Category Archives: Bourbon County

Kansas State: Annual Flowers – Tips for More Profuse Blooming

Submitted by Krista Harding

Just like last year, we have been gotten a lot of rain this spring. Our soils were definitely saturated for several weeks. You may think that watering won’t be needed for quite some time since soil moisture levels are very high. However, watering may be needed much sooner than you think.

Excessive rain can drive oxygen out of the soil and literally drown roots. Therefore, as we enter hotter, drier weather, the plants with damaged root systems may be very susceptible to lack of water. Don’t forget to check your plants for signs of wilting or leaf scorching and water as needed.

My annual flowers haven’t been overly impressive yet. I know as our temperatures warm, they will pick up blooming speed. To keep the blooms going, a nitrogen fertilizer application and removing spent flowers is a must. An application of fertilizer is especially needed this year considering the amount of rain we have gotten recently.

Modern annual flowers have been bred to flower early and over a long period of time. Providing nitrogen through the growing season (sidedressing) can help maintain flower display. A high nitrogen sidedressing should be applied four to six weeks after flowers have been set out. Additional fertilizers every four to six weeks are also helpful during a rainy summer or if flower beds are irrigated. Common sources of nitrogen-only fertilizers include nitrate of soda, urea and ammonium sulfate. Use only one of the listed fertilizers and apply at the rate given:

Nitrate of soda (16-0- 0) – Apply ¾ pound fertilizer per 100 square feet

Urea (46-0- 0) – Apply ¼ pound fertilizer per 100 square feet

Ammonium sulfate (21-0- 0) – Apply ½ pound fertilizer per 100 square feet

If you cannot find the above materials, you can use a lawn fertilizer that is about 30 percent nitrogen (nitrogen is the first number in the set of three) and apply it at the rate of 1/3 pound per 100 square feet. Do not use a fertilizer that contains a weed killer or a weed preventer.

Removing spent flowers or “deadheading” will help some plants bloom more profusely. Annuals focus their energy on seed production to insure that the species survives. If old flowers are removed, the energy normally used to produce seed is now available to produce more flowers. Deadheading is as easy as pinching the plant between the thumb and finger, but tough, wiry stems will require the use of scissors or pruning shears.

Plants that do increase blooms in response to deadheading include: hardy geraniums, coreopsis, some petunias, marigolds, snapdragons, begonias, some roses, zinnias, sweet peas, salvia, blanket flower and yarrow.

There are some “self-cleaning” plants on the market now. These plants drop their spent flowers and bloom again and do not require manual deadheading. In many cases they are sterile varieties – bred not to produce seeds. The petunia and rose varieties that are “self-cleaning” continue to excel in the home garden market because of their low maintenance and blooming power.

If you need help with any horticulture topic, give me a call. My current office schedule is Monday, Wednesday, Friday – Erie; Tuesday – Iola; and Thursday – Fort Scott.

Krista Harding is a K-State Research and Extension Agricultural agent assigned to Southwind District. She may be reached at 620-244- 3826 or kharding@ksu.edu

Grass Carp and Algae Control for Ponds

Submitted by Christopher Petty

Grass Carp

Grass carp, a fish species native to Asia, feed on aquatic plants and filamentous algae. Grass carp are biological tools used to control nuisance growth. Grass carp stocked into Washington lakes must be certified disease-free and sterile. Fish farmers create sterile fish (called triploids because they have an extra set of chromosomes) by subjecting fish eggs to temperature or pressure shock. Testing verifies that grass carp are sterile. Lake managers use grass carp to control the excessive growth of aquatic plants. Grass carp exhibit definite food preferences and consume some aquatic plant species more readily than others. Grass carp may control filamentous algae, although filamentous algae is not a preferred food. Grass carp may eat aquatic plants before eating filamentous algae. Some reports indicate that adding grass carp to a lake may promote the growth of other algae.

Raking

Pond owners can remove filamentous algae from the water using a sturdy rake with a rope attached to the end. The operator throws the rake into the water and pulls the rake and filamentous algae to shore. Compost the algae and use it in the garden. Raking is effective for small areas of filamentous algae but is time consuming and labor intensive when controlling larger areas. In addition, filamentous algae grow back quickly and may move around the water body through wind and wave action. Sometimes raking becomes a never-ending chore during summer months. Also, raking cannot remove blue-green algae and many other types of algae.

