June 8, 2021 Tuesday 9:00 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), Susan Bancroft, Mr. & Mrs. Clint Walker, Mark McCoy, Angel Wilson, Anne Dare, Donnie Coffman, Ryan Coon, Robert Coon and John Coon.
Justin Meeks asked the Commissioners to amend the agenda for a 20 minute executive session to discuss non-elected personnel to discuss a new hire. Clifton made a motion to amend the agenda to have a 20 minute executive session, Jim seconded and all approved. Clifton made a motion to have a 20 minute executive session to discuss KSA 75-4319(b) (1) to discuss personnel matters of individual non-elected personnel to protect their privacy (job performance), the Commissioners will meet in another location and reconvene in the Commission room at 9:23 am, Jim seconded and all approved. At 9:23, Clifton made a motion to resume the meeting and said no action, Jim seconded and all approved.
Clifton made a motion to approve last week’s minutes, Jim seconded and all approved.
Eric Bailey presented a culvert application for 2485 Locust Road; Lynne made a motion to approve the culvert permit, Jim seconded and all approved.
Eric said he had a few individuals approach him requesting dust control, he said they filled out the permit that is posted on the County website (which states there is a fee), but said they said they hadn’t been charged for the dust control previously. The fee is $1.50/linear foot. Jim Harris said they would have been charged, but said they didn’t charge for dust control on roads approaching or near quarries. The Commissioners said people wanting dust control needed to fill out the permit and that Eric should proceed with charging for the dust control.
Eric said they needed to build the road salt inventory; the Commissioners were ok with this.
Eric said the new miner training had been completed (MSHAW training).
Eric said the pilot light had gone out on the oil burner for the asphalt; he said they have called an electrician to fix this and will then do work in Hiattville and then on 250th.
Eric said they would be going to Arkansas on Wednesday to pick up the truck they had recently purchased.
Windfarm update: Eric said Jayhawk Wind is still working on private access roads. He said he had received a text message recently regarding rock spilled on Highway 3, he said the truck driver had turned and lost about 3 five-gallon buckets of rock; he said within 10 minutes Jayhawk Wind had swept the rock from the road. Eric said that Jayhawk Wind didn’t know if they would have excess dirt until towards the end of the project.
Lynne said he would report to Eric of an individual that wants gravel and tree trimming done on a dead-end road.
Justin Meeks asked that a road closure from KDOT for Highway 7 & 180th street be placed on next Tuesday’s agenda.
Lynne made a motion to approve the 2021 firework permits in Fort Scott for the following locations: Jake’s Fireworks @ Wall and Goodlander, Jake’s Fireworks at 2221 S. Main St., Jubilee Fireworks, LLC @ 2420 S. Main and Hale Fireworks, LLC @ 2409 S. Main, Clifton seconded and all approved and Lynne signed the permits.
Emergency Manager William Wallis met with the Commissioners to present his 2022 budget requests; for the Emergency Management Performance grant he received $17,814 in 2021 and budgeted to receive $18,000 in 2022. For Emergency Preparedness he requested $59,739 in 2022, compared to the $57,739 he received in 2021; he said the requested increase is due to training exercises, traveling and supplies.
