The Bourbon County Commission met in open session with all three Commissioner and the County Clerk present in person for a special meeting.
Rob Harrington, Troy Schell, and Juan Banos were present for some or all of the meeting.
Jim Harris opened the meeting at 4:00 with the flag salute followed by a prayer led by Nelson Blythe.
Clifton made a motion to go into a 15-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. The executive session will include the three Commissioners, Rob Harrington, Troy Schell, and Juan Banos and they will return at 4:16. Nelson seconded the motion and all approved. Clifton made a motion to resume session at 4:16 with no action. Nelson seconded the motion and all approved.
Clifton made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 4:17. Nelson seconded the motion and all approved.
July 10, 2023 Monday, 4:30 p.m.
The Bourbon County Commission met in open session with all three Commissioners and the County Clerk present.
Clint Walker, Rachel Walker, Eric Bailey, Dustin Hall, Patty Ropp, Teri Hulsey, Michael Hoyt, Mary Pemberton, Jason Silvers, James Malveaux, Hanna Malveaux, and Anne Dare were present for some or all of the meeting.
Jim opened the meeting at 4:30 starting out with a budget work session allocated for the first two hours of the meeting.
Susan Bancroft, CFO, handed out budget summaries and highlights for each department and informed everyone that this is the first attempt to take all the requests and plug in the numbers to see where we stand. Susan said the numbers presented would bring all courthouse employees to at least $15 an hour and 40 hours per week. The requested increases for all departments would equal a 6.761 mill rate increase if all were approved. Susan said a concern in the general fund is over the years the cash reserves have been used to stay revenue neutral but that this will hurt us in the future as we will not start off 2025 with two months of operating expenses. The Register of Deeds office requested wage increases for her employees and a $10,000 increase for performing duties relating to road records. The Appraiser’s office is needing a transfer of $50,000 from their equipment reserve fund for a cash basis reserve for carry over. The Treasurer’s Office will be increasing wages, so there will not be as much of a transfer from the motor vehicle fund to the general fund at the end of the year. The Election fund is requesting $10,000 more due to a Presidential Primary Election that is now required for March 2024. The Southeast Kansas Mental Health Center requested $2,700 more for 2024 and Tri-Valley requested an increase of $10,000. The Conservation District also asked for an increase of $10,000 with the Multi-County Health Department asking for an additional $5,000. Public Safety requested an increase of $267,063 for the 2024 budget. EMS is requesting an increase of $172,374.20 to bring all employees to $15.00/hour and add one more paramedic to help with lowering overtime. The Public Works department is asking for the same amount as last year with only a slight increase for fuel which equals a .023 mill increase across all their funds. There was discussion held over how to lower the requested mills. Jim said he is in favor of getting employees raised to $15.00/hour. Nelson said he is looking at cutting non-department payments first. The amount EMS requested was discussed and Susan said she feels it was due to budgeting too low in 2023 and reminded the Commissioners that was the first year Bourbon County had the entire EMS budget as it was originally shared services with the city. Susan told the Commissioners to keep in mind during their budgeting process that if they are planning any bonds in the future the lower cash on hand will affect the bond rating. A decision will have to be made at the next meeting if the Commission plan to exceed the Revenue Neutral Rate as the Clerk has to have that information by July 20th. Clifton made a motion to close the budget session and open the regularly scheduled Commission meeting at 6:30. Nelson seconded the motion and all approved.
Clifton made a motion to move Justin Meeks’ executive session before the consent agenda. Nelson seconded the motion and all approved. Justin said he is requesting a 5-minute executive session for attorney client privilege for possible litigation. Clifton made a motion to go into a 5-minute executive session under KSA 75-4319 (b)(2) to include the three Commissioners and Justin Meeks and they will return at 6:37. Nelson seconded the motion and all approved. Clifton made a motion to resume normal session at 6:37 with no action. Nelson seconded the motion and all approved.
Clifton made a motion to add financials to the consent agenda. Nelson seconded the motion and all approved.
Clifton made a motion to approve the consent agenda in its entirety. Nelson seconded the motion and all approved. The consent agenda includes approval of minutes from 6/26/23, 6/28/23, and 7/3/23 as well as the approval of payroll totaling $216,424.52, approval of accounts payable totaling $392,442.81, and approval of April and May financials.
Dustin Hall, Assistant Public Works Director, reported they have asphalted to the railroad tracks on Soldier Road and are now headed back to Valley Road. Dustin told Clifton the washout he reported on Xavier Road will be fixed tomorrow. Dustin said they now have three mowers fixed, but they are down three people. Dustin stated the dealership where we purchased our last truck contacted them with a 2016 Mack CXU613 for $89,270. Dustin said they plan to use some of the proceeds for selling the rock crusher to pay for the truck. This truck will replace a smaller truck that does not have the horsepower needed, but can be sold at auction with the proceeds to go back into the special machinery fund. Jim said that was a very good price. Jim reported he has received two phone calls about mowing. Nelson said he has received another call questioning the status of the dust control. Dustin estimated it would be the week after next before they could apply dust control as their oil truck is currently tied up with the asphalt project. Dustin plans to spray the dust control after the crew finishes paving to Valley Road and before they start the next location. Eric asked if the city agreed to pay for half of Williams Street to be paved since half is located in the city limits. Jim said yes, he spoke to Brad Matkin and the City of Fort Scott will pay for half of the cost. Jim made a motion to allow Public Works to purchase the 2016 Mack CXU613 for $89,270 using rock crusher proceeds. Nelson seconded the motion and questioned the dire need of the truck. Jim asked if the rock crusher proceeds could be moved to the general fund and Susan stated she thinks only if they close out the machinery fund. Nelson questioned how much we received for selling the rock crusher. Dustin stated we received $353,000. Dustin asked why the Commission would take money from us, who are doing our jobs and trying to keep costs down, to give to others who aren’t trying to stay in budget. Dustin said they are trying to update equipment that hasn’t been done in years. The truck they are replacing is a 2006 and they try to get good used vehicles not spend $150,000 on a new truck. All the Commissioners approved Jim’s motion to purchase the 2016 Mack.
