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Ad: Jeff Fischer For Bourbon County Commission

Two of my campaign promises for this next term are the;

  • Reduction of Property Tax with Responsible Spending
  • Development of the Healthcare Mall in the Mercy Building

The following comments provide some background and details on how this will be accomplished working with others.

 

About a year ago the county conducted a Business Expansion and Retention Survey with over fifty business owners responding. One of the main themes identified as a barrier to business expansion and retention in Bourbon County is property tax.  The property taxes and the projected population decline were addressed by the responses of the candidates at the Chamber of Commerce candidate forum for the state races.

 

The people who work on budgets often speak in terms of mill levies. The taxpayers pay these taxes in dollars. So there often a disconnect when a politician states that they have not raised taxes, implying the mill levy has not changed, despite dollars collected are typically increasing. To provide meaningful comparisons on property tax, businesses like to know the effective tax rate. The effective tax rate is a function of both the mill levy and valuation allowing comparisons of property tax.

 

There are a few ways to lower property taxes. Spending less money is one way to do this. The other is earning more. In practice, cutting spending can be challenging as many costs continue to rise. There can be adverse consequences to inadequately funding our taxpayer funded organizations. Finding the balance between adequate funding and undisciplined spending is the reason that we benchmarked eight like sized Kansas counties in comparative analysis using 2020 budget data and the proposed 2021 Bourbon County budget.

 

Allen County provides an excellent comparison for our county. Three years ago we compared our number of employees and found that the only material difference was that Allen County had 9 more employees which was the number of employees staffing their 911 call center. Normally their Road and Bridge budgets are in line with ours, Anderson and Neosho County’s at 3.5 million. However, Allen County has 2.3 million in capital outlay funds budgeted this year. Bourbon County carries a little more debt service on equipment than do our peers.

 

The Ambulance service is an example of earning more, but costing $80,000 less.  A couple years ago the county contracted these services from Mercy Hospital for $330,000. We now pay the City of Fort Scott about 1.1 million but collect $850,000 in reimbursement. The key to the financial success was the partnership with Fort Scott and donations from local businesses and from Mercy. There are other opportunities to reduce property taxes by increasing our participation in cost share programs from KDOT, FEMA disaster recovery and other available resources. We need to pursue these opportunities more aggressively than we have in the past.

 

The Heath Care Mall is closer to a reality than we thought possible just a few short months ago. Due to the tireless efforts and cooperation of many citizens and elected officials working together the Mall will be a strong valued investment to Bourbon County now and in the future.

 

We currently have commitments for leases that will bring in $600,000 in rental revenue for the Health Care Mall.  At this rate, we estimate that this is $300,000 short of financial sustainability from a taxpayer perspective. There is strong interest in this facility at the state and federal level. Leasing the space where the hospital rooms existed would yield another $600,000 providing a surplus that could cover the costs of our ambulance service. This arrangement would then provide a learning lab to promote FSCC Nursing and University of Kansas rural medicine programs. The success of this concept will require a cooperative spirit where we are listening, learning and leaning together for a brighter future for Bourbon County.

 

Unsolicited Seeds: Report Receipt to KS Dept. of Agriculture

KDA Asks Public to Report Receipt of any Unsolicited Packages of Seeds

 

Bourbon County Sheriff Bill Martin said he has been receiving questions on this and sent the following:

The Kansas Department of Agriculture has been notified that several Kansas residents have received unsolicited packages containing seeds that appear to have originated from China.

The types of seeds in the packages are unknown at this time.

The packages were sent by mail; some have been labeled as jewelry and they may have Chinese writing on them.

Unsolicited packages of seeds have been received by people in several other states across the United States over the last several days.

If you receive a package of this type, please contact KDA’s plant protection and weed control program at 785-564-6698, via email at KDA.PPWC@ks.gov, or at the complaint reporting portion of the KDA website: report a seed complaint.

Please DO NOT plant these seeds.

If they are in sealed packaging, don’t open the sealed package.

If the package has already been opened, place all materials (seeds and packaging) into a zip lock bag and seal it.

If the seeds have already been planted, leave the seeds/plants in the ground.

Unsolicited seeds could be invasive species, could introduce diseases to local plants, or could be harmful to livestock.

Invasive species wreak havoc on the environment, displace or destroy native plants and insects and severely damage crops.

KDA works to prevent the introduction of invasive species and protect Kansas agriculture.

Agenda for the FS Commission Aug. 4

AGENDA

FORT SCOTT CITY COMMISSION

FORT SCOTT CITY HALL

COMMISSION ROOM

123 SOUTH MAIN

AUGUST 4, 2020

6:00 P.M.

I. ROLL CALL:

K. ALLEN P. ALLEN NICHOLS WATTS MITCHELL

II. FLAG SALUTE

III. INVOCATION: Pastor Brian Rhoades, Grace Baptist Tabernacle

IV. PROCLAMATIONS/RECOGNITIONS:

V. CONSENT AGENDA:

  1. Approval of minutes of the regular meeting of July 21st, 2020.

  1. Approval of Appropriation Ordinance 1268-A totaling $960,076.89.

  1. Olsson Associates – Engineering – Airport Electric Vault Project – $2,457.92

  1. Olsson Associates – Engineering – Airport Electric Vault Project – $7,523.15

  1. Strukel Electric, Inc. – Contractor – Airport Electric Vault Project – $15,949.38

  1. Schneider Electric – Contractor – Energy Upgrade – $146,821.25

VI. APPEARANCE/COMMENTS/PUBLIC HEARING:

  1. APPEARANCE: None

B. CITIZEN COMMENTS (Concerning Items Not on Agenda – 5 minute limit per citizen)

Amy Marsh – Pit Bulls in City Limits

C. PUBLIC HEARINGS/COMMENTS: None

VII. CONSIDERATION:

  1. Consideration of Health Insurance Contribution for employees
  1. Consideration of 5-year Capital Plan
  1. Budget discussion and approval to publish 2021 Budget
  1. Consideration of Bids – Sanitizing Equipment to be used at PD/FD/EMS buildings (purchased through grant received)

  1. Skitch’s Hauling & Excavation Invoice – June port-a-potties – $2,948.00

  1. City building in Industrial Park discussion
  1. Sunday liquor sales Ordinance No. 3564

VIII. COMMENTS:

  1. Director Updates:

Susan Bancroft: Golf Cart Lease Discussion

SPARK funding

  1. Commission:

Kevin Allen – Discussion of lake property for sale

  1. City Attorney:
  1. City Manager: Pool Closing Date Discussion

EXECUTIVE SESSION:

I MOVE THAT THE CITY COMMISSION RECESS INTO EXECUTIVE SESSION.

THE SUBJECT MATTER OF THE RECESS IS THE DISCUSSION OF:

The statutory justification for the recess is:

K.S.A. 75-4319(b)(1) – to discuss matters of non-elected personnel;

K.S.A. 75-4319(b)(2) – consultation with the City Attorney on matters that would be deemed privileged in the attorney-client relationship;

K.S.A. 75-4319(b)(3) – to discuss employer-employee negotiations whether or not in consultation with the representative(s) of the public body or agency;

K.S.A. 75-4319(b)(4) – to discuss data relating to financial affairs or trade secrets of corporations, partnerships, trusts, and individual proprietorships;

K.S.A. 75-4319(b)(6) – for the preliminary discussion of the acquisition of real property.

The Executive Session will be for _________ minutes long and the open meeting will resume at ___________ am/pm.

X. MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT: ROLL CALL

FS Commission Minutes of July 21

Minutes are unapproved until the 8-4-2020 meeting.

The regular meeting of the Fort Scott City Commission was held July 21st, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. in the City Commission Room, 123 S. Main, Fort Scott, Kansas.

ROLL CALL:

Commissioners K. Allen, P. Allen, R. Nichols, and L. Watts were present with Mayor J. Mitchell presiding.

INVOCATION: Joel Harney, Community Christian Church said a prayer asking God for guidance for the City, our Government and City officials.

AUDIENCE IN ATTENDANCE: Josh Jones, Travis Shelton, Michael Bryant, Joel Harney, Sandra Carnes, Michael Hoyt, Nate Stansberry, Hazel Swarts, Lance Anderson, Richard Clark, and Vince Loffredo.

PROCLAMATIONS/RECOGNITIONS: Recognition of Ryan Coon and Jesse Smith (presented with certificate from the City Commission) – Mayor Mitchell read a letter received from Alan & Mary Davis who received assistance from two employees of Ron’s Tire and Service. The Davis’ were passing through Fort Scott and had vehicle issues. These two individuals assisted them late at night and they appreciated their help.

The Commission gave them a Certificate of Recognition for their efforts and thanked them for assisting this older couple.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES AND APPROPRIATIONS/CONSENT AGENDA:

  1. Approval of minutes of the regular meeting of July 7th, 2020 and amended special meeting minutes of June 30th, 2020.

  1. Approval of Appropriation Ordinance 1267-A totaling $521,599.42.

  1. Request to Pay #9 – Crossland Heavy Contractors – $400,285.97 – River Intake Project

  1. Request to Pay #10 – Crossland Heavy Contractors – $136,141.25 – River Intake Project

  1. Request to Pay #11 – Crossland Heavy Contractors – $71,607.49 – River Intake Project

  1. Request to Pay – HDR Engineering, Inc. – $53,457.75 – River Intake Project

  1. Request to Pay – Lauber Municipal Law, LLC – (June) – $11,187.50

  1. June financials

Pete Allen questioned the invoices from Crossland Heavy Contractors and why they weren’t stamped by the engineer.

Susan Bancroft said that the invoices are sent to the City by the engineer and he has approved them.

Nichols moved to approve the Consent Agenda. Watts seconded. Nichols, Watts, and Mitchell voted aye. K. Allen and P. Allen voted no. Motion carried 3-2.

APPROVED CONSENT AGENDA.

APPEARANCE/COMMENTS/PUBLIC HEARING:

  1. APPEARANCE: Michael Bryant – First Source Lease – Mr. Bryant said that he was Vice-President of Operations for First Source. As the City is aware, First Source has occupied the building owned by the City in the Industrial Park since 2004. First Source has decided to surrender this lease to the City effective December 16, 2020. It is a business decision on their part. They have 175 employees and some of those travel up to 60 miles. With the COVID situation, they have moved all their employees from work to home and that will be their model going forward. They have no intentions to leave the area. They are in negotiations with a smaller building within the City to house about 30 employees and continue their presence in Fort Scott. There will also be office space there for meetings. They are currently hiring about 50 additional employees to grow their company. He thanked the Commission, the City Manager, and staff for all their assistance over the years.

Kevin Allen asked what the City was going to do with the building? Sell it, advertise it?

City Manager said he was going to bring this issue up to the Commission at their next meeting and get their views on the building on how to proceed with the building. This is a revenue generator to the City.

Mayor Mitchell thanked Michael and First Source for their growth in the City and dedication for all these many years.

Mr. Bryant said that this has been a huge transition for them with the pandemic hitting.

  1. CITIZEN COMMENTS (Concerning Items Not on Agenda – 5 minute

limit per citizen) –

Richard Clark – Mr. Clark said that recently a lake lot sold, a non-frontage lake lot, for just under $70,000. He just found out from seeing some signs that the City is going to sell 17 acres. He thinks the City would do better selling individual lots where it can be platted off and make more money. He didn’t see anything discussed in the minutes or posted in the Tribune and it didn’t get publicized. He thought you were supposed to publish in the Tribune but maybe he missed it. His concern is that he thinks you can make a lot more money selling individual lots than the whole thing. That’s his comment.

Kevin Allen said that a Lake Advisory Board meeting was held the other day and this was one of the items that came up. Selling the 17 acres as a whole could be kind of scary. They discussed things that could happen because we do not have codes in our county. He mentioned selling 17 acres as a whole and wondered if there were any covenants in place. It is all road frontage. He believes we are putting the future of Lake Fort Scott in jeopardy. A lot of the Lake residents were wanting to buy these lots as a whole and then split them up. Some residents wanted storage units put on this property. He said that Nancy Van Etten, Chairperson of the Lake Advisory Committee, was going to write a letter and tell the City their concerns.

City Manager said that this was talked about in April, May, June, and July. It is an odd shaped piece of land and that’s the reason they felt like they needed to sell it as a whole. The last meeting held was to schedule the auction which will be August 15, 2020.

