Bo Co Commission Minutes of May 22

May 22, 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 Garland Community Center.


David Klein, Raymond Kalm, Lester Waring, Ruth Waring, Shirley Colvin, Tammie Underwood, Rob Gray, Jeremiah Hill, Richard Cullison Jr., Kathy Crisp, Clint Walker, and Rachel Walker 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 last week’s meeting, approval of payroll totaling $327,284.67, and the approval of accounts payable totaling $780,170.75. Nelson seconded the motion and all approved.


Matthew Wells, Mayor of the City of Fort Scott, asked the commission for a donation for the fireworks show that Fort Scott provides. Mr. Wells asked for the same amount that Bourbon County gives to Uniontown or any other town. Jim stated the Uniontown show is not paid for by the city, but by a private company.  Jim said he appreciates the city stepping up to provide a fireworks display for our residents. Nelson stated he doesn’t believe that government funds should be involved and does not want to use taxpayer dollars in that manner. Clifton said to his knowledge Bourbon County hasn’t donated to a fireworks display before. Jim made a motion to donate $2500 to the City of Fort Scott for a fireworks display. The motion failed due to a lack of a second. Clifton made a motion to donate $500 to the City of Fort Scott and the City of Uniontown for a fireworks show from the PILOT funds. It was explained that the PILOT funds are revenues generated from the Jayhawk Wind project and are not taxpayer dollars. Jim seconded the motion, but Nelson opposed stating no county funds should go to fireworks. The motion passed 2-1. Jim said we are responsible for a better quality of life for our residents.


Clifton made a motion to amend the agenda to allow for an executive session with Matthew Wells. Jim seconded the motion and all approved.


Clifton made a motion to go into a 7-minute executive session under KSA 75-4319(b)(4) to discuss data relating to financial affairs or trade secrets of corporations, partnerships, trust and individual proprietorships to include all three Commissioners, Matthew Wells, and Justin Meeks. The executive session will be conducted in another room in the community center and the Commission will return at 5:46. Nelson seconded the motion and all approved. Clifton made a motion to return to normal session at 5:46 with no action. Nelson seconded the motion and all approved.


Dustin Hall, Assistant Public Works Director, gave an update stating they are redoing decking on the bridge at 60th and Arrowhead Road. Dustin said there have been 21 signs vandalized throughout the county. The laydown machine is currently waiting on a part, but they anticipate having the machine back this week. The crusher has been down due a programming issue, but the company will be here Wednesday to fix it. Jim asked if the price of oil was still ok, and Dustin said it is good right now.


Clifton made a motion to amend the agenda to strike Eric’s executive session. Nelson seconded the motion, and all approved.


Tim Spehr submitted an application for a road closure on a portion of 260th Street south of Deer Road. Mr. Spehr stated he came before the Commission a few years ago and was told by the prior board no because re-opening a road could be a hassle. Mr. Spehr said the road is in bad shape and isn’t driveable. Jeremiah Hill voiced his concern and said he disagrees with closing the road. Mr. Hill said there was an agreement with the coal company who was to put the road back in good condition when they were done reclaiming. The Commissioners discussed the condition of the road as they all separately viewed the section of road that Mr. Spehr is wanting to close. Clifton said he takes in all input and if a motion is made today, he will abstain until he talks to all the landowners on 260th Street between Cavalry Road and Deer Road. Jim tabled the application for a few weeks to allow the Commission to speak to the area landowners and do more research. The County Clerk will contact Tim Spehr and Jeremiah Hill when the issue is placed back on the agenda.


Jeremiah Hill questioned the section of Eagle Road that is scheduled to be paved this year and asked why it was starting at the railroad tracks and going to the state line instead starting at the top of the hill. Dustin said they’ve discussed starting at the railroad tracks due to the budget, but if there are funds left, they may be able to tie in and asphalt to the hill.


Jennifer Hawkins, County Clerk, asked the Commission about the schedule for future evening meetings. There are currently meetings scheduled in Uniontown and Mapleton, and Jennifer stated if additional locations are wanted, she needs to reserve buildings and notify the public. The Commissioners decided to have a meeting in Hammond on June 19th.


