August 7, 2020 Friday 9:00 am
The Bourbon County Commission met in open session with all three Commissioners the County Clerk and the County Counselor present.
Also present were the following; (some were present for a portion of the meeting, some were present for the entire meeting), Jim Harris, Michael Hoyt, Hazel Swarts, Anne Dare, Lora Holdridge and Angel Wilson.
The Commissioners held a 2021 budget work session to discuss the 2nd draft of the 2021 budget; the cost of employee benefits was discussed, Lynne said those costs continue to go up.
Lynne said that they need to add $45,033 to the Road & Bridge 2021 budget to help cover the cost of equipment payments and the Juvenile Detention budget needed to be increased to cover the monthly expenses.
Jeff said the money from the medical mall and the money from the PILOT payment had not been budgeted for; Lynne said Terry Sercer said the County shouldn’t count that money until we had the money in hand, he said we didn’t need the budget authority yet, but if we got the money a budget amendment would need to be done.
Jeff questioned if the money budgeted in the contingency fund was necessary since there was a high probability of the County getting the PILOT money, and that money possibly could be used for the contingency fund. Lynne said the County recently spent money out of the contingency fund for the porch and the air conditioner, he said we need money budgeted in the contingency fund, he said having money available in the contingency fund could fund expenses without having to finance and pay financing fees.
Lynne questioned what percentage of money the County should budget for the medical mall, Jeff said he didn’t know a percentage yet. Lynne said the County should receive $407,000 the first year and $365,000 the second year for PILOT money and if the County takes the hospital the County will receive $1,000,000. Lynne said there is a high probability the County will take over the hospital for a medical mall if they get the two large leases signed; Jeff said the County might be able to get out of the medical mall, but he didn’t think that was in the best interest of the community. Michael Hoyt stated that the PILOT and medical mall money should be reported on the budget for transparency reasons. Kendell Mason suggested putting the PILOT money and the medical mall reimbursement money into a separate fund on its own, so that if the County doesn’t get the money the general fund wouldn’t be short on revenue.
Jeff discussed the wind farm; he said pre and post inspection engineering should be done (at a cost of approximately $50,000) to assess the roads, he said Neosho County is missing the pre-inspection report for the wind farm there and is having a difficult time assessing the roads prior to the project.
Justin Meeks said an additional $60,000-$70,000 should be budgeted for EMS purposes.
Lynne asked that Kendell ask Terry Sercer to set up a separate account for the $407,000 PILOT revenue and expenses and a separate account for the $1 million for revenue and $382,000 expenses for the medical mall (it was questioned if the SPARK grant money could be used for the EMS expense; Justin thought that Dave Bruner was applying for the SPARK for the EMS. Jeff questioned if the $40,000 requested for a transport vehicle by the Correctional Center could be paid for through the SPARK grant or could the $40,000 transport vehicle be paid for though the jail sales tax fund; Justin said that decision couldn’t be made yet, since they don’t know how much SPARK money had been asked for yet.
Jeff provided a summary comparison of like counties population, valuation, budget and mill levies; he said counties need an effective tax rate of less than 5%, he said Bourbon County is at 4.97%. He compared the expense for Road & Bridge salaries to other counties; he said Bourbon County is lower than the average. He said that Bourbon County employee benefits are $1.7 million more than the compared counties; he said they needed to look at those expenses to see where Bourbon County is off from the average. Lora Holdridge stated that some of the expenses in the employee benefit fund are required expenses such as work comp, so they aren’t benefits, Michael Hoyt stated that the County has to pay those expenses because you are an employee, Lora said the benefits keep some of the employees here. Lynne questioned if other counties were budgeting employee benefits under the individual departments and not in the employee benefit fund. Jeff questioned if there had been some items budgeted for in prior years, (example vehicle, equipment) that has been continued to be budgeted for each year. Lynne said they like to look at the budget requests and compare to the 2020 budget to see where they need to trim expenses.
Lora Holdridge gave the Commissioners a revised 2021 budget with a grand total of $80,723.
Lynne said they needed the Road & Bridge 1% sales tax on ballot. Road & Bridge moves employees from their main jobs to help out in other areas and when they do that their main jobs suffer. Jeff said they needed to get Bourbon County’s costs in line with the compared counties.
Hazel Swarts questioned where the revenue from the COPS grant was reflected in the budget; Lynne said it wasn’t in the budget, but said the County will have to budget an additional $13,000 for financing an employee for the COPS grant. Hazel said she would like a list of all of the County grants coming into the County and all of the costs for those grants; Lynne said the COPS grant and possibly the Cares grant are the only grants costing the County additional money.
Lynne said the estimated mill levy based on the 2021 draft budget is 67.157. Lynne said the county counselor 2021 budget had gone up due to a different contract proposing the county counselor be paid on a 1099 with no employee benefits except taxes. Hazel Swarts questioned why the County Attorney’s budget had gone up; Lynne said they requested an increase in the County Attorney’s wage. Hazel said her husband was the County Attorney 20 years ago and worked 5 days a week for $35,000 a year with only 1 assistant county attorney; she said the salary has doubled and said the work load is down since her (the current County Attorney) doesn’t work 5 days a week in Bourbon County. Jeff said a municipal court could reduce the County attorney’s workload by 1/3.
