Bourbon County Commission Minutes of Jan. 19

January 19, 2021                                            Tuesday 9:00 am


The Bourbon County Commission met in open session with all three Commissioners, the County Counselor and the Deputy County Clerk Doretta Neville 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, Anne Dare, Mark McCoy and Nancy Van Etten.


The Commissioners signed the prior meeting minutes.


Road & Bridge Director Eric Bailey said they treated the roads in the N.E. part of the County on Friday due to inclement weather.


Eric Bailey discussed a bridge at 85Th & Xavier; he said it had prior damage, they cleaned out the channel, filled in the damage and capped the concrete and the bridge is now open.


Eric reported there a several telephone poles at the Landfill; he said some have treated ends and asked the Commissioners to consider selling them.  Jim Harris said to sell them for $15/each, first come-first serve.


Eric said any new road cut permits or culvert permits will be given to the Road & Bridge secretary.


Eric suggested having a work session to discuss the 2021 asphalt program; Jim received permission from the other Commissioners to meet with Eric to review what work had been done over the past 10 years, Lynne suggested scheduling a work session after Jim met with Eric.


Eric said he is gearing up for the bridge and culvert crew and asked the Commissioners about advertising for a supervisor position since he had internal candidates interested in the position.  Jim said to ask the County Counselors opinion, but said the handbook said positions will be advertised in the newspaper; Justin suggested advertising the position.


Eric said they are replacing a guardrail (from a hit and run accident) on 215th, North of Range Road,   he said this road is shut down today for the repairs.


Eric said there was an issue with parts ordered for the crusher, but said the crusher should be running in two weeks.


Eric said they have hired someone to repair the rock that fell off of a header at Elm Creek.


Jim asked the other Commissioners opinion on the County using the side arm mower at the park at the Fort Scott Lake; all of the Commissioners were in agreement to this.


Jody Hoener met with the Commissioners; she suggested that the County use Kansas Works to help fill vacant job positions.


Jody said the County received $132,000 in CDBG grant funds to disperse, she said they have granted out $102,000, she said the County had one year to disperse all of the funds, she said at some point the Commissioners may want to increase the $14,000 parameters previously set.  Clifton made a motion to allow Lynne to sign the request for payments of the CDBG funds, Jim asked if there was any accountability on how the funds were spent, and Jody said yes they have to provide receipts for the grant funds, Jim seconded and all approved.


Jody discussed the NRP program; she said the NRP program includes all of the cities and said the program is an incentive to increase the overall value to help lower property taxes. She said the goal in 2020 was to get 20 new applications, but said they received 29.


Jody said they had a feasibility study done for a multi-use facility; she said there is a possible interested developer which could have a $2 million impact on our community.


Jody said they are working on grants for Bwerc; she said they received a $5,500 anonymous donation to remain in the space.


Lynne made a motion to approve paying the 2021 Chamber of Commerce dues, Clifton seconded and all approved.


Lynne made a motion to approve paying the 2021 NACO dues, Jim seconded and all approved.


Lynne made a motion to approve paying the 2021 Kansas League of Municipalities dues, Clifton seconded and all approved.


Lynne made a motion to approve paying the 2021 KAC dues, Jim seconded and all approved.


Lynne made a motion to approve Resolution 08-21; a resolution approving wage increases for the County Counselor (now a 1099 contract laborer), the Appraiser and the Elm Creek caretaker, Clifton seconded and all approved and signed the resolution.  Jim questioned how much time the caretaker would spend doing windfarm work since he also operates a mower.


Lynne made a motion to approve Resolution 09-21; a resolution certifying the January 5, 2021 election results, Clifton seconded and all approved and signed resolution.


Clifton made a motion to appoint County Commissioner Jim Harris to the Lake Advisory board, Lynne seconded and all approved.


Clifton made a motion to go into a 20 minute executive session for KSA 75-4319(b)(4) to discuss data relating to financial affairs or trade secrets of corporations, partnerships, trusts and individual proprietorships, the subject will be healthcare in Bourbon County, the Commissioners will meet in another location and reconvene in the Commission room at 9:57 am, Jim seconded and all approved, (the session included the Commissioners).  At 9:57, Clifton made a motion to go back into open session and said that no action, Jim seconded and all approved.



