Bo Co Economic Development Community Goals

Submitted by Jody Hoener, Bourbon County Economic Development Director

Bourbon County Economic Development is actively working on countywide goals to enhance our economic growth, lower property tax, and address population decline. We are addressing the current business climate with strategies to increase revenue through adding value, and therefore lowering the individual tax burden.

By providing opportunity for a privately developed multi-use facility with a focus on participatory sports, such as rodeo, we will inject added value into the community which will increase opportunities for recreation and assist retail business with increased sales revenue and foot traffic.

Bourbon County community has identified business, housing, and quality of life as their top three priorities.

Data collected from County surveys and face to face interviews on current business needs indicate that property tax burden is one of the top issues business face, second only to workforce needs.

Currently, the countywide average mill levy is $180.77 per $1000 assessed valuation, ranking Bourbon County 11th highest in the State of Kansas (Kansas Department of Revenue, 2018).

We are preparing for a marathon, not a sprint, to address our current tax climate, with long term goals of becoming more regionally competitive at $158.61 per $1000 assessed valuation by the year 2030.

We are leveraging community strengths and assets to create a more business-friendly environment in a place people want to live, work and play.

Fort Scott Community College is renowned nationwide for its rodeo team and Fort Scott is located on an intersection of two major highways. A grassroots committee of former rodeo team athletes, business owners, and public sector, with support from the community college president and rodeo team coach, has formed to see a privately developed multi-use facility constructed.

Bourbon County Commission, as part of its ongoing efforts to enhance livability and quality of life for its residents and to grow our economic base and resulting job opportunities, has commissioned a feasibility study for a multi-use event facility to be located in the Fort Scott area.

Markin Consulting, a national consulting firm specializing in these types of facilities, is conducting this two-phase study.

The first phase is an intense look at the market viability of this type of facility.

We are thankful for Bourbon County stakeholder’s Jim Keller, of Keller Ranch, and Steve Buerge, of Buerge Farms and Buerge Enterprises, Inc. who have made substantial contributions toward the market demand study. By completing rigorous cost benefit analysis, we are not only showing to be good stewards of tax payor resources but we are also planning for the future.

The decisions we make on investments today will determine the productivity, wages, and quality of life for generations to come. To grow a sustainable, thriving, prosperous community, we are developing creative and dynamic strategies, fostering public/private partnerships, and encourage civic participation.

We believe the feasibility study for the multi-use event facility is very important to our business community and are asking business and residents for your help by taking time to complete a very short, on-line survey for this study process.

Here’s the link for the resident survey:

And here’s the link for the business survey:


For more information please contact:

Jody Hoener, Economic Development Director


[email protected]

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