Search Entire Site

Sign up here for the Code Red Emergency Warning System for Bourbon County

March 30, 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), Jason Silvers with the Fort Scott Tribune, Mark McCoy, Anne Dare, Kim Simons, Mr. & Mrs. Clint Walker, Bill Martin and Ben Cole.


Clifton made a motion to approve the minutes from the previous meetings, Jim seconded and all approved and signed the minutes.


Eric Bailey presented culvert permits to the Commissioners, which they signed; they were for Clint Hazen at 2556 Limestone, Larry Shead at 2468 Cavalry and T&C Wildlife at 2461 Arrowhead.


Eric Bailey said they are working on capping the C&D at the Landfill.  He said they are working on washouts around the County and are patching potholes near Garland.  Eric said they are in the process of moving from the Shepherd Quarry to the Beth Quarry.


Eric said regarding the windfarm that the company is moving forward with capping the roads beginning in an area at 20th & Eagle, then 39 to Eagle then 40th – 50th.  Eric said he gets a plan of the day everyday from the company that tells him the area they are working on.  He said he, Frank Young and Todd Foxx looked at bridges and culverts.


Jim asked Eric if he had a ditching plan for the year; Eric said he is working on it and said he would be working with the grader operators when developing the plan.


Maura Chambers and Harvey Felzke with KCAMP insurance met with the Commissioners; Bourbon County currently uses KCAMP for property and liability insurance, but is taking bids for insurance for 2022. KCAMP: pooling is an interlocal agency formed under Kansas statute allowing public entities to jointly self-insure their property and casualty risks. There are many advantages to pooling, such as sharing the cost of risk among similar entities, determining scope/terms of own coverage, control claims and litigation management, reaping benefits of group purchase.  KCAMP is member owned, member funded and member directed.  They said that 80% of the 90,000 public entities in the U.S. obtain coverage from a risk pool.  71 of the 105 counties in Kansas are members of KCAMP.  KCAMP offers tailored coverage, risk management services (attorney assist, Kansas legal based jail guidelines, law enforcement model policies, online university, on-site training and seminars, risk avoidance grants – if the County completes any of the criteria in this category then KCAMP will give money back to the County, risk management awards, roads scholar tuition reimbursement program, and ThinkHR). Lynne thanked KCAMP for the speediness of the process of paying claims.


Appraiser Clint Anderson met with the Commissioners regarding the ratio; he said the new valuation notices have been sent out and said that values haven’t been rising as quickly as the sales, he said a lot of people received substantial increases to their value.  He said owners do have the opportunity to appeal the value of their property.  It was stated that a lot of the properties on the market have contracts on them.  Bourbon County has an NRP program which offers tax refunds for new construction and remodels; anyone interested should contact the Appraisers office with any questions.


Lynne said the County has a radio spot on KMDO every Tuesday morning and said someone needs to do this spot to discuss what is going on in the County; he and Eric did the spot today to discuss wind generators.  Bill Martin asked if the radio time was only for elected officials or could other people from the County talk during the radio time; Lynne said if someone wanted to talk during the radio time they could contact him and he would notify the radio station of who would be speaking.  Jim made a motion that Lynne continues to manage the radio spot, Clifton seconded and all approved.


Justin Meeks said he had reviewed the documents from the State of Kansas – Project No. 6X-3109-01 for a crossing signal at 240 Street 3 miles SE of Fort Scott; the only cost the County will have in this project is to install and maintain advance warning signs.  Jim made a motion to approve to put in the crossing signal and to allow Lynne to sign the agreement, Clifton seconded and all approved and Lynne signed the agreement.


Clifton made a motion to approve Resolution 16-21, a wage resolution increasing the Assistant County Attorney’s wages, Jim seconded and all approved and signed the Resolution.


Justin said he had a 10 year lease ready for the City of Fort Scott to move the 911 dispatch center to the old jail facility.   He said it is $500/month for the lease and said this money would reduce what the County pays the City for dispatch.  Jim Harris asked Justin how he came up with the $500 figure; Justin said he talked to Shane and Susan about this, Justin said he thought it was a reasonable amount, Jim said he thought it was too low.  Lynne said dispatch has a $600,000 budget; Bill Martin said he agreed that dispatch needed to move and said he felt the Courthouse would be a good location, but said he would like to see a breakdown of the $600,000 budget, Bill suggested a communication board to cover dispatch.  Justin said they could put a breakdown of the $600,000 budget on next week’s agenda.  Justin said this is not a consolidation of government, but said this is a lease agreement, Lynne said the City and County are still separate entities, Lynne said there could be a shared service for an HR director.  The Commissioners will discuss the lease agreement again next week.


Clifton made a motion to go into a 10 minute executive session for KSA 75-4319(b) (6) for the preliminary discussion of the acquisition of real property to discuss additional parking areas around the Courthouse, the Commissioners will meet in another location and reconvene in the Commission room at 10:34, Jim seconded and all approved, (the session included the Commissioners and Justin).  After the session, Lynne made a motion to come out of executive session and back into open session, Clifton seconded and all approved.  Jim made a motion to allow Justin to meet with property owners to negotiate to purchase their property for a future parking lot, Clifton seconded and all approved.