Justin Meeks reported that the 2nd part of the bond for Phoenix Coal Company would be released shortly; Justin said he believed the roads had been reclaimed as best as they could.


Justin said opened/closed roads are a 100 year old problem in Bourbon County; Lynne said Lora Holdridge had been working through road closing/opening documents.  Justin suggested having a work session with residents to help make decisions on opening or closing roads low maintenance roads.  Lynne said the County has a map designating low maintenance roads.


Justin said all of the demand letters had been sent regarding the tax sale for property from 2016 and back.  He said he would get the cases for the tax sale filed in the next few months.  Justin said he is still an advocate for the Landbank and said they were still working on this.


Justin said he is working on an issue from a taxpayer where their taxes went up due to a change in valuation.


The Commissioners and Justin discussed roads and bridges in the County; Justin said the bridge on old 69 Highway needs repairs and said it wouldn’t be around much longer.  He suggested getting citizens opinion when it comes to making a decision on what to do about the bridge.  Justin expressed a concern over the safety of some of the roads and bridges.


Justin said the City/County had a good meeting recently about shared services.


The Commissioners allowed public comment; Anne Dare asked that the Commissioners apply for KDOT and Federal funds for the roads and bridges in the County.  She questioned how much the KAC dues were and suggested that the Commissioners consider having something in writing on what the different organizations that the County belongs to does for the County.  She also suggested that the different departments and boards do reports to keep the community involve in what they have been doing/spending.  Nancy Van Etten questioned what Lynne was discussing at the City meeting about the sewer board; Lynne said they were going to discuss possibly refinancing the sewer district bond.  Mark McCoy discussed shared services between the County/City; he commended the County for working with the City to save money.  He said sharing a finance manager with the City is a start in the right direction.  Mark said he was the chairman of the shared services committee.  He said that Bourbon County economic development is working to hire an economic development director. Mark said he is on the BEDCO board; he said it is a board of 13 volunteer members.


Clifton made a motion to amend the agenda to allow for Commissioner comments, Jim seconded and all approved.  Clifton responded to the public comments; he said they needed to hire the right person for the economic development director, he told Anne Dare that they were heading in the direction of getting reports of what is spent.  Jim said when he was campaigning he heard the term transparency; he said he felt all of the Commissioners were going to be transparent.  Lynne said the Commissioners get a monthly detailed report of what is spent, but thought the finance director would provide easier to read reports. Lynne said the economic development director position would be a challenging job, but said it would be beneficial to the entire county.


Lora Holdridge met with the Commissioners regarding the west parking lot; she said several months ago it was discussed about the City fixing this, she said there is a water leak there and said cars bottom out when entering/exiting the parking lot due to damage there.  Jim Harris said the City was going to fix this last September, Lynne said there are also bricks missing out of the street on the northwest end of the block.  The Commissioners asked Lynne to call Eric Bailey and have him work with the City on getting the lot fixed.


Greg Vahrenberg with Raymond and James met over the phone with the Commissioners regarding refinancing the 2015 jail bonds; he said Gilmore and Bell had drafted the legal documents and said Standard and Poor’s gave the County an “A” rating, he said they considered giving better than an “A” rating, but didn’t due to the current pandemic.  They originally thought refinancing the bonds for the years of 2024-2035 would save $251,000, but a lower interest rate was locked in and the County should have an estimated savings of $367,699.  He said there is no penalty for paying the bonds off early.  Clifton made a motion to approve the refinancing documents, (Resolution 07-21), Jim seconded and all approved.  Jeff made a motion to allow Lynne to sign the documents, Clifton seconded and all approved and all signed the documents.  Greg said he would send an updated analysis for the sewer district bonds.


At 11:42, Clifton made a motion to adjourn, Jim seconded and all approved.






(ss) Lynne Oharah, Chairman

(ss) Jim Harris, Commissioner

(ss) Clifton Beth, Commissioner



Kendell Mason, Bourbon County Clerk

January 26, 2021, Approved Date


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *