Bourbon County Commission Minutes August 27

August 27, 2019                                              Tuesday 9:00 am

The Bourbon County Commission met in open session with all three Commissioners, the County Counselor and the County Clerk present.

Tammy Helm with the Fort Scott Tribune and Nancy Van Etten were also present.

Jeremiah Hill met with Jim Harris, Jerad Heckman and the Commissioners; he said the motor grader had cut a diagonal ditch across the road on Poplar between 205-215th; Jerad said he felt the water was coming from the driveways cutting the ditch in the road. Jeremiah said when a ditch gets cleaned the dirt is getting pushed into the fence; Jim said they have been instructed not to do this if there is a fence there. Jeremiah discussed an area where this was done, Jim said they have to clean up the shoulders to build the road that he has requested, Jim said when it is dry enough they will go back and smooth out the area; Jeremiah said when this is done, it changes the flow of water. Jeremiah discussed the drive entrances now being higher than the road. Jeremiah discussed the roads and the intersections getting narrower. Jeremiah presented pictures of piles of dirt and debris that the graders are leaving on the roads.

Jeff discussed KDOT’s grant for bridges, he said there is $5 million available; Jeff said he felt they needed to prioritize the bridges and apply for some of the grant money.

Jim said they are out of chips and are planning to start making chips today; Jim said they will probably have to buy ice control this year.

Lynne discussed the revenue from the Road & Bridge Sales tax; he said it was down $6,500 for August and $10,000 for July. Jim suggested that the revenue from Road & Bridge Sales tax be monitored weekly.

Jim said the older New Holland tractor has a cracked block.

Jeff discussed the road north of Redbud Nursery; he said a few years ago the County reclaimed the road and said the root of the problem there was that a contractor had filled in a ditch forcing the drainage under the road. Jeff said he has witnessed the same issue around the County in other areas.

Lynne discussed gravel in the ditch at Range and 105th; Lynne said the gravel was washed off of the road due to concrete placed in front of a culvert in the area.

Jeff said he received a report from Jim’s neighbor about the ditch north of his property; Jim said they are building a ditch in the area.

Cheryl & Frank Adamson met with the Commissioners regarding a hearing that was held between the City of Fort Scott Commissioners and Kevin “Skitch” Allen. Kevin won a place on the General ballot for a Fort Scott City Commissioner. The City Commissioners claimed that Kevin was not a city resident; after the hearing and based on the information that the City presented at the hearing, it was determined that Kevin met the criteria to be a resident. Cheryl questioned the ordinance that stated the candidates needed to be residents; Kendell said it is a City of Fort Scott ordinance.

Lynne made a motion to go into a 10 minute executive session for confidential data relating to financial affairs or trade secrets of corporations, partnerships, trusts and individual proprietorships, Nick seconded and all approved, (the session included the Commissioners, Jody Hoener, Kendell Mason and Richard Goldstein). No action was taken.

Bill Martin, Bobby Reed, Ben Cole and Alvin Metcalf met with the Commissioners to discuss the 2020 budget. Also present for this meeting were Frank and Cheryl Adamson, Nancy Van Etten, Rachel Pruitt, Dave martin, Robert Uhler and Tracy Reed. Bill Martin said he was reviewing the 2020 budget and asked for an explanation of the proposed budget. He said he noticed a $39,674 increase in the Sheriff departments wage budget, he questioned if this was to cover the wages of the Sheriff Deputy that has been being paid by a grant, Lynne said no this wasn’t the reason for the increase. Bill said the position is still there, but isn’t being paid for by the grant any longer; Bill said he will be over in wages in 2020. Bill said he noticed that each one of the elected officials was getting a pay raise in the budget; Bill said he only requested a 3% increase for his wages, Bill said he wanted no more than a 3% increase. Bill discussed two of his exempt employees that there was not a raise budgeted for (Bill said the two employees hadn’t received a raise since 2012 or 2013), but other exempt employees getting a raise. Bill said when the hourly employees received raises last year, his exempt employees did not receive a raise; Bill suggested finding money to get them a pay raise as well, he said they are good employees that do above what is expected. Bill said he wasn’t attacking a person, but questioned the budget for Economic Development; he said in 2019 $60,000 was budgeted, but in 2020 $100,000 has been proposed for the Economic Development budget. Lynne said Economic Development is the only way to turn the ship around by addressing what is causing the population decline. Jeff Fischer told Bill he admired how Bill had tried to address wages and retention; Jeff said they had previously adjusted his deputies’ wages to help address retention and said at that time they had planned to address salaried individuals in the future. Jeff previously compared the wages of Bourbon County to other like counties and said they realized there was a gap in some areas. Jeff said other like counties pay their Sheriff $67,000, Bourbon County pays $45,900. Bill said every year he presents a budget with raises, but said this lacked action. Lynne discussed the Sheriff budgeting $4.00/gallon for fuel, he said they have offered the Sheriff a fuel tank to save money on the fuel, but Bill did not accept the tank. Bobby Reed said they have been kicked to the curb for 7 years; Lynne said each Commissioner was ok with the way the budget was done. Lynne said they were told that the new jail wasn’t going to cost anymore, Bobby said he didn’t say that, Lynne said when the new jail was presented it was promised it could operate on the same amount of money; Bobby asked who said this, Lynne said he (Bobby) did, Nick said this was always told to taxpayers that it wasn’t going to cost anymore; Bill said it was presented that there wouldn’t be any more cost for the employees to run the building. Bill said the operation of the jail is covered by the sales tax; he said the ballot stated that the sales tax could be used to refurbish the old jail, pay the bond for the jail and the operations. Lynne said the County is getting less revenue from sales tax and that we have to be able to make the payments. Bill said he did not want a raise. The Commissioners said they would like to address the exempt employees next year; Bobby said it could be addressed if they are still here. There was a brief discussion over Allen County receiving reimbursement from inmates for medical care while in jail, Jeff said he hasn’t seen any reimbursements for Bourbon County inmates; Bobby said this is submitted to the County Attorney and it is then up to the court to collect the money. Alvin Metcalf said when he goes to work every day, his family doesn’t know if he is coming home or not. He said other people don’t have the same worry. Alvin said when they come to the Commissioners nothing gets accomplished. Lynne said other departments budgets have been reduced significantly. The Commissioners said it is budgeted in 2020 and planned to give a longevity bonus based on years of service. Jeff said in January of 2020 they will assign a value to each position. There was a discussion over the declining population and the healthcare costs that the County has incurred. Bill said he didn’t feel comfortable taking a raise with the unknown. Bill said he didn’t do his job for the pay, but was doing it for the civic duty. Jeff said a large portion of the previous raises given were given to his department. Lynne said they realize that in a few years they will have to address wages for the hourly employees. Jeff said that previously the Sheriff’s department was losing employees to the City of Fort Scott and the County Commissioners addressed their wages then, he said they are making progress and it is getting better. Jeff said they need to be working together to move the community forward.