Kevin said that we talked about selling this property, but not what could happen to the property. He asked if the other Commissioners were concerned with this.

City Manager said that he was going to bring this topic up under his time and there are others here to address this issue also.

Kevin said that he would like the City Commission to meet with the Lake Advisory Board Committee to hear their concerns.

Vince Loffredo – He said that he was there to speak on behalf of the property owners who live directly in front of the property that is for sale. They live directly in front of those 17 acres. They are concerned if the property does get divided up and does get sold individually. They moved there for the serenity and the hidden gem that Lake Fort Scott is. The people that he has brought out to this lake personally have invested heavily, not just into the Lake but the community. He brought his father-in-law from Florida to retire in Fort Scott, one of his partners and his mother-in-law to this community. They plan to retire at the lake, so this is not a short-term commitment for them. He is speaking on behalf of homeowners in that area. He brought his son out of athletics from Overland Park to do his athletics here because they like to spend time at the lake. Those lots are not straight lots. They are not interested in having mobile homes or other movable type homes there. He doesn’t want to see storage placed on this lot. They would like to see it kept natural. That keeps it appealing to them. His point is that their current proposal to keep it as one unit is the right proposal. There are a lot of things that could happen if it was split up.

Kevin asked about a proposal to leave it alone and not sell it.

Vince said that he would be all for that.

Kevin said that our county has no restrictions in place. He said that our sewer system has room for 30 more hook-ups. He thinks it needs to be looked at further also before moving forward on it.

Vince said that once more and more people are put on the lake, it isn’t sufficient to hold more boats and stuff. When a lot of the lakes were closed earlier in the season, a lot of people found Lake Fort Scott. They keep coming back because of the niceness of it. He said that he and his wife have both been working from home at the Lake and he knows of several others that have also been working from home.

Kevin said that the City owns a lot of property at the Lake and there are some other options we could look at. We could have nice camping spots and shelters. Those would bring good money. He said that we need to sit back and rethink this.

Deb McCoy – Deb said that she was going to pass on speaking this evening.

Ralph Carlson – Mr. Carlson notified the City Clerk that he did not wish to speak this evening.

Schery Rupprecht – 500 block of Andrick – City Manager said that she will not be here tonight. There will be an update on Andrick Street later in the agenda.

Michael Hoyt – Mr. Hoyt said that he wanted to bring them up to date on a few of the issues that they talked about last time. The recall petition efforts for finding sufficiency for the position has been moved to an out of town, out of area law firm because of blatant obstruction by the City Manager of the City of Fort Scott. That will be dealt with later. Also he has requested through K.O.R.A. a couple of documents that were mentioned in the packet last time and Mr. Deane has chosen to invoke the attorney-client privilege, but he failed to recognize, and he’s here to give them free legal advice, that there is a crime fraud exemption to the attorney-client privilege. If he’s trying to cover up a crime or fraud, and he said he would further and say retaliation, that’s not legal. He said that each one of them as a Commissioner should be aware that he’s sheltering these documents, and unless he’s sheltering these documents from all of you, such as Mr. Nichols has a document that is in question, and Ms. Watts has a document that is in question, if he’s not sharing it with you, then he’s acting as their personal attorney. That is not legal. You might want to ask to see those documents. He said that he was also going to ask that those documents be secure, sequestered, and maintained separately from other documents in the City, so that when we get to a litigation forum we know where to go. He handed Jeff Deane, Dave Martin, and JoLynne Mitchell each an envelope with a written response and told the City Attorney that he didn’t have COVID so they didn’t have to worry about touching them.

City Manager asked Mr. Hoyt to clarify to our attorney what he was supposed to have done.

Mr. Hoyt said that this is his five minutes and if he wanted to talk about it, he could talk about it later.

Mr. Hoyt said moving on. Madam Mayor, there was a Facebook conversation that Mr. Jones is very well aware of and so is the Facebook legal department, conduct way unbecoming to a Mayor. He said he was giving her the opportunity to resign her position as Mayor before it becomes public because it is going to become very public. He said we’re going to discuss how you can praise hate speech, liable slander, and she praises that? He doesn’t even know the people that were contributing…

Mayor Mitchell interrupted him and said that he wasn’t in any position to question…

Mr. Hoyt said that this is his five minutes and if she wanted…

Mayor Mitchell told him to finish it up.

Jeff Deane said that he is correct, and this is his five minutes. Let’s just give him an opportunity to hang himself.

Mr. Hoyt said if she wanted to respond to it, fine. If she thinks he is out of line, fine. Sue him.

Jeff Deane thanked him for the legal advice.

Kevin asked if there were any documents that they need to see that he is speaking about.

Jeff said that the documents that he has asked for in question are covered by attorney-client privilege and you are entitled to see them. They are emails back and forth between Commissioners to him requesting legal advice. He said that he doesn’t have them with him tonight but he can get them to them for a meeting and we can have a closed session to discuss those. He is asking for anything similar to when anyone on the Commission corresponds back and forth to look into a legal matter.

Kevin asked if there was specific emails he is referring to.

Jeff said yes. He picked a couple of them off of the bill. He doesn’t know which ones in particular but there is a K.O.R.A. request for them. He asserted the attorney-client privilege because all communication is strictly prohibited from disclosure under K.O.R.A. We also have a second attorney’s opinion on this, and he asked him to reconsider it. He decided to see if there was any merit to his request, and the second attorney said he was entirely wrong also.

Kevin asked that they be given those documents so they can see them.

Jeff said he would.

City Manager said that those documents would be confidential.

  1. PUBLIC HEARINGS: None

CONSIDERATION:

  1. Consideration of Resolution 13-2020 – Coronavirus Relief Funds – SPARKS Grant – Susan Bancroft, Director of Finance, informed the Commission that Bourbon County recently notified them that there was money coming to the City for COVID relief. It has been called SPARKS funding. She was asked to sit on this committee. One of the items needed to access those funds is to approve Coronavirus Relief Fund Resolution No. 13-2020. She asked approval for this resolution.

Dave said that Susan is the City’s representative on this committee.

Randy Nichols asked if the City was asking for a certain amount to be reimbursed for.

Susan said no. The first round is for reimbursement, so the City has been gathering all our expenses since March 1st, 2020. The second round is for programming that we may have through December 31st that is COVID related.