For more information on pond weeds, join the K-State Research and Extension –Southwind District for an informational pond weed meeting at the Yeager Building, located on the Bourbon County fairgrounds, in Fort Scott, Kan. This meeting featuring K-State Research and Extension Wildlife Specialist Charlie Lee and sponsored by Miller Feed and Farm, will take place at 6 p.m. on Thursday June 8. A ten dollar registration fee, payable at the door will cover meals and materials. Please preregister for a meal by calling 620-223- 3720 or e-mailing Southwind Extension District Agent for Livestock Production and Forage Management Christopher Petty at cgp@ksu.edu.

Commission Removes Previous Position

Environmental Service Coordinator Eric Bailey left a hole in the county’s staff with his recent resignation, but instead of filling the position, the county commissioners decided to use the employees they have to complete the tasks Bailey had been responsible for.

Bailey worked his final day Friday after reaching the decision to move from the county and begin his own sub-contracting business. His job included working with contractors, overseeing inspections for those buying and selling homes and approving permits for projects occurring in flood plains, among other responsibilities.

During their Tuesday morning meeting, the Bourbon County Commission and attorney Justin Meeks discussed the decision to use four employees from the GIS/IT and Assessor’s departments to cover those tasks. By doing so, the county would save the money that would be needed to cover an employees salary and would instead cover the hours the individuals would work.

Meeks said those employees should be able to maintain the quality of the work the county usually provides, but may not always be able to in the same timely manner as when they had a full-time employee devoted to the position. If the change does not seem to work, or if area development suddenly increases, the commission would revisit the decision.

Continuing in the budget season, the commissioners said they have to work carefully to make sure the needed finances are available as they collect budget requests from various departments. Already, they are trying to discern how to increase the wages for members of the sheriff’s department, to make the positions more competitive, within the current budget. Five positions have also been cut from the roads and bridges department in order to consolidate positions and save funding.

Meeks said the main way a county is able to save money is by cutting people or services, while commissioner Jeff Fischer added it is up to the leadership to prioritize their services and decide where to invest their money.

4State Makes Changes to Recycling Services

For the past couple months, 4 State Sanitation has provided free recycling to residents of Bourbon County residents, but changes will come this month to improve the service and prevent the abuse of the free service.

Stock Photo from 4 State Sanitation

Taysha Meech of 4 State said that the first couple months showed them just how much manpower is needed and how much it costs to cover the diesel needed to transport the items brought to them. She also said a number of people decided to take advantage of the service as an opportunity for a free trash service, bringing bags of personal trash instead of only recyclable items.

It’s not a moneymaker,” City Manager Dave Martin said of the recycling services that 4 State provides. “They’re losing money tremendously on it.”

In order to discourage the misuse of the service and cover some of the expenses, a small fee will be added for residents wanting to recycle. While it will remain free for 4 State customers, others will pay a $5 fee each month for an unlimited use of the recycling services.

Overnight Program for Youth Offered at National Historic Site

Submitted by Fort Scott National Historic Site

Wanted: able-bodied young men and women, of good character, between the ages of 12 and 15, to be recruited for a duration of 28 hours into the Fort Scott Camp of Instruction.

Overnight Camp: Submitted by Fort Scott National Historic Site

Participants will receive clothing for the duration of the camp, a ration of food, sleeping quarters, and instruction in military deportment, marching, and the use of small arms and artillery. Experience the life of a soldier at a frontier military fort of the 1840s.

Fort Scott National Historic Site is pleased to present a Camp of Instruction; a special event for youth that will take place on the site grounds, twice this summer. The dates are June 15-16, 2017, and July 14-15, 2017. The event will serve as an overnight living history camp for youth to experience the life of soldiers and civilians in the 1840s. This unique camp is being held in commemoration of the 175th anniversary of the establishment of Fort Scott in 1842.

Youth attending the camp will stay overnight in the barracks or tents, cook meals in period pots and pans using historic recipes, and be drilled as soldiers. One of the goals of the camp is to provide leadership opportunities for the youth. The camp will be organized similar to how a company of soldiers would have been in the 1840s with the camp divided into squads. The youth will also be dressed in period clothing as 1840s soldiers for most of the activities! Boys and girls aged 12-15 are welcome to sign up. There will be separate sleeping areas and adult chaperons will be present in each, along with the NPS staff that will be staying overnight as well.

