March 16, 2021 Tuesday 9:00 am
The Bourbon County Commission met in open session at the Fort Scott City Commission room with Commissioners Oharah and Harris and the County Counselor present, Commissioner Beth was present by phone; the County Clerk was able to watch the meeting live on YouTube.
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, City Manager Jeremy Frazier, Anne Dare, Kim Simons, Clint Walker and Michael Hoyt.
Jim made a motion to approve the minutes from the prior meeting, Clifton seconded and all approved and Lynne and Jim signed the minutes from the March 9th & March 12th meetings.
Jim made a motion to remove from the agenda the scheduled discussion over the Blue Cross/Blue Shield grant money, Clifton seconded and all approved.
Jim made a motion to approve a culvert permit for a location at 989 230th and one for a location at 1629 195th, Clifton seconded and all approved.
Eric Bailey reported they had put fill in for a bridge at 260th & Indian Road.
Eric said they will be doing a blast today at the Beth quarry.
Eric said he had a meeting with IEA regarding the windfarm; he said IEA was unable to start last week due to the high wind conditions. Eric said he is waiting on a complete set of windfarm plans to review with the engineer (Frank Young) and is waiting on a map of the windfarm sites.
Eric reported road damage from the recent heavy rain; he said a whistle was damaged at 145th & Poplar and they have temporarily put in a new culvert in to open that road. He said the grader operators have been surveying the damage from the rain.
Jim Harris made a motion to allow Appraiser Clint Anderson to hire a person to replace an employee that is retiring, Clifton seconded and all approved.
Dave Bruner, Traci Reed and Shane Walker met with the Commissioners to discuss moving the dispatch into the old jail space at the Courthouse. Dave said there is a small shelter at the current dispatch location on National and said there are security and safety issues that will be resolved by relocating the dispatch center to the new jail. Traci agreed and said they would be going from a 325 square foot of space to 825 square foot of space, she said that 911 funds will take care of the move. Shane said the old jail where they plan to move will handle 200 mph winds. Justin Meeks said he could provide a lease/interlocal agreement and said with this move there would be a savings to the taxpayers. Jim Harris made a motion to tentatively approve them to move forward with the plans to move dispatch to make a secure facility with final approval with an interlocal agreement, Clifton seconded and all approved.
Lynne said that Bourbon County has 3 active COVID cases and said the County has had a door monitor to give out masks and take temperatures and said it might be time to open the Courthouse and transition to less control with masks. Jim Harris said the Clerk had emailed him with concerns over opening too early; he questioned if they were moving too fast and asked if they wanted to put the employees in the situation with people without masks, he pointed out that they were sitting in a room where they were all wearing masks. Justin said that an elected official can have a mask mandate for their office and said all offices have plexi-glass barriers. Jim asked if they were going to open the Commission meetings without a mask requirement; Lynne said no, but said the mask mandate is not enforceable and said the facility will still have signs saying masks are required. Justin said the signs will be there to help with liability issues, but said common sense needs to come into place and said we needed to get back to some normalcy. Justin said some of the employees are at a high risk. Lynne made a motion to open the Courthouse (the Southeast & Northeast doors) and still have the mask requirement and social distancing requirement on April 5th, Clifton seconded, Clifton said there have been discussions on the medical side on whether the temperature checks work and said some COVID cases aren’t showing signs of a fever, all approved the motion.
Lynne said that when Barbara Albright was the Commissioner Chairman they started a hiring freeze due to budgetary issues, he said those issues have since been taken care of. Jim questioned how they stop a free for all on hiring; Justin said if an elected official goes over budget it is a violation of the cash basis law. Susan Bancroft said she would have a financial report to the Commissioners by the next meeting; she said there are areas with control issues as well as some HR practices that need implemented. She said setting a budget is a target, but said there have been misunderstandings of the budget verses the cash available. Jim made a motion to eliminate the hiring freeze for the County, giving elected officials the ability to replace existing staff when needed, Lynne seconded and all approved.
Justin said the County had another unattended death; he said the County Commissioners have the responsibility to take care of the remains. He said with the Commissioners permission he and Jacqie Spradling would sign the documents with the funeral home to take care of the remains (he said there is no family member to provide for the care of the remains). Lynne made a motion to allow Justin and Jacqie to handle the remains for the unattended deaths, Jim seconded and all approved.
Justin said consolidating the government buildings can save money, he said there is a lot of unused space at the County building (Courthouse). He suggested having steps and a team in place to consolidate. Lynne said having the city offices at the Courthouse would save money (with technology and heat and air), and said it could be a one stop shop where someone could pay their taxes and then pay their water bill. Jim Harris said he would want to see savings for the taxpayers. Justin said he was not talking about consolidating, but talking about shared services. Lynne said there would be interlocal agreements; Justin said they could possibly share a Commission room. Jim made a motion to move forward with reviewing the shared space at the Courthouse and that Justin Meeks, Shane Walker and Susan Bancroft work to put together a study and report back to the Commissioners, Clifton seconded and all approved.
Lynne made a motion to go into a 15 minute executive session for KSA 75-4319(b) (2) for consultation with an attorney for the body or agency which would be deemed privileged in the attorney-client relationship with possible litigation, the Commissioners will meet in another location and reconvene in the Commission room at 10:18 and that the session includes Justin Meeks, Lynne and Jim in person and Clifton by telephone, Jim Harris seconded and all approved. At 10:18, Lynne made a motion to come back into open session to resume the meeting and said no action was taken, Jim seconded and all approved.
Jim made a motion to allow all of the Commissioners to go to a meet and greet at Luther’s on March 17th at 5 pm, Clifton seconded and all approved.
The Commissioners opened the meeting up for public comment; Anne Dare commended the opening of the Courthouse. She discussed the eliminating of the hiring freeze, she said Patty Love had said multiple times that her workforce had previously been more than the amount of employees she currently has. Lynne said eliminating the hiring freeze would allow departments to go to what is budgeted for. Anne asked if the Commissioners had a BEDCO announcement; the Commissioners said no. Anne questioned why the County Clerk wasn’t at the meeting; Lynne said the Clerk had given him documents for the meeting and said the Clerk reported that she would be watching the meeting for the minutes. Anne questioned the reason for moving the Commission meeting to the City; Lynne said due to a concern a patron had regarding speakers in the meeting, speakers were being added to the County Commission room, but weren’t available for the meeting. Anne questioned BEDCO; Justin said it was formed in 1992, Lynne suggested that people tour Thrive Allen County. Anne questioned removing the Blue Cross Blue Shield grant money from the agenda, Lynne said it would be put back on the agenda sometime, Anne questioned who is overseeing the grant money, Lynne said they are not going to discuss that now. Justin said documents could be requested through a KORA request.
Clint Walker questioned what the meet and greet was for that the Commissioners were going to attend; Lynne said it was for the economic development position for BEDCO.
Michael Hoyt said they were having a COVID vaccination clinic today at the industrial park. He said he had previously given the Commissioners documents on why they should establish a citizen advisory board, he said that Johnson County uses this and said he would like to see what they can do to put together an advisory board for the Commissioners.
Lynne made a motion to adopt Resolution 13-21, a salary resolution increasing the Register of Deeds wages to $47,248.24 annually effective 3/7/2021, Jim seconded and all approved.
Lynne made a motion to approve Resolution 14-21, a resolution certifying the official election results from the 3/2/2021 special election, Jim seconded and all approved.
Lynne said as a BEDCO board member he and the City Manager had toured Thrive Allen County. Lynne said he hopes to eventually have a work session with the City to save taxpayer money and increase services.
Jim Harris said that he had toured the Springhill packing plant on Friday; he said it was clean, there was no odor and said he was impressed and said he thought it was a good thing for Bourbon County.
At 10:44, Jim made a motion to adjourn, Clifton 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
March 23, 2021, Approved Date