Nichols moved to approve Resolution 13-2020 – City Coronavirus Relief Fund. Watts seconded. All voted aye.

APPROVED RESOLUTION NO. 13-2020 – CITY CORONAVIRUS RELIEF FUND.

  1. Approval to sell three Police seizure vehicles through Lance Anderson Auction Company – Travis Shelton, Chief of Police, informed the Commission that the City was awarded three vehicles through the Court system that were seized vehicles. These vehicles are a 1995 Honda Accord, 2005 Mazda 6, and a 2008 Hyundai Sonata. The seizure money that is raised will go into a special unbudgeted fund, and these funds are used for the drug dog, etc.

Kevin asked if any of these cars could be used as an unmarked vehicle.

Travis said that these vehicles need to be sold. The mileage is pretty high on the vehicles. There is foul language on the inside of one of the vehicles. These vehicles would be sold through Lance Anderson Auction Company online.

Lance Anderson, auctioneer, said he would do this online auction with a 10% buyer’s fee.

K. Allen moved to approve to sell these three vehicles through Lance Anderson Auction Company online. L. Watts seconded. All voted aye.

APPROVED TO SELL THESE THREE VEHICLES THROUGH LANCE ANDERSON AUCTION COMPANY ONLINE.

  1. Approval to sell miscellaneous firearms through sealed bid process to Federal Firearms Licensed Dealers – Travis Shelton, Chief of Police, informed the Commission that this is similar to the request above. The City has twelve (12) miscellaneous firearms that were recently awarded to the Fort Scott Police Department. These were acquired through drug seizures or through people who were not able to have a gun. Some may have been from family members who have turned a gun into the Police Department that they did not want. These can be sold per K.S.A. 21-6307. He asked to sell these firearms. There are some local firearms dealers who have expressed interest. He wants to sell the entire lot of the firearms and have a sealed bid received.

City Manager said that Lance Anderson does not handle the auctioning of firearms.

Kevin asked Lance how the best way to sell these is.

Lance said that he doesn’t want to get into selling firearms.

Travis said, per Kansas Statute, they have to be sold to a Federal Firearms Licensed Dealer. In the past, we have destroyed the guns. They thought that was a waste, so decided to try to sell these for revenue.

Kevin said that he wanted to verify that their credentials will be checked.

Travis said yes.

L. Watts made a motion to sell these twelve (12) miscellaneous firearms through the Federal Firearms Licensed Dealers. K. Allen seconded. K. Allen, P. Allen, L. Watts and J. Mitchell voted aye. R. Nichols voted no. Motion carried 4-1.

APPROVED TO SELL TWELVE (12) MISCELLANEOUS FIREARMS THROUGH THE FEDERAL FIREARMS LICENSED DEALERS THROUGH SEALED BIDS.

  1. Consideration of US Cellular Ground Lease and for Mayor to sign all pertinent documents – Allyson Turvey, Tourism and Community Development Manager, handed out more information to the Commission on this item. Ally said that this is the first step to make this cell phone tower possible. U.S. Cellular has been working on this project for a couple of years now. It was originally asked to be at Skubitz Plaza, but now they are looking at the City parking lot south of Cheney Witt Funeral Home. They are requesting a ground lease for this space. It is a 1400 square foot plot right at the corner of 3rd and Main Street in the parking lot. This would amount to four parking spots that would be taken up. The site plans show that it will not disrupt any traffic flow in or out of this parking lot. This is a cell tower, but it looks like a flag pole. As part of the specifications, the only thing that can come off of the tower is an American flag. It is an 80’ flagpole that will have basically the cell tower that beams up against the pole itself. You will not be able to tell a cell tower is there. At the bottom is equipment that will need to be put in. It will be surrounded by an 8’ brick wall. To get entry into the tower, they will put two large wrought iron fences. They have looked at our historic downtown and are trying to make it fit into the architecture of the downtown area. This starts with an option lease and that could last up to 18 months. That gives U.S. Cellular their permission to come onto the property and do testing and make sure it is a feasible project for them. During this time frame, they will have to go through zoning, and through the Design Review Board. If approved, the zoning process will be started. This will include the notifying of property owners within a 200’ radius that a Planning Commission meeting will be held to discuss this tower. The Planning Commission could either approve or deny this request. This would then come back to the City Commission for final approval. It would also then go before the Design Review Board for their approval which also comes back before the City Commission for final approval. This is a long process and could take several months to complete. This is the first step in the process. She asked for permission for the Mayor to sign this lease agreement.

City Manager said that this is the first step in this process.

Ally said that there are some positives in this project such as connectivity. This will assist in that. This will also bring in some revenue which will be $750.00 per month which we aren’t receiving now. If approved to be looked at, they will pay the City $500.00 to look at the feasibility of this project.

Mayor Mitchell asked if Cheney Witt has been contacted regarding this project.

Ally said her plan was to visit with them next week about it. They wanted the City Commission’s approval first. She said that the flag that would be put there would be a large flag visible from the highway.

Pete said that this is in the historic district and asked if she realized that.

Ally said that it has to go before the Design Review Board for their recommendation.

Kevin said that he would like to see the revenue from this be put in the Parks budget.

Pete said that there are 20’ access utility easements that will be tied up from Cheney Witt and in front of all those lots.

Ally said that there is an easement that will run between the two rows of parking spaces. They will not affect Cheney Witt parking spaces. In order for them to get into the flag pole, they have to be given an easement to get there.

Lindsey said that that easement in the drawing is a proposed easement.

Pete said that he don’t see how this could fit into historic Fort Scott. He asked if other locations had been looked at.

Ally said that they wanted the downtown area.

Randy asked who would maintain the flag.

Ally said that they will be responsible for the flag.

Randy asked about the contract and this is just an 18 month lease contract.

Ally said that after all the processes have been approved, they will notify us they want to enter into a five year lease agreement.

K. Allen moved to approve the U.S. Cellular Ground Lease for the corner of 3rd and Main Street. L. Watts seconded. K. Allen, R. Nichols, L. Watts, and J. Mitchell voted aye. P. Allen voted no. Motion carried 4-1.

APPROVED THE U. S. CELLULAR GROUND LEASE 18 MONTH CONTRACT FOR THE CORNER OF 3RD AND MAIN STREET.