Registration for this camp is now underway. Youth groups and individuals are invited to attend. To register, call 620-223- 0310. The last day of registration will be June 9, 2017.

FSCC Hosts Volleyball Camps, Competes in National Rodeo Finals

Submitted by Heather Browne

FSCC Volleyball Program to Host Summer Camps

The Fort Scott Community College Volleyball Program will host several camps this summer to help students who wish to develop or enhance fundamental volleyball skills. The camps will be held at Arnold Arena at the FSCC campus.

Kids’ All Skills Training Camp

The Kids’ All Skills Training Camp, open to students grades 3 – 6, will be held from 9:30 a.m. to noon June 20. Emphasis will be placed on form and movement training for passing, hitting, setting and other skill areas. The campers will work in small groups with a great camper-to-coach ratio. The fee is $15 and includes a t-shirt.

7th – 12th Grade Skills Training Camp

The volleyball camp for students in 7th-12th grade will be held from 1 to 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 20. The camp will focus on fundamental skills, mental training and efficient ball control skills during game situations. The fee is $15 and includes a t-shirt.

College Prep Camp

The College Prep Camp is designed for high school athletes who would like to play volleyball in college. This camp will take place 9:30 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 21. Emphasis will be placed on fundamental skills, mental training and efficient ball control skills during game situations. The fee is $30 and includes a t-shirt.

Payment is due at the beginning of each camp. Camp shirts will be guaranteed only for those who preregister. To preregister, please visit fsgreyhounds.com/sports/wvball/related_links/camp. For more information, please contact Lindsay Hill, FSCC Head Volleyball Coach, at 620-223-2700, ext. 7220 or lindsayh@fortscott.edu.

FSCC Students to Compete at College National Finals Rodeo

Members of the Fort Scott Community College Rodeo Team will compete at the College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR) in Casper, Wyoming, from June 9 to 17.

FSCC Rodeo Team. Submitted by FSCC

More than 400 students from universities and colleges across the United States will compete at the CNFR. Representing FSCC will be Cooper Belt (steer wrestling), Cory Brown (bareback riding), Colton Delgado (bareback riding), Layne Graham (bareback riding), Wyatt Miller (team roping and calf roping), Mat Swaim (saddle bronc riding), and Trey Ahring (bull riding).

“It’s exciting to take this group of students to the national competition this year. We knew it would be a tough year for us to take a team, and this group really pulled together and motivated each other,” said Chad Cross, FSCC Head Rodeo Coach.

Going into the last rodeo of the season, the men’s team was in third place in the Central Plains Region. The weather that weekend ranged from snow to rain. Despite these challenges, the team persevered and earned the reserve championship title, qualifying them to advance to compete at the national level.

“The students had to work hard and push each other during the last few rodeos so that they could place in the top two teams to qualify,” said Cross. “I’m glad to see these students compete in Casper. It has truly been a pleasure to see them grow and achieve their goals.”

For more information, please contact Chad Cross at 620-223-2700, ext. 7020.

Kansas State Extension Newsletter: A Great Meeting

Submitted by: Carla Nemecek, Southwind Extension District Director & Agent

One of K-State Research & Extension’s signature methods to disseminate information and to evoke learning is through “having a meeting.” We’ve all put on, or attended, lots and lots of meetings. And, if I’m being honest, those meetings haven’t all necessarily been successful, great meetings. Over the years, I have attended my share of meetings, and today I am going to share what I believe makes for a “good meeting.”
Having the right topics would seem rather obvious, and for that reason, I am not going to go down that track. I will assume that you have the appropriate topics and the right people to make presentations. So, given that, what else can one do to make for a great meeting?

Publicize. Make certain the right people know about the meeting. Tell those people who come in contact with your target audience about the meeting. Even if you don’t expect a professional within your community to attend, you still want them to know about it so that they can pass it on to their clientele. Good examples might be the banker, implement dealer, clergy, social worker or anyone who tends to come in contact with those you hope to see at your meeting. Make sure those individuals have all the info they need to promote your upcoming meeting to their clientele. Make a list of persons you believe the meeting will be most beneficial to, and then stick your neck out and make a personal contact with those individuals to let them know that you want them there. Putting an article in the paper or an announcement on the radio may not be enough. Personal contact is so much more powerful. And, to do these things, you have to believe in your work, and be enthusiastic about your bringing this information or learning opportunity to your intended audience.