Lynne made a motion to amend the agenda to talk with Lora Holdridge regarding the parking area, Jeff seconded and all approved. Lora discussed the holes in the road in the parking area behind the building; Lynne said that Jim Harris was calculating how much it would cost to fix the parking lot, Justin said there is a water leak behind the building that is causing the problems, Lora said the City refuses to fix the water leak. Lynne asked Jim to call Chad at the City to see if they would fix this, Jim said he has but would call them again, Jim said he would look at the north and west side of the parking area.
At 11:39, Lynne made a motion to adjourn for lunch and reconvene at 1:00, Jeff seconded and all approved.
Greenbush representative Mike Bodensteiner met with Jody Hoener and the Commissioners to discuss the $2.9 million SPARK grant; Mike said the application process is open until noon August 8th. He said the State wants to approve reimbursements prior to the County approving the reimbursements. Jody said at a local County level the Commissioners will make the initial eligibility determination meeting the needs of health and economic development. Mike presented a graph with data as of yesterday showing the small business and not for profit applications submitted, he said the bulk of the applications were from Fort Scott. He also presented a graph showing 26 applications as of yesterday for the reimbursement of COVID expenses for purchases made between March and July. Mike said the County could either reimburse the full amount of reimbursements at one time or could break up the reimbursements into payments, he said some businesses may not be able to fund the expenses prior to reimbursement; Jody said she wasn’t an advocate of reimbursements, since the businesses are already struggling financially, Jody said the County could pay the vendor for supplies directly verses having the business buy supplies and then get a reimbursement from the County. They said there may be a phase 2 portion of the SPARK funding; which could equal more money to fund other projects.
Jody Hoener presented a memo of understanding for the Blue Cross Blue Shield Pathways grant; Bourbon County is the administrator of the 4 year grant totaling $200,000 (the money is used for Healthy Bourbon County marketing, office supplies and ¼ of Jody Hoener’s payroll and benefits). Healthy Bourbon County increases access to physical activity, healthy food and helped create tobacco free areas; if used, these could ultimately lower the health insurance costs. Michael Hoyt questioned the Pathways grant giving $5,000 to Five Corners to offer healthier choices and said 90% of their sales is sugary drinks he asked if there was any criteria for them to offer the healthier options; Jody said you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink, she said if there is no water how can they have an option, she said they are not telling people what they have to do, but rather just making options available. Jody said the grant is a privately funded grant, she said it is not tax payer funded. Jeff made a motion to authorize Lynne Oharah to sign the Blue Cross Blue Shield Pathways grant, Nick seconded and all approved and Lynne signed the document.
Nancy Van Etten, Chair of the Fort Scott Lake Advisory Board met with the Commissioners to discuss the sewer district; she said they need a sewer board for the sewer district, she said that board could decide who could join the sewer district. Nancy provided the Commissioners with a formal letter requesting the Commissioners to appoint a Fort Scott lake property owner to the Sewer District #1 board. She said the lake advisory board believes a vested lake property resident/owner is an essential member of the sewer board. She sent a letter to Justin Meeks and Susan Bancroft (City of Fort Scott) asking they wait to get approval on any further changes, deviations or additions to the agreement until the Commissioners decide on Sewer District board and meetings have been formalized. Justin said the County is responsible for the bonds, but the City is responsible for the day-to-day operations and the County can’t move forward with a decision without the City. Nancy discussed a lot that now has a RV on it with someone living there; she said if someone is living there they need to hook up to the sewer. Lynne said the County Counselor is working with the City to resolve the issues, he said the County has no ability to enforce the sewer district. Lynne said the County needed to coordinate and negotiate with the City to see how they want to address the issue. Lynne said that Justin Meeks has been given the authority to meet with the City regarding the sewer district. Nancy said the State says the County Commissioners are the sewer board. She said they want sewer availability for the people that live at the lake that want to hook up to the sewer district. Justin Meeks said he would work with the City regarding the sewer district and will provide updates to the Commissioners.
Richard Clark met with the Commissioners regarding 190th on the west end of Fort Scott lake; he presented pictures and said this area on 190th was replaced approximately 3 years ago and said it is now dangerous in areas due to water getting under the road. Jerad Heckman viewed the pictures and said they could fill the deteriorated edge with larger shot rock. He was also concerned about an area on the south end of the west side of the lake that culverts where installed 3 years ago and now the road is deteriorating there; Jerad said that compaction was done there, but the road did settle, he said the road does get seepage there, Jerad said he would view the areas. Mr. Clark said he was concerned if Indian Road was done he didn’t want the taxpayers to have to pay additional money to re-do the work.
The Commissioners continued to work on the 2021 budget; the Commissioners do not want to raise the mill levy. They said they want to budget to give some salaried employees raises in 2021 and address other employee raises in 2022. The Commissioners looked at each departments 2021 budget; they reduced the grand total of the Commissioners budget to $69,900, reduced the grand total of the County Attorney budget to $334,324 and budgeted $77,747 for the Register of Deeds. The Commissioners plan to continue to work on the budget on August 11th.
All of the Commissioners will be present on August 13th at 10:00 for the 2020 Primary Election Canvass.
At 3:50, Nick made a motion to adjourn, Jeff 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
Approved Date August 11, 2020