Jim opened the meeting to public comments and stated if an identifiable individual is going to be discussed it would have to be done in executive session.


Vicki Shead stated the county has previously sprayed poisonous Hemlock and the area around 250th Street and Deer Road needs sprayed again. Mrs. Shead stated the Hemlock is very dangerous and can kill deer and cattle and she is concerned as there are kids who go fishing at the bridge where it is located.


Larry Shead thanked the county for quickly cleaning the graffiti on the metal bridge. Mr. Shead asked if the county would be mowing to the fences as they did last year, and Dustin replied in the fall they will try to make two passes while mowing.


Clifton made a motion to amend the agenda to add an executive session. Nelson seconded the motion and all approved.


Clifton made a motion to go into a 10-minute executive session under KSA 75-4319(b)(1) to discuss personnel matters of individual nonelected personnel to protect their privacy to discuss job performance and will include all three Commissioners, Dustin Hall, and Jeremiah Hill. The executive session will be conducted in another room in the community center and the Commission will return at 6:21. Nelson seconded the motion and all approved. Clifton made a motion to return to normal session at 6:21 with no action. Nelson seconded the motion and all approved.


Richard Cullison Jr. and Raymond Kalm discussed Tweedy and Custard cemeteries and how they are not being mowed properly. Mr. Kalm said a lot of people come in for Memorial Day and the cemeteries need mowed especially then. Since the county does not mow the cemeteries the County Clerk will research who is on those cemetery boards and notify them of the mowing issues.


Nelson talked about how there are roads in the county that are not maintained, and employees not paid well, and the county has to stop spending money on things like fireworks and extra stuff. The recent $50,000 donation that Bourbon County made to Core Communities was brought up. Jim stated that the Meals on Wheels program and the Southeast Mental Health Clinic makes life better for Bourbon County residents and he will always vote to help the elderly. Jim said the $50,000 donation will help 50 families out of poverty and to think about how that will help the next generation, that we have to reach out and help them. Nelson asked about those who work for Bourbon County who make $13.00 an hour. Jim said the Sheriff’s Department, Jail, and Public Works have given raises and they need to work on the courthouse, but that we can’t abandon other people we need to make the county a better place to live. Clifton said the money given to Meals on Wheels and for the elderly is a good investment.  Clifton stated they have lowered the levy 5 mills since he has been Commissioner and not raised taxes. Jim agreed they have lowered taxes and helped people.


Jim said he was contacted by the Fort Scott Tribune about not releasing minutes of the meetings before they are approved. Jim said it is up to the Commissioners, but he is ok as long as it is posted as un-official minutes. Clifton said he has been misquoted in the minutes before and Nelson agreed and said if he sees something wrong, he will want it corrected. Justin explained that the notes the County Clerk takes during the meeting are KORA discoverable. Jason Silvers, with the Fort Scott Tribune, said if they report something from unofficial minutes, they report it as such. A comment from a previous article regarding the meetings outside of the courthouse was discussed. Jim said it was questioned if the Commission wanted to please five people in person or 200 who watch on livestream. The residents in attendance were asked if they liked having meetings come to the smaller communities in the county, and they responded yes. Clifton said that the meetings don’t have to be livestreamed and Jim explained that started during COVID when the courthouse was closed, and residents were unable to attend meetings. Clifton stated a lot of counties are stopping the livestream of their meetings. Justin stated that for the whole time he was county counselor people have been asking for night meetings.


Jim gave an update on the Elm Creek dam project stating Eric Bailey has been in contact with engineers and contractors to set up meetings. Clifton suggested if anybody knows of contractors to have them contact the Commission to go look at the dam. Jim said they want four or five contractors to look at the dam and will need an engineer if it goes to the grant process.


Clifton asked those in attendance if they would like the meetings to come out in the community more often and they responded yes and they would like more notice. Clifton said he would love to have more people come to the meetings.


Clifton made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 6:43. Nelson seconded the motion and all approved.

Approved 6-5-2023



___________________, Chairman

___________________, Commissioner

___________________, Commissioner



Jennifer Hawkins, Bourbon County Clerk

_______________, Approved Date


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