Meeting place. Make sure you have chosen the best place for the meeting. Can the room be set up for the best possible learning environment? Does your intended audience find the meeting place to be inviting and comfortable?

Setting the stage. Is the emcee fully prepared to welcome the audience and to introduce the speakers? Giving strong introductions for a speaker and the topic can set the stage for that speaker to have an even better learning experience. Letting the audience know why they made the right decision to be there on that day, and that they will be learning about topics of importance to them also sets the stage for a great meeting. Make certain you know how to pronounce the speaker’s name. It is less embarrassing to ask the speaker before the meeting, than to mispronounce a name in the introduction. And know something about the speaker in introducing them. Again, helping the audience to become familiar and excited about the speaker is the most important job of the person making the introduction.

Be positive. Above all other things, as a speaker or as the emcee, you should be totally positive. No matter if the visual equipment breaks down, or the PA system acts up, great speakers find some way to remain positive and enthusiastic for why they are there. They do not lay blame on others, but rather search for solutions. No matter what happens, people expect positive.

And, if you are the emcee or organizer, you have to be as interested as anyone with the content of the program. As courtesy to the speaker and to those you invited, you too must exhibit an interest in the information being presented. When it is time for questions, you should be prepared with a couple questions if no one in the audience is willing to speak up.

This column is intended to get you thinking about the things you can do to set the stage and create great meetings. As much as some would like to believe technology could replace the need for a meeting, humans will always have that social need for learning together. As professional educators, we have the obligation to make those learning experiences the best they can be. For more information, find Southwind Extension on the web, www.southwind.ksu.edu

Letter from the Capitol: Richard Hilderbrand

National Foster Care Month

May is National Foster Care month, and here in Kansas, we’re working hard to ensure we have plenty of caring and quality foster care parents for our Kansas children.

The Kansas Department of Children and Families (DCF) has launched a major marketing campaign that encourages Kansas parents to consider fostering, or to support those in their community who choose to be foster parents. Many of our Senators have teamed up with DCF to create public service announcements around the state to spread this awareness.

We’re encouraged by this campaign as a first step to improve the state’s foster care system and to ensure every Kansas child – no matter what circumstances they were born into – has a warm bed, clean clothes and a loving family unit to call theirs.

CONFERENCE COMMITTEE REPORTS:

WORKING AFTER RETIREMENT (House Substitute for Senate Bill 21): House Sub. for SB 21 makes changes to the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System pertaining to working after retirement.

Under current law, KPERS retirees may return to work for employers who participate in the Retirement System if there has been a bona fide separation in employment of a minimum of 60 days with no preexisting arrangement to return to work. For most newly retired individuals, the law caps annual earnings at $25,000. When a retiree earns that amount, the person must decide either to stop working or stop receiving KPERS benefits for the remainder of the calendar year. Several groups of retirees—such as nurses at certain state institutions, individuals covered by the Kansas Police and Firemen’s Retirement System or the Retirement System for Judges, local government officials, and individuals employed with a participating employer prior to May 1, 2015 —are exempt from the cap. Certain licensed school district employees are also exempt. Participating employers who hire retirees are required to contribute to KPERS at varying rates, which can be as great as 30 percent of the retirees’ compensation, depending on the circumstances

The bill establishes a new working-after-retirement rule, which would take effect on January 1, 2018. For retirees under the age of 62, there would be a 180-day waiting period before returning to work. If the retiree is 62 or older, the current 60-day waiting period would apply. The current prohibition placed upon prearrangement for employment would continue to apply. For covered positions, the employer would pay the statutory contribution rate on the first $25,000 of compensation and, for that portion of compensation greater than $25,000, the contribution rate would be equal to 30 percent of the compensation. Covered positions for non-school employees are those that are not seasonal or temporary and whose employment requires at least 1,000 hours of work per year; covered positions for school employees are those that are not seasonal or temporary and whose employment requires at least 630 hours of work per year or at least 3.5 hours a day for at least 180 days. For non-covered positions, the employer would not make contributions.

