June 26, 2023 Monday, 5:30 p.m.
The Bourbon County Commission met in open session with all three Commissioners and the County Clerk present at the Redfield Community Center.
Jason Silvers, Heather Ethridge, Clint Walker, Rachel Walker, Ryan Linn, Don Pemberton, Mary Pemberton and the following representatives of the Bourbon County Conservation District: Jared Pollock, Mandy Shoemaker, Preston Reeder, Deb Lust, and Ron Brown were present for some or all of the meeting.
Jim Harris opened the meeting with the flag salute followed by a prayer led by Nelson Blythe.
Clifton made a motion to approve the consent agenda which includes the approval of minutes from the 6-19-2023 meeting. Nelson seconded the motion and all approved.
Dustin Hall, Assistant Public Works Director, told the Commissioners they have asphalted on 245th Street from Valley Road to the curve at Soldier Road and they plan to continue to 235th Street then pave the other side of the road back to Valley Road. Dustin said they are using a different 64-22 oil this year that is working very well. Nelson asked if there was any update on dust control and Dustin said he has a list of residents who have applied and will spray in between asphalting projects.
Don George, with Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, met to get an update on the status of the Elm Creek dam project. Jim said he has been working with Frank Young but they have not been able to get contractors who are interested in just looking at the project to give quotes. Clifton said he has spoken to two contractors and in his opinion, there is not enough clay and he has concerns on how to fix the dam correctly. Don stated when Bourbon County first applied there was clay in the rock quarries that could be used. Clifton said the scope of the project was smaller then. Jim said the county currently doesn’t have the money to fix the dam properly. Don asked if any other grant opportunities have been investigated. Jim and Nelson agreed to let Clifton check into the availability of other grants.
Jennifer Hawkins, County Clerk, presented five fireworks permits to be signed by Chairman Harris. The following locations have applied for permits this year: Jake’s Fireworks at 2221 S. Main and the corner of Wall Street and Goodlander, Jurassic Fireworks at 4500 Campbell Drive, Cathy Ramirez Fireworks at 840 Main Street in Mapleton, and Hale Fireworks at 2409 S. Main. Clifton made a motion to approve the permits that will expire on July 5th and to allow the Chairman to sign them. Nelson seconded the motion and all approved.
Jim said he had been contacted by Gary Hall who asked that the fence viewing he requested be held at 10:00 a.m. on June 28. Clifton made a motion to meet at 1023 115th Street on June 28th at 10:00 for a fence viewing with the possibility of all three commissioners being present. Nelson seconded the motion and all approved.
Jennifer presented an invoice for the National Association of Counties and asked if the Commissioners wanted to participate this year. Clifton said they didn’t last year and Jim said he wouldn’t support paying it.
Sheriff Bill Martin and Bobby Reed were in attendance to ask the Commissioners if they had any questions relating to the 2024 budget requests that they submitted via email. Jim questioned the requested increase of $184,000 and Bill stated that he requested new cars and the records management system is increasing but he is currently working with the County Attorney to split the cost of that. Jim stated there was a $134,000 increase in Sheriff’s Office wages and another $47,000 for Correctional Center wages. Bobby stated they haven’t added anybody. Jim asked Susan Bancroft, CFO, if that could be with 2023 increases and Susan said yes. Clifton said there was a total increase of $337,000. Jim asked if the $40,000 in capital outlay is for a new vehicle and Bobby replied yes, they currently have one vehicle with 108,000 miles and another with 135,000 miles. Bill said in 2-3 years all law enforcement radios will have to be encrypted. Bill said this is to protect personal information and would include the Sheriff’s Department, EMS, and fire personnel radios. Nelson said he thinks that is a good thing. Bill agreed but stated another Kansas county similar to our size reported it will be approximately $100,00 to switch over and wanted Commissioners to keep this in mind. The loan documents for Union State Bank that were previously submitted during the meeting at Uniontown were signed by the Chairman. The Commissioners had previously approved the loan but the bank had suggested not signing until the vehicles were ready to be picked up. Bill said he had an employee who resigned as full-time and moved to part-time who will now