim asked if they are doing that now. Bill said no that the grant basically focus on that. Once the grant expires you probably will see a significant decrease in overtime. The grant will expire June 2023. Clifton and Jim stated they do not support funding SRO. It should be covered by city and school. Clifton asked if there is a bond schedule in Bourbon County. Bill stated no; bond is set by the judge.
Justin Meeks requested an executive session. Clifton made a motion for executive session KSA 75-4319(b)(2) for consultation with an attorney for the public body or agency which would be deemed privileged in the attorney-client relationship for possible litigation including 2 commissioners, Susan Bancroft, Justin Meeks for 10 minutes returning at 8:21pm. Jim seconded. All approved. Clifton made a motion to return to normal session at 8:21 with no action. Jim seconded. All approved.
Clifton spoke about the CHC land exchange. The land that CHC owns which is 7.2 acres which includes the helipad and the west parking lot. CHC has approximately $125,000 in the property and they would like it back in a certain way. They have proposed that we forgo their rent until December and they will transfer the land back to the county. It will not increase the budget and it isn’t tax payer dollars. Jim seconded. All approved. Just Meeks asked if he needed to draw up the papers. Clifton asked him to reach out to CHC’s attorney and see what their process is.
Susan stated monthly financials (June) we are in balance. We need the chairman to sign the 2nd quarter financial report for publication. This is a group effort as Ashley looks it over, Patty looks it over and then the chairman. Everyone of those groups is required to do a report to the Tribune. We’ve consolidated it into one to save on publication costs. Clifton made a motion to allow Chairman Harris to sign the Bourbon County Quarterly Report. Jim seconded. All approved. Susan continued that statutorily Patty is required to ensure that we have enough securities pledged for the county with all of our banking institutions. She and I have been working together on that and we have put together a spreadsheet which shows the cash balance at the end of the month in each institution. When I was checking on the banks there were four accounts at the sheriffs’ department that we were unaware of so we’ve added those to this list and if you will look at City State Bank, I’ve actually reached out to John Hill, there is definitely some violations going on there. It would be not only our violation but a banking violation. I asked John if FDIC was covering those accounts at the sheriffs’ office separately under a different FDIC. I don’t think you can do that. He is going to get with me tomorrow and I will report back to you and how we will fix that problem. We will start including this in our monthly financial report. Susan stated we talked about last week during our budget session what it would cost for mil increases. I did a rundown of impact on a residential and commercial landowner. The total requested increase from all of the departments is about 9 mils. If a person owns a $100,000 home it would increase their taxes by $100 every year. For a $200,000 home it would be $200. On the commercial side that’s where it gets very expensive as they are taxed at a higher rate. That’s about $1,100. increase. Susan stated she would post the information on the website.
Shane Walker stated that the MOU regarding the agreement for the city for the landfill land. Nothing has changed we just couldn’t get the contract from the city attorney. You guys have already approved it just needs to be signed. Clifton asked if Eric was aware. Eric Bailey was recalled to the meeting for discussion. Eric stated there are no contaminants he is aware of but has not seen final contract. Eric reviewed and asked if it was for C & D only discount. Jim stated yes that we wouldn’t want to give a break on solid waste. Eric stated that we are down to the penny on that. Jim stated their discussion was for C & D only. The discount is 50%. Eric asked how we would monitor if the C & D is coming from which property in Bourbon County. Eric stated he has everything in black and white. Eric wants a document that states where the C & D material came from. Susan stated that all condemnations are bid out. Diane can give you the bid awards. Eric said that he is willing to give it a try and if it doesn’t work out we’ll come back to you. Eric’s concern is someone will take advantage of the county. Clifton made a motion to allow Chairman Harris to sign the agreement for the landfill C & D pricing with the City of Fort Scott Shared Services trading some C & D for condemned housing for 13+/- acres that is next to our current landfill. Jim seconded. All approved.
Public Comment: Nelson Blythe – Linn County has 6 SRO’s that cover shifts, 3 detectives that cover shifts and 2 bailiff’s that cover shifts for a total of 11 deputies. They hardly ever have overtime. Also, meth seizures and all the arrests and search warrants that are done whether county or city can be done without deputies initiating traffic stops in the city. Search warrants and meth seizures almost always come from traffic stops. Crime rate appears to have increased due to being proactive. SRO – is very important and should be in Fort Scott and Uniontown. All cops have the same basic training but they have entirely different experience than the sheriff deputies. Deputies are not constantly responding to dogs at large. The call volume is lower at the sheriffs’ office. Deputies are more adept at investigating and doing proactive stuff like getting drugs than Fort Scott PD. The PD goes from call to call to call and they are not developing the same skills and that’s why they ask for assistance sometimes. I don’t believe the jail will ever be a huge money maker but I think it was a good idea because it is saving money. Prior to the jail inmates were housed out of town. The amount of people in jail isn’t going to go down unless you have deputies that like to park their cars and sit which we don’t want. The bond schedule being removed I believe hasn’t affected law enforcement too terribly. We pretty much to don’t arrest people for weed anymore. Most drug arrests are meth related. Anne asked about seizure money and I don’t work there anymore but there are state and federal laws as to how that money can be spent. You can’t use it to buy vehicles. It can’t be used to pay salaries.
Clint Walker asked where county job openings are posted. I don’t see them in a newspaper. Jim stated that Public Works and Treasurers run ads in the paper. Patty stated that they also put information out on Facebook and the county website.
Michael Hoyt asked about early voting. Ashley stated early voting will start on Wednesday, July 20th 8:30am to 4:30pm Monday through Saturday; 8:30am to 12:00noon on Monday, August 1st.
Commission Comment: Jim asked Eric to look into price to put a fuel station at sheriffs’ department.
Clifton made a motion to adjourn at 8:51pm. Jim seconded. All approved.
THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
OF BOURBON COUNTY, KANSAS
(s) Jim Harris, Chairman
(s) Clifton Beth, Commissioner
Ashley Shelton, Bourbon County Clerk
August 9, 2022, Approved Date