The Senate adopted the Conference Committee Report Tuesday May 23, by a vote of 38-1 *I voted in favor of this bill: It clears up an IRS requirement, and it also gives more uniformity to retirees that qualify for KPERS.*

KANSAS DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

(House Substitute for Senate Bill 60): House Sub. for SB 60 extends the sunset for certain fees assessed by the Kansas Department of Agriculture on pesticides, fertilizer, and milk, cream, and dairy products. The bill also reinstates certain dam inspections fees and allow the KDA to assess a fee for processing certain paper documents when an electronic alternative for submission exists. Finally, the bill requires the Secretary of Agriculture to lower certain fees and potentially raise certain fees through rules and regulations, if certain criteria are met.

The Senate adopted the Conference Committee Report Tuesday May 23, by a vote of 32-7

*I voted against this bill: It gives the Secretary of Agriculture the ability to adjust fees with no legislative oversight.*

BILL SIGNINGS:

Senate Bill 89 – This bill amends the law relating to the collection of certain vehicle title and registration fees. *I voted for this bill*

House Substitute for Senate Bill 40 – Establishes new criminal charges aimed at reducing human trafficking and sexual exploitation of children and requires holders of Commercial Drivers Licenses be trained to recognize possible human trafficking. *I voted for this bill*

House Substitute for Senate Bill 120– Updates the code for civil procedure. *I voted for this bill*

Senate Bill 149 – Amends statutes regarding briefing in the Kansas Supreme Court and representation of state agencies by the Attorney General’s office. *I voted for this bill*

House Bill 2054 – Allows certain state agencies to share information with one another for the purpose of carrying out their official duties, allows for the Kansas Department of Corrections to request assistance from other jurisdictions if needed, and amends the law related to fee funds.*I voted against this bill: This bill allows for personal information to be shared more openly between agencies, public officials and private contractors.*

The Governor has now signed 79 bills into law this session and vetoed two. By law, the Kansas governor has 10 calendar days to sign the bill into law, veto the bill or allow the bill to become law without his or her signature.

NEXT WEEK:

Next week is the fifth week of Veto Session. We will continue working on our three big ticket items: taxes, budget and school finance. I hope you’ll reach out with any comments, questions, or concerns regarding these issues or others. If you are on Twitter or Facebook, I encourage you to follow along with the #ksleg hashtag for real-time updates on legislative happenings in Topeka as we work to wrap this legislative session up.

FLOOR ACTION:

PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTION (Substitute for HB 2230): Sub. for HB 2230, authorizes a property tax exemption and make a change to property tax exemption procedure for certain types of property.

This bill passed the Senate Thursday May 25, by a vote of 38-0.

*I voted for this bill: This bill allows the old army ammunition plant, the ability to attract new business to our region.*

Understaffed Sheriff’s Department Asks for Commission’s Support

Members of the Bourbon County Sheriff’s Department approached the county commission Tuesday morning to discuss their need for more deputies as well as higher wages, as the department continues to lose deputies because of the non-competitive pay.

Sheriff Bill Martin said their staff is down to just four deputies after two gave their two week’s notice within 24 hours of each other, one of them a K9 handler, and a third is on medical leave after an accident while off work. Those deputies will be forced to work even further overtime as they cover the 12-hour shifts left open.

To compensate for the decreased manpower, Martin said they had to pull the courthouse security temporarily and said they may have to consider allowing deputies to respond to dispatch calls from home in order to prevent them from working such long hours that they become exhausted or burnt out.

It’s impossible to do with four deputies,” county attorney Justin Meeks said of the amount of overtime that will need to be covered.

Not only would the employees be forced to work extensively, the county’s budget would also be hurt as they pay a time and a half for overtime, possibly adding up to more than $7,000 a month extra with the understaffed department. The correctional center is also using overtime as they are trying to replace three of their normal 16 employees.

I want to take care of the employees,” Martin said, saying most exit interviews reveal that the pay is the chief reason the deputies leave to take other jobs, some leaving the county and even the state.

Currently working on preparing their budget for the 2018 fiscal year, Martin said they will ask for a wage increase in order to be more competitive while also asking for as many as five further staff, including deputies, detectives and an individual to help with clerical work such as handling evidence.

