May 5, 2020 Tuesday 9:00 am
The Bourbon County Commission met in open session on the front East steps of the Courthouse (due to COVID-19), present for the meeting were the Commissioners, Justin Meeks and Kendell Mason.
Tammy Helm with the Fort Scott Tribune and Anne Dare were present for the morning meeting.
Jim Harris reported that Road & Bridge is hauling gravel and installing culverts around the County and is patching (near 232nd & Jewell and then south of Garland). Jim estimated that they had approximately 75% of the patching done on the asphalt roads. Jim said they need to do ditching on Hackberry and on Indian Road. He said they are crushing at the Thomas Quarry and will be doing a blast at the Blake Quarry within 30 days. Jim said they are still watching the funds before deciding on the chip/seal and asphalt plan for 2020.
Jeff discussed the FEMA grant money that Bourbon County has been working to receive regarding flood damage that occurred in 2019. The County could be eligible for funding for the reimbursement of repair cost and labor from flooding repairs. He said that KDEM needs equipment information and supporting documentation from Road & Bridge for the grant application process. Jeff said he reviewed data for materials used from May – June, but said there wasn’t a lot of data from July – September, (which could be due to the crew doing paving work during this time and not doing flood repairs). Jeff said he didn’t think all of the flood blocked structures had been cleaned out or that all of the repair work had been done. Jeff said he had sent Jim a list of grant items needed. Jeff said the grant had been stalled since we hadn’t provided the documentation requested. Jeff said they also needed information on the equipment used to produce gravel. Jim said his department is willing to provide the needed information for the grant.
There is brush that needs cut at on Xavier; Jim said if it isn’t already done, they will get it done.
Lynne briefly discussed the 2020 budgets; he said 15-20% would need to be cut from budgets due to a revenue shortfall. Jim said they have already purchased the salt for the upcoming winter
Lynne asked Jim Harris where the chips for the rock are tested; Jim said Allied in Wichita does this. Lynne asked if Ag Engineering could do this; Jim said they didn’t have the lab to do this.
Jeff said he had heard that a portion of Indian Road was closed; Jim said the County hadn’t closed it. Jim said they notify the radio and dispatch when they close a road.
Ed Murrow reported to the Commissioners a culvert plugged at the Stevenson Cemetery at 65th & Yale at the side entrance. He said he had reported this twice to Jim Harris, but it still wasn’t fixed. Lynne said he would report this to Jim Harris.
Lynne made a motion to adopt Resolution 15-20; a resolution for the financing of the two 2021 Mack dump trucks through City State Bank, for a lease amount of $223,538.00, interest rate of 2.28% and semi-annual payments of $23,567.63 for five years, Nick seconded and all approved. Lynne and Kendell signed the financing documents and the Commissioners signed the resolution.
Bourbon County Attorney Jacqie Spradling met with the Commissioners; Lynne said they previously discussed a wage increase for the Assistant County Attorney, but didn’t finalize this raise. Jeff made a motion to approve a wage increase from $55,000 – $65,000 for the Assistant County Attorney, Lynne seconded and all approved. On 5/12/2020, the Commissioners will be presented with a salary resolution with this increase on it. Lynne said they will be asking department heads to closely monitor their budgets and said they were looking at a 15-20% across the board budget cut.
Lynne said the County has purchased a disinfecting spray system that kills surface germs that is being used in the County buildings.
Bourbon County Appraiser met with the Commissioners regarding his employees and COVID-19. He said they need to get back to field work to do measurements and to do day to day operations; all of the Commissioners were ok with this. He said they need to do residential and commercial work he said his employees will be using masks, gloves and keeping a distance. His employees will be driving marked vehicles. Clint said they have been having property hearings over the phone.
Due to COVID-19 the Courthouse has been closed to the public since March 17, 2020. Lynne said he talked with Judge Harth who said the court had two options regarding re-opening; option one open the court system when the Courthouse opens and option two with only the courts open. Justin said there are access issues regarding space for the court to comply with the COVID-19 safety guidelines. They are working with the courts to address the court’s needs. Justin said they are looking into using the Annex building for court use. The Deeds office is doing business by appointment only, some offices now have drop boxes for business use and some offices are meeting outside the Courthouse doors for business. The Commissioners said the Courthouse will be closed at least through May 17th and will consider reopening of the Courthouse based on the Governors decision then.