COMMISSION/STAFF:

  1. Director Updates:

Susan Bancroft – Budget Update – Susan said she didn’t have a budget update this evening but would like to set some budget work sessions. Her suggestion is at least two work sessions – one to review everything and then the next week make any recommended changes. She asked for a budget work session on Thursday, July 23rd, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. and Tuesday, July 28th, 2020 at 5:00 p.m.

Allyson Turvey – CDBG-CV Grant Update – Ally said she had planned to give them an update on the CDBG-CV grant process and have a few applications for them to review. Unfortunately, these funds are federal dollars that have moved to the State that have moved to us, and all of the issues have not been worked out on every level. We have received new requirements and guidelines from the State that are delaying this process. She hopes in two weeks she will have grants for the Commission to approve. She sent out another press release that the City is still accepting applications.

Healthy Bourbon County Pathways Grant – Ally said that the City is a recipient of a Healthy Bourbon County Pathways Grant. This grant is for the purpose of purchasing and installing nine water bottle stations in our parks and trails in Bourbon County. There will be three installed into Gunn Park, two into Riverfront Park, one in the walking trail at Fort Scott Community College, one at Elm Creek, one in Uniontown, and one in Bronson in Bourbon County. It is a grant award of $14,969 through Blue Cross and Blue Shield. We have a company that we are purchasing these water filling stations from and another company that will be installing them. Stoughton will be doing the installation.

B. City Commission:

Randy Nichols Remarked that he was glad to see people wearing their masks. He said that even our President today wore a mask. He said he keeps bringing this up every time, but he has noticed that some restaurants here in town are not having their employees wear masks. He is concerned on the health care issue but also the economic development issue. It is our public responsibility and a patriotic act to wear a mask.

Lindsey Watts – Remarked that there were questions brought up at the last meeting regarding our attorney’s compensation. She did some research as well as with the League of Kansas Municipalities. The compensation paragraph as a whole reads, “The compensation of the City and the attorney in those cities where the City Attorney is not a full time position, the City Attorney is usually retained on an annual or a monthly salary appropriate to their duties required. Additional payment is to be made for the services considered beyond the City Attorney’s normal duties such as litigation and out of City services”. After speaking today with the League and one of their attorney’s, the League understands and said that about half of the cities in Kansas follow the hourly pay scale as we do, or the annual or monthly salary, we are well within our rights as a City. There is no illegal activity whatsoever. They stated that a billable hour contract such as ours is a standard type of contract for legal services and is not improper in any way.

Her next item was that there has been a lot of talk in the community and a lot of talk on Facebook with issues that we have with our City Attorney’s bills. They have started dictating out what they are billing for and unfortunately now is causing another issue that could cause the City more dollars.

Jeff said that the time we spend reviewing our bill to you was at no charge.

Lindsey said she was referring to the breakdown of the bill. It was brought up during the citizen comments tonight that there are emails that was dictated in your bill that is now potentially causing the City more fees with our City Attorney through a K.O.R.A. request.

Jeff said that there is a balance that they have to walk the line between putting enough information in the billing entry which is a public document to let everyone know what is being done and paid for without violating the attorney-client relationship and the individual City representatives so it’s a balance. Every entry he writes he thinks about.

Lindsey thanked him for the work he has done.

Kevin said that he appreciates the itemized statement. He itemizes his statements to his customers also to let them know what they paid for.

Jeff said that he is happy to discuss any billing issues with anyone within the City.

Lindsey said her last item is that in regard to breaking down the City Attorney’s bills, what we are looking at that the citizens have been talking about on social media is that they feel our fees are very high. If you break them down and look at them from December through the month of June, we are spending in our legal counsel’s eyes about 34% of our total budget. These are for issues that are not compliant with a City’s daily duties, so that would fall under K.O.R.A. and K.O.M.A. requests, litigation, and other issues we may have. She spoke with Staff and broke down the bills more, and other issues and our real budget we have spent about 68% on issues that would have been spent in the legal department. We are turned into the Attorney General’s office and any litigation falls back to the City Attorney for him to represent us.

Jeff said that he keeps time in separate groups such as K.O.R.A. requests, litigation, etc. There are things that are not usual but there are things aren’t anticipated. So far all of the violations turned into the Attorney General’s office have all been successful for the City and had no follow-up violations so far. They ask for a lot of information and follow-up documentation.

Jeff said that last month’s bill was 64% of the things that we can’t control.

City Manager said that we are budgeting $200,000 next year for legal fees.

Pete AllenHe asked for the report from Commissioner Nichols on the Bedco meeting that was last held.

Randy said that he came prepared last night, but you weren’t able to finish the meeting. He said that some background on this is that in the fall of 2018, a group went to Wyandotte County to discuss combined City/County government. They apparently have morphed away from that mandate and are now calling themselves a Shared Services Committee. They are certainly a group of active concerned qualified people. There’s just a difference redesigning County/City government and making shared services recommendations in terms of personnel or utilization of resources that this Shared Services Committee brought to Bedco. Another request they brought before the group was a request for a resolution that stated that a resolve of the cities of Bourbon County enter into negotiations for an inter-jurisdictional agreement to provide economic development services for the citizens of Bourbon County and further the task to create a first draft an arrangement is assigned to the Shared Services Committee under the leadership of Mark McCoy. So, the terms that they approached them was the non-binding resolution that was passed by Bedco. Mark and other people on the committee are working on this so there’s really no actionable information at this point. There was no real process, no governance and the only financial portion they brought up or discussed at the meeting was not a cost or efficiency savings for either the County or the City as it is going to cost both of them as much as we are both currently spending. He said that we need to be aware of the circumstances that we are in. The City has had a long history of an Economic Development Director which has been successful for us and continues to be successful. Most of the economic development falls within the City and even if it were given to an outside new bureaucratic structure, it’s still going to have to come back to us to do. That’s part of the history, but another part is consideration of duplication of services. He asked them to remember that we had an economic development person, and there was an offer made to assist the County at quite a bit less than they’re currently spending, but the County decided to hire a part time person. He is starting about processes and not individuals or people. The County decided to add a part time person and then a year later advanced that person to a full time person with their vision that the area needed two economic development entities and structures. We need to keep that in mind and understand where the duplication of processes came from. The Bedco board agreed to the resolution and that’s where they are.