The commissioners agreed with Meeks and Martin that the need is becoming more serious as it has become harder to retain the staff needed to patrol the county. Commissioner Lynne Oharah said they will look closely at what funding is available during the upcoming month as they continue to accept budget requests from other departments.

Click here for an article with more details on a January report on the Sheriff’s Department wages.

Small Business Exemption and Taxes: Senator Hilderbrand

Why does removing the small business exemption mean increasing taxes on the poorest of the poor?

Submitted by Richard Hilderbrand, Kansas District 13 Senator

There is a lot of frustration among the citizens of Kansas over the current legislature’s inability to balance the budget. This frustration is well-founded and must be addressed with a fiscally responsible solution. There is a large percentage of citizens that believe the small business exemption is the cause and want to see the exemption removed. If a tax proposal to remove the LLC exemption was ever to come before both chambers, it would likely pass by a veto-proof margin. If this is the case, then why hasn’t this happened yet? It is obvious this is the one part of the tax plan that most legislators and citizens both believe should be changed. One only needs to look at The Hays Daily News article dated May 5, 2017. In this article, it has this very revealing quote “If we take that part out of the overall tax plan, we take all of our leverage out,” said Sen. Laura Kelly, D-Topeka. Kelly said closing what is often referred to as the LLC loophole is the “politically palatable” part of the tax hikes, but it isn’t the bulk of the money the state needs to raise. “The real money in the tax cuts was not in that provision, it was in the reduction of the brackets,” she said, referring to income tax rates.

http://www.hdnews.net/news/local/lawmakers-continue-hunt-for-tax-solution/article_c688638d-2db8-5911-b855-8e2d60006045.html

In a recent Docking Institute poll, it asked how the citizens of Kansas wanted their legislators to fix the current budget crisis. This is what this poll showed: 41 percent want their legislators to cut spending, 34 percent want their legislators to cut spending and increase taxes, and 25 percent want their legislators to increase taxes to fix this budget crisis. You will notice that 75 percent think all or part of the solution is to cut spending, while none think the solution is to raise state spending.

http://www.fhsu.edu/uploadedFiles/executive/docking/Kansas%20Speaks%202017(1).pdf

Then why do the only bills that we are voting on so far have large increase in spending along with over $1 billion in new taxes to pay for it? This not only defies the wishes of our constituents, but more importantly it is reckless and is fiscally irresponsible. I have heard from those that want to pass this massive tax and spend policy that this is the hardest thing to do. I strongly disagree with this view. The hardest thing to do is continue to vote on your principles and to not be swayed by the emotions of the day. We must get our finances in order and established for a long-term solution, so that our state can get back on the road to recovery.

We do have a budget crisis and our constituents are counting on us to fix this problem. This is something that we must do, we must quit playing politics over this issue. The constituents in Kansas expect the legislators to fund education to meet the requirements of the ruling handed down by the Kansas Supreme Court. They also expect the legislators to fully fund KPERS and to quit deferring the payments that have become the norm. They also want the money that is ear marked for our highways to stay in KDOT.

Just last night the House took up SB 30. It failed on a vote of 53-yeas to 68-nays. If this bill would have passed, and subsequently passed the senate, it would have looked like this:

*It would have raised taxes on every single tax payer by $1.217 billion over the next two years.

*Lowered the minimum earned income from $5,000 to $2,500 for single filers, and from $12,500 to $5,000 for families.

*Retroactively raised the lowest tax bracket for families making $0-$30,000 from 2.7 percent to 2.9 percent for the 2017 tax year.

*Raised the lowest tax bracket for families in year 2018 from 2.9 percent to 3.1 percent.

*Retroactively raised the middle tax bracket for families making $30,001 – $60,000 from 4.6 percent to 4.9 percent for the 2017 tax year.

*Raised the middle tax bracket for families in year 2018 from 4.9 percent to 5.25 percent.

*Retroactively created a new top tax bracket for families making $60,001 and above from 4.6 percent to 5.2 percent for the 2017 tax year.

*Raised the new top tax bracket for families in year 2018 from 5.2 percent to 5.7 percent.

*Retroactively raised the lowest tax bracket for individuals making $0 -$15,000 from 2.7 percent to 2.9 percent for the 2017 tax year.

