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July 28, 2020 Tuesday 9:00 am

The Bourbon County Commission met in open session with all three Commissioners and the County Clerk present.

Also present were the following… (some were present for a portion of the meeting some were present for the entire meeting), Jason Silvers with the Fort Scott Tribune, Mark McCoy, Emergency Manager William Wallis, Hazel Swarts, Michael Hoyt, Nancy Van Etten, Anne Dare and Angel Wilson.

The Commissioners briefly discussed the 2021 budget; currently there isn’t money budgeted for the Healthcare mall nor is the PILOT money listed in the 2021 budget. If the County accepts the Mercy Hospital building it is estimated that there will be an annual shortfall of $300,000. Lynne and Jeff both stated that they were trying to keep healthcare in the area. Jeff said that there is a possibility that FSCC will use part of the Mercy building to have a learning lab in for the nursing program. Lynne said the Commissioners always try to avoid raising the mill levy, he said most 2021 budget requests were similar to the 2020 approved budget. Jeff said he was curious what the audience thought the Commissioners should do about the budget as far as the mill levy amount, he questioned if people thought they should add a mill amount in for a contingency fund or if they should get creative about how to use the mill; Nancy Van Etten stated the mill levy should either be kept the same or lowered. The County currently does not have any restrictions in place on where the PILOT money will be spent. The Commissioners said the County does not own the Mercy building and said they wouldn’t at least until after the lease contracts are signed. Mercy has made a commitment to give the building, but the County hasn’t accepted the building yet. Lynne will contact Terry Sercer with any budget changes that need made.

Jody Hoener met with the Commissioners to give a Spark grant update; she said the application process to apply for grant money started today, she said the grant has been advertised on KSN, the radio station, emailed to different people, the Ruritan, social media and it is on the County website. She said she had met with the Chamber regarding the small business and non-profit grant portion; she said that businesses that haven’t closed have a chance to have COVID-19 expenses reimbursed, she said that businesses that have closed could be eligible for operational costs. Jody said the committee didn’t feel the grant money should be done on a “first come, first serve” basis. Jody said it was important to come up with ideas to move the community forward. She said the steering committee felt that licensed home based business could qualify for grant money, she said they would require tax clearance for the businesses. Jody said that Tupperware, Mary Kay, etc. would not be eligible for grant money. Bourbon County contracted with Greenbush to administer the grant for $69,900, but there could be additional administrative costs such as advertising and salary costs for the grant. Hazel Swarts questioned if the Catholic and private schools could apply for the Spark funding; Jody said yes they could, Jody will notify the schools about the grant opportunity. The Spark application deadline is August 8, 2020. There will be a Zoom meeting on July 29th. Call (620)724-6281 with any questions about the Spark grant or visit [email protected]

Emergency Manager William Wallis met with the Commissioners; previously the Commissioners adopted a resolution extending the COVID-19 disaster declaration, Nick wasn’t present for that meeting, so he wasn’t able to sign the resolution, so William asked that he sign the resolution, which Nick did.

William Wallis told the Commissioners about a new virus present in Kansas called Vesicular Stomatitis Virus; William said the virus is a viral disease which primarily affects horses, but can also affect cattle, sheep, goats, swine, llamas and alpacas. “Although it is rare, humans can also become infected with the disease when handling affected animals”. “The primary way the virus is transmitted is from biting insects like black flies, sand flies and midges.” Insect control is encouraged to prevent the spread of the virus. Lynne said he would talk to Jody Hoener to see if the Spark money could be used by farmers for insect control. William suggested monitoring the livestock for the virus.

Nancy Van Etten asked Lynne if he had gotten a letter regarding the Lake advisory board and if they were going to take any action; Lynne had gotten the letter, but said they would not discuss this today, he said that Justin Meeks was working with Susan Bancroft at the City of Fort Scott and said that Nancy could talk to Justin Meeks about this. Nancy said they want someone that owns lake property to be on the lake sewer board.

The Commissioners will have their next regularly scheduled meeting on August 7th at 9:00 am; the budget will be discussed beginning at 9:00 am and other topics will be discussed in the afternoon.

Nick made a motion to adjourn at 10:51, Jeff seconded and all approved.

(ss) Lynne Oharah, Chairman
(ss) Jeff Fischer, Commissioner
(ss) Nick Ruhl, Commissioner
Kendell Mason, Bourbon County Clerk
August 7, 2020, Approved Date