COVID-19 has caused a decrease in revenue; Justin said there is a high possibility that we will need additional subsidies for funding the EMS, Kendell questioned if there were grants available to help fund EMS. The Commissioners said an alternative option is to use an ambulance service company such as AMS or EMR.
Justin said there was a jail issue that would be taken care of by the end of the day.
Justin and Lynne had meet with the City of Fort Scott regarding combining services between the City and County; they are waiting on May month end budget reports before discussing again.
The Commission meeting on May 12th will be held outside on the front East steps of the Courthouse. If it’s raining it will be held in the first floor lobby.
At 11:00 Lynne made a motion to break for lunch and reconvene at 1:30, Nick seconded and the motion passed.
After lunch the following were at the meeting; Jason Silvers with the Fort Scott Tribune, Mary Pemberton, Anne Dare, Kim Simons and Nancy Van Etten.
Mary Pemberton met with the Commissioners to discuss the PILOT agreement from Jayhawk Wind Farm; she said in October the Commissioners had set the goal to reduce the property tax mill levy rate by 13% by 2030. She said it had been mentioned that the PILOT money could be a contributor to reach this goal. She asked that the Commissioners adopt the following resolution… “A RESOLUTION ESTABLISHING THE USE OF PILOT PROCEEDS RECEIVED FROM THE JAYHAWK WIND ENERGY PROJECT WHEREAS, the Board of County Commissioners of Bourbon County, Kansas has entered into a Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) agreement with Jayhawk Wind, LLC dated March 13, 2020 and anticipated receiving $365,625 per year beginning on or about December 1, 2021 and continuing for 9 years followed by $182,813.00 for 1 year until the wind energy project becomes taxable under Kansas Law; and WHEREAS, the members of the Board of County Commissioners have set a goal of reducing the property tax mill levy rate by 13% by 2030 and have indicated this project will assist in achieving this goal; NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF BOURBON COUNTY, KANSAS that proceeds from the PILOT agreement referred to above be and hereby shall be allocated by the Board of County Commissioners, from year to year for each year in which PILOT proceeds are received, in the same manner and proportion as all other ad valorem tax revenue, to help achieve this goal of lowering the property tax mill levy. ADOPTED AND APPROVED at their regular meeting on the 5th day of May, 2020.” The Commissioners did not adopt the resolution; Lynne said they would take it under advisement when discussing the 2021 budget in June of 2020. She asked where the initial upfront payment of $407,812.50 had been allocated; Lynne said this will be discussed when doing the 2021 budget. Mrs. Pemberton asked the Commissioners if Bourbon County deserved a lower than average financial compensation from Jayhawk Wind Farm because of the limited roads they said they would be using, then why did the County sign an agreement giving them access to all of the County roads without restrictions; neither the Commissioners or Justin wanted to comment on this.
Nancy Johnson met with the Commissioners regarding an article in the Fort Scott Tribune about MRI Global COVID-19 testing; MRI Global was scheduled to be discussed during the April 28th Commission meeting, but after an executive session, Lynne made a motion to remove the presentation regarding MRI Global from the agenda, Nick seconded and the motion passed and Nick made a motion to stop everything with the MRI Global and not to support it moving forward, Lynne seconded and the motion passed. Mrs. Johnson questioned if they voted to not move forward with MRI Global why the lengthy article in the May 2nd, 2020 Fort Scott Tribune. She discussed the article in the Tribune which covered many items including “testing with same day results”, “the training and verification for a particular lab testing platform”, “the testing offers the ability to trace contacts and support communications between clinicians and patients, providing an indicator of the spread and control of COVID-19”. Jeff Fischer told the Tribune that “this is tracking the disease, not the people. The surveillance would be reporting of numbers and disease progression. The tracking, or contact tracing, would be people exposed to a positive case.” The article also discussed the pricing for testing. Mrs. Johnson questioned the HIPPA laws with regards to testing, the return to work orders and suggested they re-think forcing people into testing for COVID-19. Lynne said they took MRI Global off of the table; they had brought this up to look at the feasibility, but they are not supporting the idea. Lynne said they are following the orders of the Governor and the Public Health regarding re-opening.
At 1:49, Jeff made a motion to adjourn, Nick seconded and all approved.
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
May 12, 2020, Approved Date