City Manager said that we have done a great job at economic development. He said that he offered to Lynne Oharah and Justin Meeks about partnering with the City and giving us some money so we could have economic development, community development, and tourism. Then their decision was to start with part time. The cost for economic development has not come from the City. He doesn’t understand why now they are wanting to have the one person, where we’ve always had the one person in that department. It would be beneficial if they wanted to give us some money to run that and work with them. The City has always offered to help the County and partner with them on economic development.

Randy said that there are no rules, no definitions, and no real guidance on an update on this item. Each city in Bourbon County and each Commissioner would have to decide what they were going to do within their own structure to accept or not accept this move.

Pete asked if this was still in discussion?

Randy said yes it is still in discussion. He has talked with Mark McCoy and there have been other discussions with COVID and the SPARKS grant and other processes. He has no time frame.

Pete thanked him for his response.

Kevin Allen

Discussion of Sunday Liquor sales – Kevin said that this was mentioned at the last meeting and the history of this same subject from 15 years ago. He said that he feels that we miss out on tax revenue and it hurts local businesses. The City couldn’t sell alcohol on July 4th and it would be nice to keep the revenue in town. He said to get the process started and it passes, it not necessarily passes that we sell alcohol on Sundays and holidays, except for Easter, but it goes to a 30 or 60 day period, where a protest petition can be filed. He asked the City Attorney for clarification.

Josh Jones said that Newton County had passed this. People can get a protest petition started and get 5% of the signatures from the last election and then it would go to a ballot vote. If not, then after so many days, it would be approved.

City Manager said he would work on this with the City Attorney and bring something back before them.

Randy asked if numbers can be put together to bring that back before them also.

Staff was given direction to bring this Ordinance back before the Commission at the next meeting.

Old R & R building – Kevin asked about an update on the old R & R building and where we are at on that. Scott Johnson is the owner and he has been talking to him. Scott knows that he is in over his head. There is another gentleman interested in saving the façade. He will have a sitting area behind the façade. Scott has agreed to sell this building to him. Steve Mason is the other interested party. He is excited to save this building and that someone is interested in it. He asked Dave to work with Steve and Scott on this building to save it.

City Manager said that he has been trying to convince Scott that the City needs to see movement on the building and get it stabilized.

Codes – Demolitions – Kevin said that he has had people come and ask him about demolition of houses. He would like to work with the County on that and get the dump fees offset to assist with the fees. He asked what the budget is.

Susan said that the budget is $60,000 but it has been put on hold until the budget has stabilized. She mentioned that we have kept the pool open and generated about $8,000 but it will probably cost us about $80,000 to open the pool. Where you normally have a deficit of 50%, it’s about 90%. We’ve made cuts in other areas to allow quality of life projects.

Kevin asked what we will lose at the golf course this year.

Susan said about $130,000 and that’s budgeted this year. There are losses in a lot of areas this year.

Street Repairs – Kevin asked for an update on Andrick Street.

City Manager said that the concrete work should be finished by the end of this week and the Street Department will go in next week and finish the grade, and check for final compaction. The following week, if Bourbon County is ready, the asphalt will be laid. Paving should be done in August.

JoLynne said she thought that July 1st was the deadline.

Kevin said that we are waiting on the curb and gutter to finish.

City Hall Whistle – Kevin asked where we are at on the whistle at City Hall.

Street Signs – Kevin would like the street signs straightened at City Hall also.

City Manager said he would get it taken care of.

Executive SessionK.S.A. 75-4319(b)(1) – to discuss matters of non-elected personnel

Jeff asked that the City Commission recess into Executive Session. The subject matter of the recess is the discussion of non-elected personnel as requested by Commissioner Kevin Allen. The statutory justification for the recess is K.S.A. 75-4319(b)(1) – discussion of non-elected personnel. The subject matter is a Facebook post. The executive session will be for 10 minutes and include the City Commission, City Manager, City Attorney, and Chief of Police. The open meeting will resume at 8:35 p.m.

K. Allen moved to go into Executive Session. L. Watts seconded. All voted aye. Motion carried.

Recessed into Executive Session at 8:25 p.m.

R. Nichols moved to return to open meeting at 8:35 p.m. L. Watts seconded. All voted aye.

Resumed open meeting at 8:54 p.m.

JoLynne Mitchell Nothing to report.

C. City Attorney: Consideration of adoption of Code of Ethics – Ordinance No. 3563 – Jeff said that the ordinance adopting the Code of Ethics. This ordinance will replace Chapter 2.256 of Title 2 of the Fort Scott Municipal Code Book regarding a code of ethics.

R. Nichols moved to approve the adoption of Ordinance No. 3563 – the Code of Ethics. J. Mitchell seconded. R. Nichols, L. Watts, and J. Mitchell voted aye. K. Allen and P. Allen voted no. Motion carried 3-2.

APPROVED ORDINANCE NO. 3563 FOR THE PURPOSE OF REPEALING AND REPLACING CHAPTER 2.56 OF TITLE 2 OF THE CITY CODE OF THE CITY OF FORT SCOTT, KANSAS AS IT REGARDS A CODE OF ETHICS APPLICABLE TO CITY PERSONNEL.

Jeff introduced Sarah Carnes as a new attorney in their law firm. She has a lot of experience with City government.

D. City Manager:

  1. Lake Fort Scott property auction – Dave said that this property at the Lake is scheduled to be auctioned off on August 15th, 2020. City staff needs direction from the Commission to proceed further or not. Dave said that we would be out about $300 – $400 on advertising that would need paid for.

JoLynne said that she visited with Lance today on this property and other options available.

Lance Anderson said he has heard from both sides – people who want to keep the acreage together and people who want to separate it. He said that the City has three options: 1) You can go forward and auction the 17 acres on August 15th; 2) You can decide to get it platted into smaller lots as historically smaller lots bring more money; and 3) You can do both. You can get it platted. AG Engineering did the original surveying of the property and he talked to them and they are willing to start the plat process. You can sell it separately or in total. If you separate into eight (8) lots, you sell tract one (1) and then hold that bid. You move to the next lot and so forth. All of that is added up, and then you put it together, and then sell as a total lot. You have the option to either buy separately or as a total lot.

