Bo Co Commission Minutes of June 10

June 10, 2024                                                                        Monday, 5:30 p.m.



The Board of Bourbon County Commissioners met in open session with all three Commissioners and the County Clerk present.



Vance Eden, Mike Wunderly, Bonnie Smith, Patty Ropp, Jill Franklin, Kim Sparks, Katie Casper, Mary Pemberton, Clint Walker, Rachel Walker, Roxy Gregg, Marla Sutterby, Kevin Sutterby, Pete Owenby, Jason Silvers, Josh Jones, Marty Dewitt, Deb Martin, Anne Dare, Michael Hoyt, Carol Didier, Cameron Didier, Carol Adamson, Steven Douglas Adamson, Ashley Adamson, Carl Linnenbringer, Dana McKenney, Gertrude Harper, and Brent M. Smith were present for some or all of the meeting.



Jim opened the meeting with the flag salute.



Jim stated there was a full agenda and reminded those signed up for public comments there would be a five-minute limit.



Clifton made a motion to approve the consent agenda which includes approval of minutes from 6-3-2024. Brandon seconded the motion and all approved.



Jessie Walker stated he was here last month with Lynne Oharah regarding 95th and Unique Road and asked how the county could maintain the entire section of a road for years and then decide to only maintain part of it. Jim said when he was Public Works Director, he was notified that it was not a public road and that is why they stopped maintaining it. Mr. Walker said that someone came out and placed a white flag approximately ¾ of the way down the road and Eric said that was his department as the whole road is not open only a section and the rest is a lane as was explained to him by the Register of Deeds. Mr. Walker asked why the county has maintained it before and now will not and requested minutes from previous meetings where the road was discussed. It was explained to go to the Clerk’s Office and complete a KORA request form and he could obtain any minutes he would like. Jim said he would visit with the Lora, Eric, and Legal Counsel but that he can’t go against what they say.



Vance Eden said he is here tonight as a resident who is in support of solar panels. Vance stated he has done research regarding the development of solar and that he is not a tax appraiser nor accountant but believes that about 1 mill per megawatt would be on the tax roll after the 10-year abatement. Mr. Eden said he is not representing the school, however; there is not much industry in that half of the county and this could be a stimulus across the entire county and could reduce taxes which could entice companies to come into Bourbon County. Vance stated if taxes were not lowered then the additional revenue could be used to provide more services. Mr. Eden said he could understand why neighbors could be opposed to the solar panels but he is looking at the school and tax benefits. Brandon said he is not against solar panels but feels it is our job to protect people. Brandon stated he has done some research and for solar panels to produce the same megawatts as the Burlington power plant, which is on 9600 acres, there would need to be 15,000 acres of solar panels. Brandon said if it is negotiated right, it could be a lot of money for the residents but they need to be located in the right place. Jim said he has heard that there would be 45,000 acres of solar panels in Bourbon County and stated that number is not right. Katie Casper asked if she could get a question answered and was instructed to go in the hallway and ask Vance any questions she may have.



Pete Owenby asked when the money kicks in for the windmills. Jim said there is a 10-year abatement on them. Brandon spoke of the depreciation rate of the windmills which he said was at 7 years while solar depreciates at 20% and Clifton stated the windmills last longer than solar. Pete said he did a KORA request for the attorney rebuttal that was discussed at a prior meeting and was told it was attorney client privilege. Pete asked if they spoke to the attorney as a Commissioner or citizen and if the county paid for the attorney which Jim said the county did not. Pete asked for a contact at KDHE and explained the person he spoke to would not comment on solar panels and Jim said he would give him the numbers that he has for KDHE. Pete discussed a code of conduct resolution that was passed in 2020.



Becky Johnson, Administrator and Health Officer of the Southeast Kansas Multi-County Health Department, presented an annual report to the Commissioners that outlined some of their accomplishments for the last year.  Becky discussed some of their accomplishments such as holding tetanus shot clinic during the flood, hosting a community baby shower, having a nurse who is a CPR instructor and safe sleep instructor. Becky said they were able to attend more training including the Four Corners Emergency Management Conference as well as a billing and WIC symposium. Becky said they are continuing to add programs to help the citizens of Bourbon County and requested $95,750 in funding for 2025, which is the same amount as last year. Becky expressed how grateful they are for the continued support. Clifton said we are very fortunate to have Becky in our community and said she was asked to go to Topeka to speak.