James Malveaux came to talk to the Commission about a ditching issue he has. Jim explained if he is going to talk about a non-elected identifiable individual then they need to go into executive session. Clifton made a motion to go into executive session under KSA 75-4319(b)(1) to discuss personnel matters of individual non-elected personnel to protect their privacy. The session will be for 10-minutes and include the three Commissioners, Eric Bailey, Dustin Hall, James Malveaux, and Hanna Malveaux returning at 7:00. Nelson seconded the motion and all approved. Clifton made a motion to resume normal session at 7:00 with no action. Nelson seconded the motion and all approved.
Jennifer Hawkins presented a Real Property Relief application for a home that was destroyed by fire at 11 N. Barbee. The Commissioners decided to waive 50% of the taxes due to the fire happening in June. Nelson made a motion to approve the real property relief application for 11 N. Barbee at 50%. Clifton seconded the motion and all approved.
Clifton made a motion to remove his two items from the agenda. Nelson seconded the motion and all approved.
Clint Walker stated if we are going to have all Bourbon County departments tighten their belts then he feels the Sheriff’s Department needs to use gas cards at the Public Works Department to save 85 cents per gallon. Mr. Walker also said if they want two new deputies, you give them a budget it’s up to them to do it. Clint discussed the County Attorney giving herself a pay raise and still asking for more this year. Clint said the Register of Deeds could save money by saying we don’t have to maintain roads. Mr. Walker said as a nation we spend little on mental health and that Tri-Valley provides a valuable service to Bourbon County.
Michael Hoyt stated SEK Area Agency on Aging and Meals on wheels go into a dispute on who offers what and questioned if they know what we expect of them. Michael said that Meals on Wheels is currently providing a box of frozen meals but not hot meals. Michael questioned the number of $19,000 per employee for benefits and asked how many brackets we offer. Susan explained the employee and family options and that one employee may not be taking the insurance but they still figure the $19,000 because they may leave and the person who replaces them may take the insurance.
Anne Dare said she has a problem with our health insurance, that her husband has to pay for insurance and stated taxpayers have to pay for Bourbon County employee’s insurance. Nelson said that was a good point but urged her to look at what others are making versus what Bourbon County employees make. Anne asked if there would be any public release made for the special meeting that as held at 4:00. Clifton said there was no action. Anne said she wants every department to show they are making the best decisions. Jim said there has been discussion on paying more per hour and less for benefits and said Susan is working on things to make it better.
Michael Hoyt asked about the company that offered stop loss. Clifton said we are having someone work on our health insurance and we are looking at other options but nothing can change for a year unless we choose to do a buyout. Clifton said regarding paying for employees’ insurance we have to pay 95% with the Affordable Care Act. Jim said there are some who really appreciate our insurance. Clifton explained that we have an extremely unhealthy pool of employees.
Clifton responded to Clint’s comments about the County Attorney and said you can vote or run against her. Clifton also said that we can’t make the Sheriff buy gas at the county barn. Clifton said that Meals on Wheels and the Southeast Kansas Area Agency on Aging can show what they get out of the money we give them and that Meals on Wheels can’t get people to cook for them and suggested volunteering for them. Clifton said in his opinion they are doing they best they can with what they get.
Jim said he has seen outbreaks during public comments and suggests changing the public comments section to what the city and school do. Jim said he wants public comments to stay, just no arguments. Jim asked the other Commissioners if they want to think about it. Clifton said we don’t have to allow public comments and being interrupted is disrespectful as this is our business meeting. Clifton said he agrees with Jim. Nelson said he likes public comments and bantering. Anne Dare said there is a resolution that Lynne made during the windmill time about public comments. Jim made a motion to move the public comments to the first item on the agenda right after the consent agenda with a signup sheet where you put the topic and have 5 minutes to speak. The sheets will go to the Commission and during the public comments section we will call your name and your topic and listen to you. Clifton seconded the motion and said he is open for trying it and that the public is welcome to get on the agenda. Nelson said he wants anybody who wanders in to be able to speak. Clifton said he doesn’t disagree but he’s seen it get worse because the public think they can do or say anything. Jim’s motion passed 2-1 with Nelson opposing.
Jim asked Patty Love what we have to do to get the budget reports out by the 15th of the month. Susan said due to reconciling they will always be a month behind. Patty said she had some trouble with April and Susan fixed it for her and now May is done, so Jennifer was able to send out budget reports. Susan said the vouchers have to be approved or it won’t be accurate. Jim said Eric has to know numbers to be able to do asphalt.
Michael Hoyt asked if since the public comment section is moved to the beginning if he has additional input can he raise his hand and get acknowledged? Clifton said yes if we choose to, we can. Clifton said this is our business meeting and he is done with nonsense, stating he was elected to do a job.
Jim made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 7:44. Clifton seconded the motion and all approved.
THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
OF BOURBON COUNTY, KANSAS
ATTEST: ___________________, Commissioner
Jennifer Hawkins, Bourbon County Clerk
, Approved Date