City Manager asked if this platting and advertising could be accomplished by August 15th.

Lance said no – possibly by Labor Day weekend.

Discussion was held about the bid and the minimum bid.

Lindsey said that she is uncomfortable with the Commission since we took office in January. We seem to be backtracking and questioning our decisions.

Kevin said that he is not uncomfortable with that. The main discussion was the actual auction and not the property.

Randy said that he listened to the Lake Advisory Board meeting. We know that this is an odd shaped land. We know we need this source of revenue. Our obligation is that we don’t own this land. The citizens of this community own this land. He thinks it is time to move forward and doesn’t see why we need to delay this sale.

Lindsey asked how we could restrict the land.

Lance said that deed restrictions could be put on the land.

Kevin said that we are still in control of this property and can control what happens to this property. He thinks this needs to be discussed with the Lake Advisory Board committee first.

Discussion was held about how much property the City owns at the Lake.

Kevin suggested a joint meeting be set up with the Lake Advisory Board committee, citizens, lake residents, and the City Commission and hear their views.

Randy said that there are different groups wanting different things. Is meeting with these groups going to give us any different views? He doesn’t know that it will change.

Lindsey doesn’t know if the whole Commission needs to meet with the Lake Advisory Board since we have a liaison on this board.

Kevin Allen made a motion to table the sale of the property at Lake Fort Scott until a meeting can be made with the Lake Advisory Board committee, the public and the City Commission. Pete Allen seconded. All voted aye.

approved to table the sale of the property at Lake Fort Scott until a meeting can be made with the Lake Advisory Board committee, the public and the city commission.

City Manager informed Lance Anderson to postpone the sale of the Lake property at this time.

ADJOURNMENT:

L. Watts moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:39 p.m. R. Nichols seconded. All voted aye.

ADJOURNED MEETING AT 8:39 P.M.

The next regularly scheduled meeting is to be held on August 4th, 2020 at 6:00 p.m.

TRANSCRIBED BY:

DIANE K. CLAY

CITY CLERK

Obituary of Forestine Hoover

Forestine Rosetta Hoover, 90, of Fort Scott, passed away early Friday morning, July 31, 2020, at the Medicalodge Nursing Home.

She was born December 4,1929, in Devon, Kansas, the daughter of Charles Frederick and Gladys Ida (Huss) Miller. She married Eldon Hoover August 5, 1951, in Fort Scott, and he preceded her in death March 5, 2003.

Forestine was a Registered Nurse and worked for Mercy Hospital early in her career, but most people will remember her as Dr. Pratt Irby’s nurse at Newman Young Clinic and then later for Dr. Dean Gettler.

She was a member of the First Southern Baptist Church, and Gideons International.

Forestine is survived by her children, Denise Arlene Imel and husband Chuck, of Tampa, Florida, Teresa Lee Maki and husband John, of Alma, Missouri, Linda Rose Prior and husband Ian, of Tampa, Florida, Sandra Lynn Fagan and husband Ed, of Honolulu, Hawaii, and James Eldon Hoover, of Joplin, Missouri; a brother, Arthur Calvin Miller, of Higginsville, Missouri; a sister, Esther Alpha Anderson, of Tuttle, Oklahoma; fourteen grandchildren, twenty-seven great-grandchildren, three great-great-grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews.

In addition to her husband Eldon, she was also preceded in death by her parents, an infant daughter, Cheryl Ann Hoover, a grandson, Gabriel Thayer Hoover, and three brothers, Delbert, Louis, and Joe Hoover.

Funeral services will be at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, August 4, 2020, at the Konantz-Cheney Funeral Home, followed by burial at the Fort Scott National Cemetery at 1:30 p.m.

Memorial contributions may be made to the First Southern Baptist Church and left in the care of the Konantz-Cheney Funeral Home, 15 W. Wall Street, P.O. Box 309, Fort Scott, Kansas, 66701. Condolences may be submitted to the online guestbook at konantz-cheney.com.

Kansas Health Champion Nominations Sought

Nominations Now Being Accepted for Kansas Health Champion Awards

Exceptional efforts to promote health and fitness in Kansas to be recognized

TOPEKA – The Governor’s Council on Fitness is now accepting nominations for its annual Kansas Health Champion Awards. Awards are given to individuals and organizations that make an exceptional effort to model, encourage and promote health and fitness in Kansas. The deadline for nominations is September 30. Award recipients will be recognized at the Community Health Promotion Summit in January 2021.

“The Kansas Department of Health and Environment is excited to partner in this important initiative to recognize those who make healthy living in our state a priority,” Dr. Lee Norman, KDHE Secretary, said. “It’s important that we recognize their efforts and the difference they are making in their communities.”

Nominees should demonstrate:

  • Work that goes above and beyond what is expected to model, encourage and promote fitness
  • Work that helps overcome health inequities
  • Sustainable influence or activity
  • Far-reaching health impact

“In addition to promoting effective models for increasing physical activity, nutrition and tobacco-free living for replication by organizations and communities around the state, the awards also allow us the opportunity to honor the outstanding work of one individual and one organization this year,” Candice McField, Governors Council on Fitness Awards Committee Chair, said. “Eligible nominees might include an outstanding volunteer, a school, a local community, a newspaper or individual reporter, a local or State policy maker or an employer, among others.”

To see past winners and get more information, visit getactivekansas.org and to submit a nomination you must complete the online form at www.surveymonkey.com/r/2021KSHealthChamp. All other questions about the nomination process, contact Connie Satzler, 785-410-0410.

The Governor’s Council on Fitness advises the Governor and others on ways to enhance the health of all Kansans through promotion of physical activity, good dietary choices and prevention of tobacco use.

Beacon Clients: Shoe Voucher Available Starting Monday

The Shoe Voucher Sign-up will begin On Monday, August 3 to August 28, 2020 for students in Grades K-12.

 

The voucher must be used at Fort Scott Wal-Mart.

This Voucher will expire on September 8th,2020. Voucher may be used for any pair of shoes (not flip flops) and can be used for underwear and sock, up to $20.

You must present voucher to the service desk with items.

This is for all Beacon Clients.

Thank you to Community Christian Church for the vouchers and to The Fort Scott Elks for each mask that will be included with the vouchers.

