June 15, 2021 Tuesday 9:00 am
The Bourbon County Commission met in open session with all three Commissioners and the County Clerk present, the County Counselor was present by telephone for a portion of the meeting.
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, Susan Bancroft, Mr. & Mrs. Clint Walker, Michael Hoyt, Michael and Katrina Braim, Mark McCoy, Anne Dare, and Rob Herrington with BEDCO.
Jim made a motion to approve the minutes from the last meeting, Clifton seconded and all approved.
Representatives from KDOT Wayne Goodmenstein, Troy Howard, Kristy Kelly and one other met with the Commissioners to discuss a KDOT road closing at the south intersection of 180th & K7. Jim Harris said he would like more money from KDOT for bridges, Mr. Goodmenstein said more money would come from Senators and Representatives, but discussed the Federal Fund Exchange program and said that money only has to be used on transportation related issues. Susan Bancroft said the cost share program is competitive and asked what are the main things we need to focus on when applying; Wayne said that kicking in more money helps when scoring the project. They are going to be improving K7 for safety by adding shoulders, rehabilitating the roadway and adding super elevation on the curves. This project is in the design stages now. KDOT asked permission to close the south intersection of 180th & K7, he said a cul-de-sac could be used for property owners to access property. Jim Harris said if people can get to their property with access, he was ok to close the intersection (with input from the property owners there). KDOT will do the County Road Closure paperwork. KDOT is going to look at the intersection of 39 & K7 for a possible redesign. Mark McCoy said he was on the Highway 69 committee and thanked KDOT for the work on 69 Highway.
Eric Bailey presented permits to the Commissioners; he said the permit for Zimmerman had been completed. Lynne made a motion to approve a culvert installation permit for Mr. Shetler at 2025 195th, Jim seconded and all approved. Lynne made a motion to approve a permit from Craw Kan for their yearly permit (Eric said plans, a check and insurance information had been submitted by Craw Kan), Jim seconded and all approved.
Eric discussed a windstorm that occurred on June 11th; he said multiple signs, trees and powerlines were down and said there was heavy rain. He said he was working with Will Wallis to see if there would be a disaster declaration. Eric said there is a lot of cleanup to be done. Eric said his crew did a good job dealing with the storm, Lynne complimented Road & Bridge for the work they did.
Eric said the asphalt was done in the Hiattville area and said they are headed to 250th today to begin work there.
Eric said they now have possession of the F750 they recently purchased.
The crusher has a broken belt that they are fixing.
Eric said he is waiting to hear from KDHE regarding the soybeans.
Eric said the overburden at the quarry is being moved to do a blast; Jim briefly discussed the County having to pay a flat fee for what is removed from the blast.
Eric said Jayhawk Wind is doing culvert work and working on turning radiuses. He said they are seeing road failure, but said Jayhawk is fixing this with a cement mix. A location at Calvary between 30-40th has been reworked and they restabilized it. They are putting water down for dust control and have contacted the County to use the County dust control on a few roads.
The Commissioners received a request to trim trees on Maple Road due to a site issue there; Eric said the trees are on the property owners’ side and said he would visit with the property owners there.
Kendell Mason presented the 2021 budget information sheets to the Commissioners; the estimated assessed valuation is 115,441,379 compared to 110,449,986 in June of 2020.
Kendell presented the 2020 annual summaries to the Commissioners for approval; the Commissioners asked Susan Bancroft to review these prior to their approval.
Jes Pfannenstiel with KWORCC met with the Commissioners; he said the experience modification factor should go down since 2017 will drop off. He said KWORCC is County owned and operated by elected Commissioners and Clerks. He said 77 Counties in Kansas are members of KWORCC. They do quarterly visits to their insured to look for any violations and if any notify them so they can be corrected to avoid accidents. They offer training to their insured. Bourbon County is a 20-year member with KWORCC. KWORCC will provide a bid for the work comp insurance.