be a full-time employee again. Bill said he is requesting the employee be given 60 hours of vacation instead of 120 hours that employees receive at the beginning of the year. Jim asked why Bill would follow this policy when not following others. Bill questioned what other policies were not being followed. Susan said the employee oath of office. Bill said when he hears oath of office, he thinks of a Law Enforcement Officer or somebody professional like a doctor or nurse not Bourbon County employees. Bill said he reached out to other Sheriffs who said they had never heard of it. Bill said if something is questioned, he seeks legal advice. Nelson questioned if he missed something and asked why is this a big deal. Susan said the oath is required by state statute and is a basic oath that has been done for years. Bill said if somebody drives a road grader, they have to take an oath and he didn’t know it was a statute and not a Bourbon County policy. Clifton said he has never agreed with our vacation policy but in his opinion, you lose service when you quit as a full-time employee. Clifton asked Susan what a new employee gets for vacation time. Susan said new hires start accruing vacation at 7 months of service. Clifton said in his opinion it is a negotiation tactic with future employees and do what you can to hire them.
Clifton made a motion to amend the agenda to allow the Bourbon County Conservation District to speak before the public comments sections. Nelson seconded the motion and all approved.
Jared Pollock introduced the members in attendance and said they are a five-member volunteer board to educate and advocate. Jared said they work with Kansas Conservation Partnership, the Forrest Service, KDWP, and other non-government organizations such as Ducks Unlimited. Mandy Shoemaker is their main educator who works with schools and fairs for conservation day to try to make kids aware. Jared presented their budget and said there is a sheet that shows what surrounding counties budgets are. Jared said they are trying to do what they can but may have to cut back on services. Deb Lust said she has been spending a lot of time with local operators to help with new things such as cover crops to protect the soil base. Ron Brown said the general public thinks they just work with farms but they do urban drainage and soil samples even in city limits. Jim thanked them all for doing a good job.
Susan Bancroft presented a spreadsheet outlining the health insurance increase that will take place on July 1st. Susan said in the past rates have been given to the Board of Commissioners and there hasn’t been a vote but said there should be a vote. Susan asked if the employee of employer is going to cover the $10,000 increase. Nelson suggested the county cover the costs. Clifton said this is something the public should know and said the best plan we offer is $2301.94 per month for a family plan. Clifton made a motion to have Bourbon County pay the 2023 insurance increase. Nelson seconded the motion and all approved.
Clint Walker thanked the public works department for doing an outstanding job and thank the Commissioners for giving them the equipment to do the job.
Mary Pemberton asked how many years do we have to listen to the Commission say we hate our vacation or health insurance before it gets changed? Jim said Susan has been working with department heads to fix the handbook.
Ryan Linn asked if the road closing on 260th Street south of Deer Road was going to move forward. Jim said the applicant decided to drop their request. There was discussion of designating the road as a low maintenance road. Justin Meeks said the county has not designated roads as low maintenance in the past. Clifton said if we fix this road, we have to fix all roads.
Justin Meeks said the county is having a tax sale and will be selling 42 Hidden Valley Lake parcels this Thursday at 10:00 in the courthouse lobby.
Dustin Hall told the Commissioners he was notified yesterday the new belly dump trailer was ready.
Nelson said the $10,000 the county is covering as employers shows one of many examples where we could spend in house instead of handing out. Clifton said it was mentioned the county hasn’t done anything with health insurance and said a broker/agent is working with the county to look at other options. Jim asked Clifton to work with Susan and a committee of department heads and elected officials to work on different handbook options.
Nelson made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 7:09. Clifton seconded the motion and all approved.
THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
OF BOURBON COUNTY, KANSAS
ATTEST: ___________________, Commissioner
Jennifer Hawkins, Bourbon County Clerk
, Approved Date