City of Fort Scott representatives Rachel Pruitt, Cheryl Adamson, Randy Nichols and Dave Martin, as well as Jim Fewins, Jody Hoener and Barbara Ritter met with the Commissioners. Rachel Pruitt presented a draft document of a Property Tax Relief for the City of Fort Scott. This program is to help local businesses prosper and grow. This is a program they are trying to create to help move current businesses from building lease to business building owners. Rachel discussed property taxes being a barrier to owning property for the businesses. If the program is created there will be different qualifications. If approved, the program will offer the approved applicant different percentages of the taxes that they have to pay over a ten year period. Barbara Ritter said the tax burden keeps them from purchasing, so they continue to lease. Rachel said this program would be to help with business retention and is an expansion tool to keep current businesses. Jeff questioned the impact for the other counties that are doing this.

Lynne said Joe Bisone presented him with a picture of a development they are working on; they hope to build 107 units near Hammond on Condensory Road made out of Hempcrete. The plan for the first phase will consist of 7 units.

Lynne made a motion to go into a 30 minute executive session for consultation with an attorney for the body or agency which would be deemed privileged in the attorney-client relationship, Jeff seconded and all approved, (the session included the Commissioners and Justin Meeks). No action was taken.

Lynne made a motion to go into a 3 minute executive session for personnel matters of individual non-elected personnel, Nick seconded and all approved, (the session included the Commissioners and Justin Meeks). No action was taken.

At 12:02, Lynne made a motion to break for lunch and reconvene at 1:30, Nick seconded and all approved.

Emergency Manger Will Wallis met with the Commissioners, Jeff made a motion that Lynne sign the EMPG Funds document, Nick seconded and all approved and Lynne signed the document. Will discussed disaster KDEM #4449; 70 Kansas counties (including Bourbon County) are a part of this disaster and there are nearly 500 applicants in the program. Will said he would question if there was a 6 month debris removal deadline.

Deb McCoy presented a letter to Jeff and Kendell; the letter from Deb thanked Kendell for the work she does.

Economic Development Director Jody Hoener met with the Commissioners; they discussed the strategic plan and the vision for Bourbon County.

Nancy Van Etten met with the Commissioners regarding research she had done; previously Fort Scott Lake property owners met with the Commissioners regarding a possible building of condos on a lake lot. In September 2004, Mel Cummins petitioned Bourbon County to subdivide a lake lot for multiple single dwellings. At that time, the Cummings property was outside the 3 mile zone, so the County had jurisdiction over the Cummins property. The County Commissioners held a hearing in October 2004 and the Commissioners denied the petition to subdivide the property.

Lynne made a motion to go into a 5 minute executive session for consultation with an attorney for the body or agency which would be deemed privileged in the attorney-client relationship, Jeff seconded and all approved, (the session included the Commissioners and Justin Meeks). No action was taken.

At 3:56, Lynne made a motion to adjourn, Nick seconded and all approved.



(ss) Lynne Oharah, Chairman

(ss) Jeff Fischer, Commissioner

(ss) Nick Ruhl, Commissioner


Kendell Mason, Bourbon County Clerk

Approved Date 09/03/2019


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