Michael Braim met with the Commissioners regarding Bourbon County Attorney, Jacqie Spradling; he said that Jacqie is liability to our County and said when prosecutors create misconduct and lets criminals walk free it is a liability for our safety and our town. He said there is no insurance policy to cover when these lawsuits happen, but said it comes out of taxpayer’s dollars. He said he had consulted lawyers; one of which directed him to the Beatrice 5, in Beatrice, Nebraska. He said there was prosecutor misconduct which caused 5 people to get off and they sued which cost Beatrice $23 million. He said that every case that comes through here now while she is prosecuting is suspect. He said she is an elected official and there isn’t a lot the Commissioners can do. He asked the Commissioners to have a vote of no confidence. He said they can ask for a resignation. He questioned why we are paying her a lot of money to possibly screw this up, he said they could possibly reduce her pay to encourage this to move along. He said there is a lot of public out-cry for this woman to be gone. He said she was first appointed to this position and then ran unopposed the next time. He asked why she is hiring special prosecutors. He said she resigned in Allen County. He questioned her picking James Braun, (Justin said they couldn’t discuss non-elected personnel. Mr. Braim said we can’t afford this and hoped the Commissioners did the right thing. Justin said he was instructed yesterday to follow up on this; he said there are 54 jury trials pending in Bourbon County, he said there should be some comfort that they haven’t happened yet. Justin suggested that the Commissioners pend any action for a week. The Commissioners asked that this be scheduled again on the June 15th agenda. Justin warned the Commissioners to not string meeting (talking to more than one Commissioner in private about the same issue). Justin said that if Jacqie were to no longer be the County Attorney the Republican party would select her replacement to fill the unexpired term. Justin said an elected official can run their department as they see fit. Anne Dare questioned her position being salaried and only being in Bourbon County a few times a month; Justin said the Bourbon County Attorney makes $51,000 yearly and the average salary for an attorney is $65-$70/hour, he said the Bourbon County Attorney is paid well under the average. Anne Dare said when you look at the court docket the Assistant County Attorney is listed more often than the County Attorney for coming to court. Justin said there is a high probability that we will have a new County Attorney in the future. Mr. Walker said that Kansas Statute doesn’t require the County Attorney to be resident of the County they are elected in. Mr. Braim questioned the cost to have a recall election, but others felt it would be better to just ride this out. Justin said that Jacqie still has a license to practice law in Kansas. Robert Coon said the panel has given the opinion of misconduct. Clifton said the Commissioners hands are tied. The Commissioners were reluctant to do anything and said by doing anything this could add more liability.
Lynne made a motion to sign the sewer bond documents, (tax certificate & Exhibit B -receipt for purchase price), Jim Seconded and all approved. Jim made a motion to allow Lynne to sign the documents, Clifton seconded and all approved and Lynne signed the documents.
County Counselor Comment: Justin said they have stopped filing any new tax sale cases, he said there would be 100 cases for the first tax sale. Justin said social media can be a problem when it comes to getting the truth of a matter, he said that opinions are great, but suggested maybe having someone as a fact checker on Facebook to say what has happened; the Commissioners asked that this be placed on the agenda next week for discussion.
Jim Harris asked Justin if they were making progress with the tower, Justin said they were going to use trucks to get the dishes off the tower to use the tower for internet.
Justin said he was meeting with Mr. Farmer this week regarding KDOT road issues south of town, he said they would also be talking about the sewer district.
Justin said he is dealing with the Secretary of State’s office regarding petition signatures required on a petition.
Justin said he has a cemetery issue he is working on and is dealing with old law, he said there are questions on how the boards are set up and how the budgets are done. He said Susan Bancroft had volunteered to help with this cemetery issue.
Clifton made a motion to allow Jim to help Eric with soybean issues at the Landfill, Lynne seconded and all approved.
Justin said since they had an executive session, he will be talking with the chairman to make sure he has everything he needs.
Public Comment: Denise Duncan met with the Commissioners. She presented a farm winery permit for the Kansas Department of Revenue Alcoholic Beverage Control for Vinedo del Alamo at 2304 Poplar Road. She asked that the Commissioners approve Kendell Mason to sign the permit. They have had a permit, but have expanded the winery plan to the next barn. She said they first planted the vines in 2011 and opened in 2015. She discussed the traffic in the area and said that Poplar Road is the only feeder road that isn’t a paved road, and said she thought it would be a good road to pave. Lynne made a motion to allow Kendell to sign the permit, Clifton seconded and all approved.
Susan Bancroft met with the Commissioners: she said Clifton had asked for a wage schedule, so she provided this.
Lynne said that Eric Bailey was losing some key employees and said they had discussions over having progressive wages, Lynne said Eric was willing to give up a position to do this. Justin gave the Commissioners salary comparisons from other Counties (from 2017) and gave them data on the declining population. He said the valuation is going up.
Justin complimented KDOT on their road project (Highway 69).
There was a brief discussion regarding the County budget timeline and the new RNR enacted.
Commissioner Comment: Regarding the budget and mill levy- Clifton said they had talked about having townhall meetings to find out what people want and what they want to fund and said they need to start this process. Susan volunteered to be a facilitator for these meetings and will get the meetings set up.
At 10:44, 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 15, 2021, Approved Date