Roxy Gregg, with the Pike Lake Group, presented 68 landowner petitions signed by homeowners who are against the Pike Lake Project. Roxy said she knows the bill has been said to be dead in the water but explained it could be brought back in 2025. Roxy asked the Commissioners if they were for or against the project. Brandon said he is against  the project and explained he did not think it would be good for Bourbon County where they are proposing it. Jim stated he does not support imminent domain; however, he is for an alternate water supply but in a different area of the county. Clifton said he was against the project from day one. It was questioned if the Commissioners would sign a resolution like they did in Cowley County and Clifton explained the resolution in Cowley County says no development by private individuals and that if this project were to happen it would not be private individuals doing the development. Jim thanked the group for all their hard work.



Kevin Davidson, Undersheriff, stated the Sheriff’s department is retiring a K9 and explained they received it free from Labette County and were able to use the dog for a while.  An agreement was presented for signature that outlines the retirement of the dog who will go to Deputy Penland. Brandon made a motion to retire the dog who will go to Deputy Penland. Clifton seconded the motion with discussion and added to allow Chairman Harris to sign the agreement. All approved the motion.



Jennifer Hawkins, County Clerk, stated she received a public notice from KDHE for the issuance of a new permit for Mike Rogers. Jim said he was told the permit was no longer needed. Jennifer presented an audit agreement with Jarred, Gilmore, and Phillips, PA for the fiscal year 2024 audit. Clifton made a motion to allow Chairman Harris to sign the audit scope for the fiscal year 2024 audit. Brandon seconded the motion and all approved. Jennifer reminded residents that the final day to turn in an interest letter to be considered for the solar panel committee is June 12th. Jennifer presented Resolution 07-24 which outlines the salaries for elected officials and explained we are signing it now at the request of the auditors. Clifton made a motion to approve Resolution 07-24. Brandon seconded the motion and all approved. Jennifer asked to amend the agenda to add fireworks permits for two companies. Clifton made a motion to amend the agenda to allow discussion of fireworks permits. Brandon seconded the motion and all approved. Jennifer presented two permits for Jake’s Fireworks one for the corner of Wall and Goodlander Streets and another for 2221 S. Main Street. Clifton made a motion for Jim to sign the two permits for Jake’s Fireworks. Brandon seconded the motion and all approved. A permit for Hale’s Fireworks at 2523 S. Main Street. Clifton made a motion for Jim to sign the permit for Hale’s Fireworks. Brandon seconded the motion and all approved.



Jim discussed Neighborhood Revitalization Program errors and stated many distributions were long or short which results in approximately $33,000 that needs to be refunded to participants of the program. There are two choices for funding the refunds which would be to use the Appraiser’s 2024 fund or to go after the Appraiser’s bond. Jim thanked Jennifer, Susan, and Patty for putting safeguards in place to ensure that an error such as this does not happen moving forward. Jim said as just one Commissioner he does not want to go against the bond and suggested to use the Appraiser’s fund. Brandon said if we owe the money to the residents, we need to pay them and he agrees on not activating the bond and Clifton agreed. Brandon made a motion to use the Appraiser’s fund to issue refunds for the NRP errors. Clifton seconded the motion and all approved.



Brandon asked for a timeline for the ER so residents can be informed. Jim said Clifton will be discussing that during his comments section. Brandon said during his very first executive session Baker Tilly was discussed and he was unaware that you could discuss what was mentioned in executive session. Brandon explained that someone who was not in the executive session posted things online that was only mentioned during the executive session. Brandon asked how the individual got the information. Jim said he didn’t know. Brandon said he has made calls to KDHE and is waiting on a call back and that he has a call scheduled Wednesday with a solar company.



Clifton stated there would be a healthcare announcement made on Thursday at 10:00 at the hospital building. Clifton made a motion that all three Commissioners could be present and no Bourbon County business will be conducted. Brandon seconded the motion and all approved.



Jim said he might have been rude earlier but he doesn’t think people should intrude on other people’s personal lives.



Clifton made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 6:38. Brandon seconded the motion and all approved.






___________________, Chairman


ATTEST:                                                                                                    ___________________, Commissioner


Jennifer Hawkins, Bourbon County Clerk

6-17-2024                               Approved Date



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