The Commissioners had a discussion regarding the Bourbon County Attorney Jackie Spradling; Justin was on the telephone and said the process will handle the situation and said at that time the Republican party will step in and nominate a new County Attorney. Michael Braim said he thought at the next Republican meeting the Republican party would come up with a vote of no confidence for the County Attorney. Jim asked Justin if he recommended that the Commissioners did not comment on this matter; Justin said steps are happening and it will resolve itself shortly and said we had no control over the timeline for the Kansas Supreme Court, but said if someone did a recall, he felt the Kansas Supreme Court would resolve this before a petition would. Mark McCoy, the Chairman of the Republican Party said they would be having a regularly scheduled meeting on June 24th and said if the topic comes up, they will address it. If the County Attorney were to leave her position prior to the term ending, the Republican Party would make a recommendation on her replacement to the Governor and the Governor would appoint the next County Attorney. The County Attorney is not required to be resident of the County they are serving in. Mark McCoy said the County Attorney’s wages are $50,133/year and said it might be difficult to get someone to commit to only this one position. Mark questioned if there was a possibility of the position not being an elected position in the future. Michael Braim said people want Jacqie Spradling gone and said he had hoped the County Counselor would explore all options the County has, he said she was a loose cannon with a long history of misconduct. Michael Braim asked if anyone had spoken to Jacqie; the Commissioners hadn’t. Michael said she was hiding and said she had an obligation to the County to let us know what is going on. He asked if lawsuits come as a result of her where would the money come from to pay the lawsuits; Justin said it would come out of the Attorney’s fund and if need be, the General fund and said he hadn’t checked with the insurance company to see if they would cover such a thing. Katrina Braim said that every case she has handled is open for appeals. Mr. Braim discussed Beatrice-6 and said it cost the County there $28 million and said the County had to increase property taxes to pay this. Justin said there were two recommendations made by the panel to the Supreme Court: indefinite suspension or disbarment. Michael said a vote of no confidence will protect the County from liability at some point; Justin said a vote of no confidence will not change the liability to the County. Jim said he had confidence in what the Supreme Court is doing. Mr. Braim said she lied, hid and deceived the Republican Party when they appointed her. Clifton said he was playing devils advocate and said the public was complaining about misconduct, and said she possibly abused the system and didn’t give people a fair trial; he asked what would make them any better if we didn’t let the system work, he said doesn’t she deserve a fair trial. Clifton said he wasn’t willing to lower himself before a judge convicts her. Lynne said they weren’t the judge, jury or executioner on this and said the Supreme Court will make this determination. Jim told Mr. Braim that he did an excellent job on his research, but said he wasn’t doing anything based on his research. Mr. Braim said he would do a recall petition and said he thought the Commissioners were letting us down; he said they could encourage a resignation. Katrina Braim said this wasn’t the first time the County had misconduct by a prosecutor and felt it was important to issue a vote of no confidence. Mark McCoy discussed the vetting process if a new County Attorney is appointed; he said the Republican Party would accept resumes and applications, ask that a background investigation be done and said he would recommend that the Party schedule the following meeting in two weeks to vote for the person, and said they would present their choice to the Governor for approval.
The Commissioners discussed a social media fact checker for the County; Lynne said Shane had heard comments on how much this was going to cost to have, Lynne said people are already in place to do this. He said there had been a post with inaccuracy about Jacqie Spradling; Justin said fact checking will provide additional information so that everyone can have their own opinions. Jim said he thought it was important to have the facts out there, but said he wasn’t sure people would believe us. Lynne said recently the windfarm had spilled gravel on the road, but said a picture or clarification would have helped. Clifton said he was fine if they wanted to put out answers to some of the things out there and said we needed to do a better job of getting information out there. Lynne said that Shane had stepped up to do the fact checking. Clifton asked who would fact check the fact checker. Clifton made a motion to answer some of the stuff out there with a fact checker which would be reviewed by a Commissioner (it would depend on the subject as to which Commissioner would review it), Jim seconded and all approved.
Lynne made a motion to amend the agenda to move the County Counselors scheduled time to an earlier time, Jim seconded and all approved. Justin asked for a motion to formulate a lease agreement for the City to possibly move into unused County space at the County building. Lynne said the County is in the process of moving dispatch into the Courthouse. Clifton made a motion to allow the County Counselor to move forward with a lease agreement (Justin said it would possibly be for a 10-year term) for the City to move into the Courthouse, Jim seconded and all approved.
