June 25, 2021 Friday 10:00 am
The Bourbon County Commission met in open session with all three Commissioners, the County Counselor and the County Clerk present.
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, Josh Jones, Greg Motley, Rob Harrington, Charles Gentry, Mr. & Mrs. Clint Walker, Anne Dare, and two employees from Mercy Hospital.
The Commissioners held the special meeting to discuss the donation of the Mercy Hospital building to Bourbon County. Clifton is having someone look at the roof to see what needs repaired. The building would be donated to the County along with $600,000 (the money would be donated for the needed repairs), the building would be donated As is. There are controls & deed restrictions on what the property can be used for a period of 5 years; the following are not permitted… abortion clinic, counseling service which recommends sterilization or abortions, prescribing or dispensing medicines or chemicals for such, a political action group advocating abortions, signs promoting abortions or an adult bookstore, x-rated movie theater, topless bar, or similar establishment. Justin said if the County gave away the land, the restrictions would have to be followed by the new owners as well. Justin said there is a newer buried gas tank there which is used for the generators. CHC has some of the land at this location, Justin said the helicopter pad is part of CHC’s portion. Justin said there are currently tenants there and their leases would have to be honored. Justin said some title work has been started through Security 1st Title Company; Clifton made a motion to allow the local title company to move forward with the title commitment and that the title company do the closing, Jim seconded and all approved. Rob Harrington presented the Commissioners with Cooperative agreement and asked that the Commissioners use $1 million of the ARPA funds (Bourbon County will be getting $2.8 million total in ARPA funds) towards a feasibility study. He said this cooperative agreement would be between Bourbon County and Noble Health Corporation to do a feasibility study regarding if it’s feasible to bring a hospital back to the community. The Cooperative agreement would move forward with the feasibility study; the study would provide a market study, financial and demographic analysis and health data to show if this area can support a hospital. Rob said if the feasibility study comes back positive then the developer would begin working on opening a new healthcare facility in Bourbon County. Rob said the $1 million would be given to Noble Health Corporation to hire a 3rd party company to do a feasibility study. Clifton said the study will cost close to $1.5 million total, which Noble Health will be paying a portion of. Susan Bancroft said the major planned use for APRA funds is healthcare. Rob said the feasibility study could later be used to go after grants for the facility. Lynne said the closing of Mercy Hospital had a negative impact on the community and said he thought there was a good possibility of bringing back a hospital. Rob said the study should take 3-4 months to complete. Clifton said they have asked the City to participate in this as well and said if nothing else it will put to bed on whether we can have a hospital here or not. Justin said they could have until next Tuesday to finalize this and said this is a different style of medical care. Clifton said cooperate healthcare will not work in Fort Scott. Noble Health has purchased and is operating 2 hospitals in Missouri; they are bringing back healthcare to rural areas. Clifton said that Noble Health is not agreeing to bring a hospital here, but are agreeing to partner with Bourbon County to see what will work here, he said it will not be a full-blown hospital. Clifton said if this works and Noble comes here, they are excited to work with Ascension, CHC and any other local providers. Rob said this has been a great collaborative effort between Bourbon County, the City and Economic Development. Justin said that Security 1st can get the commitment of policy next week. The Commissioners plan to discuss the Mercy donation agreement again on June 29th. Jim said he hoped this works for our healthcare. Clifton said this is a community effort and said the community needs to support Ascension, CHC and Noble Health. Clifton said that Ascension and CHC did a good job during COVID but said it could’ve been better with hospital beds in our area. Clifton said they were not using property tax money to do this; he said they were using Federal money, he said if they don’t use this money, they would have to use a different way or give the money back. Justin said the current service contracts would have to be assumed by the Commission and said the current tenants would need to have the same environment they are used to. Clifton questioned if the County would have to use the current providers; they do not, but must provide the same service. Justin said he thought that landscaping, mowing and waste management could be done internally. Jim suggested, if necessary, when the current contracts expire that they look for different providers. Justin said a current resident for the Mercy building hasn’t finalized their lease agreement with Mercy yet; Mercy is working on the lease. Clifton said it wasn’t his intention to own the building for a long period of time; Justin said that could happen. The ambulance service has been subsidized by Bourbon County for many years.
Jim made a motion to go into a 10-minute executive session for KSA 75-4319(b) (1) to discuss personnel matters of individual non-elected personnel to protect their privacy to discuss job performance, the Commissioners will meet in another location and reconvene in the Commission room at 11:11, Clifton seconded and all approved, (the session included the Commissioners, Justin Meeks and Josh Jones). At 11:12, Clifton made a motion to resume the regular session with no action, Jim seconded and all approved.
Clifton made a motion to go into a 15-minute executive session for KSA 75-4319(b) (1) to discuss personnel matters of individual non-elected personnel to protect their privacy related to job function, the Commissioners will meet in another location and reconvene in the Commission room at 11:28, Jim seconded and all approved, (the session included the Commissioners, Justin and Josh Jones). At 11:28, Clifton made a motion to resume the normal session with action, Jim seconded and all approved. Jim made a motion that the County do a joint agreement with the City of Fort Scott regarding hiring an HR director as a shared service, the position will answer to the County Commission, Clifton seconded and all approved.
At 11:29, 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 29, 2021, Approved Date