June 2, 2020 Tuesday 9:00 am
The Bourbon County Commission met in open session on the front east steps of the Courthouse, present were Commissioner Oharah and Commissioners Fischer, the County Counselor, the Economic Development Director and the County Clerk.
Also present (some were present for the entire meeting, others for a portion of the meeting) were Jason Silvers with the Fort Scott Tribune, Tom Brink, Mr. & Mrs. Clint Walker, Mary Pemberton, Nancy Van Etten, Michael Hoyt, Anne Dare, Mark McCoy, Debbie Morter & Sparky Schroeder.
Jim Harris with Road & Bridge reported they had been working near 165th & Poplar, they rocked Range Road between 115-125th, put rock between Poplar and Range, as well as near 200th & Birch, they are patching South of Garland, they did patching on 125th as well as near Valley Road, they are cleaning brush up north of Redbud, they are also working on unplugging a crossing on Osage between 75th & 85th. They plan to blast at the Blake Quarry next week. They are doing ditching on Indian Road and hauling gravel to an area on Arrowhead and cleaned the south shoulder out in an area west of Garland. They plan to start overlaying in two weeks. Jim said they poured the concrete walls at the Landfill.
Due to COVID-19, Jim said he lifted the restriction of requiring his employees to wear a mask, but said they are providing masks if his employees want them. Jim said they are changing the doors to his office to allow communications through the door without people coming into his office. Currently chemicals are being sold by appointment only.
Lynne reported to Jim that 115th North of Yale needs work done to it. Jim said he is looking at renting a large reclaiming machine that could be shared between the City and the County. Jim said that Yale Road West of the Hidden Valley Lake would be gravel for a couple of years to build a good base.
Jeff asked Jim to grade a North/South road for approximately ¼ mile in Marco Estates off of Jayhawk Road; Jim said he would view the area, he said this might be a private drive.
Jeff made a motion to accept a Real Property Tax Relief application (for Kevin & Autumn Durossette for 1295 245th for a house that was destroyed by fire), Lynne seconded and the motion passed, both Lynne and Jeff signed the application.
The Commissioners briefly reviewed the 2019 annual summaries from the different taxing entities; they will discuss them again on June 9, 2020.
Jeff questioned why payments had discontinued between Fire District #3 and Scott Township Fire District #5 for fire protection service at the Fort Scott Lake; Kendell said she would review this. Jeff said there had been discussions over building a fire station closer to Fort Scott Lake; he said residents there might have lower insurance rates if a station was closer to their homes. Lynne suggested there be a meeting held between all of the Fire Districts to determine what is best for all of the homeowners.
Rebecca Johnson with the Southeast Kansas Multi-County Health Department met with the Commissioners to present their 2021 budget; she presented the following to the Commissioners… “SEK Multi-County Health Departments are continually expanding and adding new programs to better serve Bourbon County and the surrounding population, as you can see in the brochure I included. SEK Multi-County Health Departments are proposing a request of $95,750 for the year 2021. This is an increase of $15,000 from last year.
As it is known, Public Health are the leaders and subject matter experts dealing with the Coronavirus Pandemic. Like everyone else, we did not predict this pandemic, nor were we staffed or equipped for it fully. Our shortcomings were unable to be avoided. But, moving forward, we have hired an employee that was previously a Regional Public Health Emergency Preparedness Coordinator, has assisted in emergency management (with grants, preparedness and planning activities) and has a strong background in Public Health. She is an invaluable asset that we would have benefited greatly from these last few months, if we would have had the ability to hire her sooner. She will be the right hand of the Health Officer/Administrator and will be assisting all four counties that we serve.
Medical experts predict a surge in cases of Coronavirus in the fall or winter and having this new employee will greatly improve our preparedness and capabilities, as well as strengthen our partnerships and gain new ones, as she has many resources across the state. We may be looking at vaccinating our residents for COVID-19 (if vaccine is available) as well as for the flu. This will take much more time, supplies, and more than likely extra staff (nurses to administer the vaccine). If we do get another surge, contact tracing and investigating will be a large portion of what is expected of Bourbon County Health Department, as well as a call center for the massive amount of calls that we’d be seeing from our residents and local businesses.
We did receive a one-time supplemental grant that will end February 2021 that will assist in paying for our new employee’s salary. However, this grant is also split between 10 other employees as well for salaries, supplies and equipment. So, it doesn’t go very far for very long.
Expectations are high for Public Health and especially now during this pandemic. To continue to serve our county and its communities, we require support and funding from our county. We are not necessarily asking that taxes be raised to assist the Bourbon County Health Department, because we personally know what lows our economy is facing at this time, but rather, the county budget be readjusted to help better support Public Health in Bourbon County.”
Jeff told Rebecca Johnson that they appreciated the work they have done during the COVID-19 outbreak. The County provided phones to the health department and there were volunteers answering calls. Bourbon County has had 8 cases (one of those cases hadn’t been tested, but they were presumed positive due to the symptoms).
Terry Sercer presented the 2019 audit; he said there was a “healthy” balance in the funds and said the main reason for this was due to the tax sale and people paying delinquent taxes. Terry said expenditures exceeded cash in the Road & Bridge and Special Alcohol and Drug fund (Special Alcohol was in error due to funds being paid out and then a reverse transaction for the NRP funds being made) funds in apparent violation of KSA 10-1121, (Lynne said taxes collected for Road & Bridge were less than budgeted, Lynne said the reports they were given didn’t correctly reflect what funds were available, in 2020 Road & Bridge will have to operate on $123,000 less than budgeted). Terry said he had met with the Treasurer regarding these errors, he said he didn’t think it would happen again. Terry said he reviewed the expenses in Road & Bridge and there were no wrong expenses. Terry discussed reconciliation of cash in bank to the County’s accounting records; there were reconciliations not completed, Terry said there is actually more in the bank than the reports are showing for some accounts. Terry said the reconciliation of the annual tax roll needs to be done as soon as possible. It is also a weakness in our audit since the same company does our audit and our budget. Terry said if one person runs a checking account for smaller accounts not handled in the Treasurer’s office then there needs to be good oversight to the accounts.
Justin Meeks presented an Interlocal agreement between the City of Fort Scott and Bourbon County to the Commissioners; the agreement stated “The City agrees to provide EMS services to the County and in consideration for those services, the County agrees to provide asphalt, rock, brine and storage to the City in equal value to the services received.” This agreement is for up to $400,000 of services. Jeff made a motion to approve the Interlocal agreement, Lynne seconded and the motion passed. The Commissioners signed the agreement and Justin said he would present it to the City of Fort Scott for their signatures.
Jeff made a motion to go into a 15 minute executive session for confidential data relating to financial affairs or trade secrets of corporations, partnerships, trusts and individual proprietorships, Lynne seconded the motion. Jeff then made a motion to table that motion, Lynne seconded and the motion passed.
Jeff made a motion that they amend the agenda to open the agenda up for public comment after the executive session, Lynne seconded and the motion passed.
Jeff made a motion to go into a 15 minute executive session for confidential data relating to financial affairs or trade secrets of corporations, partnerships, trusts and individual proprietorships, Lynne seconded the motion and the motion passed, (the session included the Commissioners, Justin Meeks and Jody Hoener). No action was taken.
Mary Pemberton met with the Commissioners; she said people can’t always attend a Commission meeting, she suggested that all meetings be videotaped and posted online so that people could watch the meetings (she said the County website doesn’t have a link on where to find the meetings that have been videotaped). She said the meetings on Facebook do not have a date on them, she suggested the videos be labeled. Lynne said they are working with Shane Walker to put the meetings on YouTube. Mrs. Pemberton said she would like for there to be one hour on the agenda designated for public comment, she said this would allow for the public to speak or ask questions, (Lynne said he would like to allow public comment after the Road & Bridge department meets with the Commissioners to allow for comments regarding Road & Bridge). She said that when people do make requests or suggestions or ask questions that the Commissioners answer the questions; Lynne said he would not comment on questions asked about the wind farm due to the liability they are faced with. She suggested that the County have training meetings about KORA requests; Lynne said that KORA requests now go to the Clerk and the Clerk will give the KORA to the department the KORA deals with. She said previously this isn’t what happened.
Michael Hoyt challenged the Commissioners to set up audio and video for the meetings, he said the meetings weren’t A.D.A. compliant and suggested changing this unless the County wanted to be part of a class action lawsuit that might come up. He said he would loan them a sound system to use. He also asked if when the Commissioners heard a presentation about the airport from the City Economic Development director seemed like Déjà vu to them.
Nancy Van Etten asked if the Commissioners planned on doing evening meetings again; Lynne said they would once we were past COVID-19 and social distancing wasn’t an issue. She briefly discussed residents in long term care facilities; she said instead of isolating them they should insulate them to protect them and allow one person from the family to visit a person in the facility.
Debbie Morter owns a long term care facility and said that there are no visitors unless necessary due to the Corona Virus. She said the C.D.C., the State and KDHE tell them what to do and they go by their guidelines. She said she wasn’t in favor of the MRI testing.
Lynne said the Governor recommended that we still practice social distancing; he said the County has opted to conduct business by appointment. Jeff said there have been proposed measurements based on the number of Covid-19 cases for a safe phase for re-opening. Currently the infection rate is trending down for the State of Kansas.
Justin Meeks said currently there are no mandates (only recommendations) and that businesses can operate as they see fit.
Clint Walker compared the 100,000 COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. to the 8,000 in Germany. Wearing protective masks was discussed.
At 11:21, Jeff made a motion to adjourn, Lynne seconded and the motion passed.
THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
OF BOURBON COUNTY, KANSAS
(ss) Lynne Oharah, Chairman
(ss) Jeff Fischer, Commissioner
(ss) Nick Ruhl, Commissioner
Kendell Mason, Bourbon County Clerk
June 9, 2020, Approved Date