Clifton made a motion to go into a 5-minute executive session for KSA 75-4319(b) (1) to discuss personnel matters of individual non-elected personnel to protect their privacy, the Commissioners will meet in another location and reconvene in the Commission room at 11:16, Jim seconded and all approved, (the session included the Commissioners, Justin Meeks by phone and Susan Bancroft). At 11:16, Clifton made a motion to resume the meeting and said they may have another session later in the meeting, Jim seconded and all approved.
Emergency Manager William Wallis met with the Commissioners; he said they have sent a list of the recent storm damage to the State to see if there is anything the State will do for us. Will presented a Promulgation and said it was the final document to the State for the Bourbon County Emergency Operations Plan for 5 years; Lynne made a motion to accept the Promulgation of the Emergency Operation Plan, Jim seconded and all approved and Lynne signed the Promulgation.
William Wallis, with assistance from the Clerk’s office, said he was submitting to the FEMA for final approval for the County to get $29,612 from COVID expenses.
Susan Bancroft met with the Commissioners; she said Kansas Road Trip would be coming through Bourbon County next year, she hoped the City, County, Chamber and BEDCO would partner and each contribute $2,000 towards the Kansas Road Trip $8,000 budget. The County could donate their portion to BEDCO and BEDCO could be the passthrough for this. This will be discussed again next week. Susan said she had done the drawdown for the ARPA funding; but said she didn’t have a defined dollar amount of this yet. She said right now it has limited use and said it is very specific in what it could be used for. Susan said the ARPA money would be deposited in a separate fund and said she would do the quarterly reporting and said ARPA would be administered by the County.
The Commissioners plan to have a Bourbon County budget townhall meeting on June 28th, (tentatively at the Empress Event Center) Susan will set this up.
Susan said she had been working with Eric Bailey on the Road & Bridge budgets; she said the Landfill is a concern and said she didn’t think they would be able to meet all of the obligations there and said there wasn’t enough traffic there to cover all of our costs.
Public Comment: Michael Hoyt said he had received at least a dozen letters of interest in the law enforcement & fire protection citizens advisory board (he said they could also include judiciary in this), and said anyone with an interest in this could send a letter to him at POB 1009, Fort Scott. He said he had hoped that next month he would have the framework of what they would like to take a look at. He briefly discussed the Brady Act.
Commissioner Comment: Jim said he wanted the Commissioners to move forward with internet throughout the County. Jim said he would like to see a written proposal to get this done and said they needed to direct Shane to submit an estimate to move forward. The Commissioners asked that the internet access proposal be scheduled on the agenda on June 29th.
Clifton made a motion to amend the agenda for a 15-minute executive session, Jim seconded and all approved. Clifton made a motion to have a 15-minute executive session for KSA 75-4319(b) (6) for the preliminary discussion of the acquisition of real property, the Commissioners will meet in another location and reconvene in the Commission room at 11:55, Jim seconded and all approved, (the session included the Commissioners, Susan Bancroft and Rob Herrington). Clifton made a motion to resume the normal session at 11:55, with action, Jim seconded and all approved. Clifton made a motion to proceed with the donation of the Mercy building and the property to the County, Jim seconded and all approved, motion carried. Clifton said as a Commission they had voted to take the donation of the property and with a great deal of help from Rob Herrington he had been in talk with 5 entities for that building. Clifton said items couldn’t be disclosed but he expected some good things to talk about in the future. He said this includes a monetary donation as well. Clifton said we would have an emergency room here, and said in a perfect world we would also have a hospital, but said at the very least we would have an ER. Clifton said the original monetary donation was $1 million, then it was $450,000 8 months ago and now it is $600,000. Clifton said he would ask that all taxing authorities get involved in what they can make happen. Rob said this would be a great asset for the County to have and said projects at this time are not for public knowledge, but said he believed there would be a user for the building by the end of the year. Rob said as soon as the hospital signs over ownership the County would take over the maintenance there. Rob said those who have leases there now will continue until the end of the lease. Clifton said the building is collecting rent and said he didn’t think the County should be landlords and said there were a few restrictions regarding selling the building.
At 12:11, 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
June 22, 2021, Approved Date