*Raised the lowest tax bracket in year 2018 from 2.9 percent to 3.1 percent.

*Retroactively raised the middle tax bracket for individuals making $15,001 – $30,000 from 4.6 percent to 4.9 percent for the 2017 tax year.

*Raised the middle tax bracket in year 2018 from 4.9 percent to 5.25 percent.

*Retroactively created a new top tax bracket for individuals making $30,001 and above from 4.6 percent to 5.2 percent for the 2017 tax year.

*Raised the new top tax bracket in year 2018 from 5.2 percent to 5.7 percent.

*Retroactively repealed the small business exemption.

http://www.kslegislature.org/…/doc…/ccr_2017_sb30_h_2129.pdf

This tax bill would have put an even bigger burden on our constituents that are struggling to make ends meet. How can we as a state ask an individual that is making only $2,500 and a family making $5,000 a year to retroactively pay for our out of control spending? It would have classified, per this new tax structure, an individual making $30,001 and a family making $60,001 as rich and taxed them the same rate as someone making $1 million. This is not a fiscally responsible tax plan.

The state has increased its spending in the general fund from $5,268,100,000 in 2010 to an estimated $6,306,030,075 for 2017. This is an almost 20 percent increase in spending over seven years. That is an average increase of 2.46 percent per year. The average rate of inflation during that same period is only 1.7 percent per year. If the state’s spending would have been the same as the rate of inflation, our spending in 2017 would only be $5,807,414,859. The estimated revenue for 2017 is $6,073,100,000. That would have left the state with $265,685,140.54 to go towards meeting some of our other needs that I highlighted earlier.

http://budget.ks.gov/publications/FY2017/FY2017_Comparison_Report–UPDATED–8-15-2016.pdf

http://budget.ks.gov/publications/FY2017/FY2017_GBR_Vol2.pdf

So, I ask this question: Why must the poorest of the poor pay for the states irresponsible fiscal policies?

 

Bailey Resigns from County Position

Eric Bailey, Bourbon County’s Environmental Services Coordinator, offered his resignation to the Bourbon County Commission during their meeting Tuesday morning.

“We’re sad to see him go,” County Attorney Justin Meeks said.

Bailey served the county in his position for almost four years, remaining in contact with contractors and overseeing inspections of septic, holding tanks and lagoons. The county will need to find a replacement quickly to keep up with inspections and permits for area building projects. Bailey made a recommendation Tuesday.

“We’re going to miss you,” commissioner Lynne Oharah said.

The commissioners voted to accept his resignation, also agreeing to name June 2, as his final day as an employee.

“It’s been a wonderful experience,” Bailey said, taking time to thank the commissioners for the opportunity to work for the county. “I enjoyed every minute of it.”

Bailey said he is moving out of state in order to start his own business as a subcontractor.

 

Kansas Rocks Adds New Property

Kansas Rocks Recreation Park, located near Mapleton, held a ceremony Saturday morning for the grand opening and ribbon-cutting event for its recent addition of 160 acres of land to the park.

For the past 14 years, the park has provided 220 acres of terrain for visitors interesting in hiking, cycling, or driving jeeps or dirt bikes on the numerous trails of varying difficulties. Over recent months, additional trails have been created in the new, southeast quadrant of the land recently purchased from a family that had lived there for three generations.

“This is quite a celebration for us,” President David Killion said, adding they are still negotiating for even more property.

Killion said they selected the Bourbon County location 14 years ago because of a need for such a park near the Kansas City area, as others are three to four hours away. With the area selected, Killion said they were able to use grants from the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks to get the park started.

Now, Killion said the park is self-sustaining through the daily fees, while grants and donations are used for larger projects, such as the recent addition of electricity donated by Westar and Heartland Rural Electric. Currently, they are in the process of adding water for camping spots.

“The rock park is a huge asset to Bourbon County,” Fort Scott Mayor Jolynne Mitchell said, adding the park sponsors numerous events throughout the year.

Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce board president Deb Needleman and Executive Director Lindsay Madison both expressed appreciation for Kansas Rocks’ membership and said they hope to continue to support the park in its endeavor to bring visitors to the region.

“It’s a great benefit to Bourbon County,” county commissioner Lynne Oharah said, adding he is grateful for the family-oriented atmosphere.