Clifton 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 a possible termination and a medical issue, the Commissioners will meet in another location and reconvene in the Commission room at 10:47, Jim seconded and all approved, (the session included the Commissioners and Justin Meeks).  At 10: 44, Clifton made a motion to come out of executive session and resume their meeting with no action, Jim seconded and all approved.


Clifton made a motion to go into a 10 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 10:55, Jim seconded and all approved, (the session included the Commissioners and Justin Meeks).  At 10:55, Clifton made a motion to come out of executive session, back into open session and said no action, Jim seconded and all approved.


Justin Meeks presented a Corporate Guaranty from WEC Energy Group on behalf of Jayhawk Wind LLC regarding the windfarm road use agreement; the maximum aggregate liability of Guarantor under this Guaranty is limited to the amount of $250,000.  This will be on file in the County Clerk’s office.


Justin said that Community Health Center wants to submit a bid to the County to do the same thing as the Southeast Kansas Health Board does.  Justin said the renewal date for the Health Board contract is in May of 2021.  Justin suggesting inviting both entities to the County so they can talk about their functions.  Lynne made a motion to allow Clifton to contact CHC and the SEK Multi County Health Board to have them give a breakdown of services and finances, Jim seconded and all approved.


Public Comment: Anne Dare questioned if the Commissioners signed the lease for the City to lease space for dispatch; Lynne said they did not sign the lease.  Anne asked for an update on the hospital building; the Commissioners said they had no updates, Clifton said his goal is still the same, which is to have sustainable healthcare in Bourbon County.  Clifton said the Mercy building is still owned by Mercy.  It was stated that the County had until 3/31/2021 to decide on the building; Justin said an extension was signed between CHC and Ascension and Mercy for the building and said the deadline to sign or not sign for the County to accept the building had been extended as well. Kim Simons asked if they were still trying to do a medical mall; Justin said that is out of our control, Clifton said as a private citizen he would like to see CHC stay as well as anyone else that wanted to come to town could have that ability.  He said his goal is to have an emergency room.  Clifton said he didn’t care what building they were going to be in.  Kim said if they have their own building is the County still taking the Mercy building; Clifton said he had no interest in putting a $500,000 tax burden on the tax payers, Jim said he agreed.  Justin said there are still active ongoing negotiations and said the citizens have been supplementing healthcare for years; Clifton said the County is supplementing healthcare, but said his goal is to not increase that number. There was discussion over the dialysis center closing; Clifton said he thought in 5 years the trend might change and said he hopes we get some medical services back to the County.  Clint Walker questioned how much the Assistant County Attorney would be making with the new wage resolution; Lynne said $80,000 and said they had previously approved this, but had not adopted a resolution for this.  Clifton asked to view the 1989 reappraisal map; Justin said he could see this in the Register of Deeds office.


Commissioner Comment: Clifton said he had heard comments about combining the City/County and said he had no intentions of doing this, he said there are shared services they can do to save money.  Lynne said the more money they save gives them the opportunity to lower taxes.  Lynne said as a private citizen he would like to see more children’s services; he mentioned poverty and said there is a need for activities for kids, he said they need things to do in a structured environment.  Jim questioned how many kids went to bed hungry each night; Justin said 87% of the students in our school district are on free or reduced lunches.  Justin said he would gather the demographics and present it to the Commissioners at a later date.


Justin said there are global issues that affect the County; he said the County has never had a centralized HR person and said a lot of litigation comes out of bad employment practices.  He said there is no one in place to handle the duties of exit interviews, pre-employment drug screenings, sexual harassment training, job satisfaction, job retention, yearly training, employee evaluations, etc.  Justin said these employment procedures can protect the County from future liability. Jim Harris said felt the County has needed this for many years and said his opinion was that he would like to see this as a fulltime position.  Justin said currently we do not have anyone to write a simple termination letter.  Justin said in the past he has listened and interviewed employees on issues, but said the HR director should contact legal counsel. Justin said this could be a shared service; he said another municipality has an HR director.  Justin said this person could update the job descriptions; Lynne said the County needs a new employee handbook, Lynne said this would be a function of the HR director, Justin said as the County Counselor he shouldn’t be writing it, but should review it.  Justin said he thought the County had 3 options: hire a fulltime HR person, have a shared service for the HR duties or have someone internally do it for more compensation.  Lynne said they could reorganize existing staff.


Clifton made a motion that Lynne and he (if available) attend the SEK 17 County meeting on April 22nd in Yates Center, Jim seconded and all approved.


At 11:38, Jim made a motion to adjourn, Clifton seconded and all approved.




(ss) Lynne Oharah, Chairman

(ss) Jim Harris, Commissioner

(ss) Clifton Beth, Commissioner


Kendell Mason, Bourbon County Clerk

April 6, 2021, Approved Date