PLEASE CALL INTO THE BEACON TO RESERVE YOUR VOUCHER, 620-223-6869.

Animal Virus Confirmed in Bourbon County

KDA Update on Vesicular Stomatitis Virus 7-31-2020

 

MANHATTAN, Kansas — Updated situation report on the ongoing outbreak of Vesicular Stomatitis Virus (VSV) in Kansas:

  • Total premises which have tested positive for VSV in Kansas: 97
  • Premises currently under quarantine: 51
  • Premises that have been released from quarantine: 157
  • Total counties in Kansas that have had positive cases of VSV: 24
  • Counties: Allen, Bourbon, Butler, Chase, Cherokee, Coffey, Cowley, Crawford, Elk, Franklin, Greenwood, Labette, Linn, Lyon, Marion, Miami, Montgomery, Morris, Neosho, Riley, Sedgwick, Sumner, Wilson and Woodson counties.

 

KDA’s Division of Animal Health continues to respond to the outbreak that began in south central Kansas in mid-June and has now expanded its reach to the north and east. In addition, KDA is awaiting laboratory results from symptomatic animals in other counties as the outbreak continues to spread. All premises with confirmed cases of VSV in horses and cattle have been quarantined; in addition, any premises with animals showing clinical signs consistent with VSV are placed on quarantine. A quarantine for VSV lasts for at least 14 days from the onset of symptoms in the last animal on the premises. Quarantines are not lifted until a veterinarian has examined all susceptible animals on the premises.

 

What is VSV:

VSV is a viral disease which primarily affects horses, but can also affect cattle, sheep, goats, swine, llamas and alpacas. At this time, the vast majority of confirmed cases of VSV in Kansas have been horses, although some cattle have also been diagnosed. KDA has advised the beef industry to be vigilant in monitoring their cattle for symptoms.

 

In horses, VSV is typically characterized by lesions which appear as crusting scabs on the muzzle, lips, ears, coronary bands, or ventral abdomen. Other clinical signs of the disease include fever and the formation of blister-like lesions in the mouth and on the dental pad, tongue, lips, nostrils, ears, hooves and teats. Infected animals may refuse to eat and drink, which can lead to weight loss. Vesicular stomatitis can be painful for infected animals and costly to their owners. Although it is rare, humans can also become infected with the disease when handling affected animals and can develop flu-like symptoms. VSV is considered a reportable disease in Kansas. If you observe clinical signs among your animals, contact your veterinarian right away. Accredited veterinarians across Kansas have played a critical role by reporting and responding to animals affected by VSV.

 

Disease prevention:

The primary way the virus is transmitted is from biting insects like black flies, sand flies and midges. Owners should institute robust measures to reduce flies and other insects where animals are housed. VSV can also be spread by nose-to-nose contact between animals. The virus itself usually runs its course in five to seven days, and it can take up to an additional seven days for the infected animal to recover from the symptoms. There are no approved vaccines for VSV.

 

KDA has developed guidelines to assist organizations which are hosting shows and fairs across the state, and have worked with many of them to consider how they can protect the health and safety of animals attending their events.

 

VSV in the U.S.:

VSV has also been confirmed in Arizona, Arkansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. Because of the confirmed cases in Kansas, other states and Canada are likely to increase restrictions on livestock imports. Animal health officials strongly encourage all livestock owners and veterinarians to call the animal health authority in the destination location for the most current import requirements prior to travel.

 

More information:

Information about VSV can be found by contacting the KDA Division of Animal Health at 785-564-6601 or on the KDA website at www.agriculture.ks.gov/VSV, with info about:

  • Documents describing symptoms of VSV
  • Recommendations for fly control practices
  • Guidelines for shows and fairs
  • Informational webinars about VSV
  • Current state and national situation reports

 

Candidates Meet Public July 28

A candidate meet-and-greet event was organized for citizens to meet some candidates for the upcoming election.

The event was held on July 28 at The Boiler Room Brewhaus, at the corner of National Avenue and Wall Street in downtown Fort Scott.

Bob Hamilton, candidate for  US Senate; Clifton Beth, candidate for Bourbon County Commission District 3,  and Jim Harris, District 2 County Commissioner candidate met with the public.

Approximately 25 attended, according to Josh Jones, who submitted the photo and information.

From left to right are  Bob Hamilton, Josh Jones, Gil Beerbower, and Jim Harris.

 

 

American Legion Post 25 Scuttlebutt

Bourbon County Voting

Advance voting at the Bourbon County Courthouse, 210 S. National Avenue continues until noon, August 3.

The hours of the county clerk’s office are 8:30 a.m.-4:30 pm.  There is a plexiglass barrier between the voter and poll worker and employees are sanitizing after each voter, Bourbon County Clerk Kendell Mason said.

“Masks are not required, but we strongly encourage people to wear them to help keep everyone safe,” Mason said.” Masks and hand sanitizer will be available at all polling places.”

For more information on voting or to check your voting location, go to http://www.bourboncountyks.org/county-clerk-election/

Membership

The 2021 membership cards have arrived.  Any member desiring to pay their 2021 dues can pay them at our meeting on Monday or go online to www.legion.org and follow the prompts to renew. Dues are still $40 per year.

Members have also received renewal notifications in the mail. You can also mail in your renewals as well.

Upcoming Events

 

July 31 – August 2. Department Convention at the Ramada Hotel. The Department Convention is open to all Legionnaires. More information on the Department Convention can be found at https://ksamlegion.org/

August 3. American Legion Post 25 general membership meeting at 7 pm in Memorial Hall. Our regular Post meet and greet starts at 6:30 pm.  Sons of the American Legion (SONS) Squadron 25 members also meet concurrently with the American Legion.

August 4. Primary voting in Bourbon County.

August 13. American Legion Auxiliary Unit 25 meets at 600 pm in Memorial Hall.

August 13.  American Legion Post 25 Color Guard meets at 730 pm in Memorial Hall. All Post 25 Legion family members are invited to join the Post 25 Color Guard. This includes Auxiliary and Sons of the American Legion Squadron members.

Do not hesitate to contact me or any Officer with any suggestions to improve Fort Scott American Legion Post 25.

Carl Jowers. Post 25 Commander.

620-215-1688/carljowers@gmail.com