Bourbon County Commission Minutes of April 20

April 20, 2021                                        Tuesday 9:00 am


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


Also present were the following: (some were present for a portion of the meeting and some were present for the entire meeting), Tammy Helm with the Fort Scott Tribune, representatives from SEK Multi County Health Department, Susan Bancroft, Scott Shelton, Anne Dare, Will Wallis, Mr. & Mrs. Clint Walker and Mark McCoy.


Clifton made a motion to approve the minutes from the two prior Commission meetings, Jim seconded and all approved and signed the minutes.


Eric presented three culvert permits for culverts that have been completed for Ron Hillard, Doug Adamson and Nick Leighty; Eric and the Commissioners signed the permits.  Jim made a motion to allow a culvert installation for Dale Simpson at 1947 Tomahawk Road, Clifton seconded and all approved.


Eric reported they received $1,145 for the scrap metal at the Landfill.


Eric said they had poured a portion of a new deck and will be pulling forms and will have the bridge at 60th & Grand open next Thursday.


They have been crushing at the Beth Quarry and have been in contact with Buckley Powder regarding a blast to remove the overburden at the Blake Quarry.


Eric said they will be moving the bulk fuel tank from the Bronson Fire Station to Uniontown for the grader operator’s use.


The K39 bridge has been closed for repairs and they are detouring traffic onto County roads; Eric said they are having to add more gravel and said he will document this for possible reimbursement from the State.


Windfarm – Eric said they are still capping the roads between 39 and 3 Highway.  He said they have had reports of wash boarding on the roads in the area.  He said there is a bridge deck deficiency on a bridge between 60th & Arrowhead and Birch; he said they may need to reroute traffic and not use this bridge.  Eric said there is an area near 20th & 39 going north that the Windfarm company might do work to the road in order to use the road.


Lynne thanked Eric for cutting the road at 95th & Range.


Eric said after they review the budget, he might discuss purchasing trucks and a mini excavator.


Eric said he would give the Commissioners the Schwab Eaton report on the bridge inspections done this year.


Lynne plans to ride with Eric to the Southeast Kansas regional meeting on Thursday in Yates Center.


Rebecca Johnson with the SEK Multi County Health Department met with the Commissioners (other representatives from the SEK Multi County Health Department were also present); she presented the following speech to the Commissioners: “Fifty years. The SEK Multi-County Health Department has been serving the residents of Bourbon County as their local health department for the last 50 years.


In 1971, after the health departments of Allen, Anderson, Bourbon, Linn and Woodson Counties served as a health planning organization for the state, an agreement was signed by the counties, which formed the SEK Multi-County Health Department. The County Commissioners could see the benefit of the organization and how it saved their counties money and also allowed for a balance of perspectives from policymakers, medical professionals and the public.  Linn County has since left the multi-county health department, which has resulted in the 4-county configuration.


SEK Multi-County Health Department is made up of 4 county health departments, Allen, Anderson, Bourbon, and Woodson. We share 1 medical director, health officer/administrator, regional public health emergency preparedness coordinator, accountant, and billing clerk. Each office has at least 1 nurse and clerk. We have 1 home visitor that covers Allen and Anderson counties and 1 that covers Bourbon and Woodson counties. We also have a nurse that is the WIC coordinator and we have a dietician. We have hired a 2nd nurse in our Bourbon County office this last year who has assisted with our other county COVID-19 responsibilities as well. Due to efforts needed still for the pandemic, we have been able to maintain 3 temporary staff to assist where needed.


Public Health is a specialty all its own. Public Health has many more trainings that are required than the average healthcare job. Trainings range from disease investigation and control to FEMA and incident command, to vaccine for children program to packaging and shipping of dangerous goods. We have a wide range of knowledge and expertise in many different areas.


SEK Multi-County Health Department partners with many organizations and entities, in Bourbon County, the surrounding counties, our region and at the state level. We also have worked extensively with some organizations in Missouri over the last year. These partnerships and friendships have been very beneficial to us through the years and through this pandemic. We try to maintain a well-balanced give and take relationship with our partners.


The Bourbon County Health Department currently provides 67 types of services to the public, many of which are at no cost. These fall under family planning, KanBe Healthy Screenings, School Physicals, Immunizations, Adult Physicals, Blood Pressure and Blood Glucose Checks, Hearing and Vision Screenings, DCF referrals, MCH Home Visitor, breastfeeding education, STD testing and treatment, and lab draws. We travel to many off-site clinics to provide immunizations and physicals for children and adults. Many of our services are at times provided in client’s homes.


Other services provided, that are at no cost to the public and stand out are:

  • Disease investigations and contact tracing.
  • Health Officer services such as review of plans for schools and LTC facilities, recommendations related to isolation / quarantine, creation of isolation and quarantine orders, rabies investigations, review/investigation of nuisance calls and other public health hazards.
  • Provision of general medical, nutrition, immunization, etc information provided to all callers to the health department.
  • Technical assistance to medical / non-medical providers, schools, day cares, industries and other businesses related to PPE, preparedness planning, availability of COVID vaccinations.
  • Technical assistance to long-term care facilities related to PPE, preparedness planning, and review of COVID response plans,
  • Assistance to other county health departments during disasters
  • Review of mask usage in Bourbon County and mask distribution
  • Mommy & Me classes, breastfeeding support
  • Referral of clients to other providers such as smoking cessation, depression, birth spacing planning, hearing, dental, job sites, etc.
  • Management of supplies received from federal and other sources and transfer of those supplies — hand sanitizer, masks, gowns to local medical and school providers in need.
  • Education presentations for schools as well as being a member of the School Health Council, and participation in those meetings.
  • Educational presentations for long term care facilities on bloodborne pathogens.
  • On call 24/7 for public health emergencies-especially with the pandemic. Each superintendent has the Heath Officer’s personal number.
  • COVID-19 Recovery Drive. We applied for a grant and were able to have 2 recovery drives where we provided food and supplies to Bourbon County residents in need. We were blessed to partner with many businesses who helped make the recovery drives possible, such as Valu Merchandizers, G&W foods, Walmart, Dollar General and also several community members and community partners.
  • Health Fair participation.
  • Offer our conference room to local organizations, such as the LEPC for meetings, trainings such as Love and Logic parenting class and CPR.


January 2020, SEK Multi-County Health Department started planning for the impending pandemic by meeting with regional and local partners regarding information KDHE and CDC were issuing. We began studying, training and preparing for our role in the global pandemic. We began educating the public, by way of newspaper, internet, Facebook, radio, flyers and also participated in numerous educational/informational meetings with department heads of many different entities. KDHE provided guidance and support to the local health departments, as well as regulations for isolation and quarantine. That set the stage for the expectations for local health departments and SEK Multi-County Health Department has held strong to these regulations to pull our counties through this pandemic. We’ve worked with our schools, long term care facilities, businesses, colleges and community organizations, to list a few, on their mitigation and reopening plans, as well as contact tracing within their facilities. COVID-19 investigations and contact tracing took up most of our days for an extended period of time. Many times this had us working evenings, nights and weekends to make sure everyone’s needs were met. Our own family life was put on hold for about 9 months, as we dealt with COVID-19 related issues.


During the fall, in Bourbon County, we pushed through and administered 619 flu vaccines and did 21 off-site flu clinics. On December 7th, Bourbon County’s active case count rose to 152 active cases, a dramatic increase from prior to Thanksgiving. We were all exhausted by this point, but knew we had to keep going. Later in the fall we began preparing for mass vaccination clinics and what those would look like. We reached out to the Fort Scott city commissioners and staff, who helped us secure a site for these large clinics for Bourbon County. We were able to get many volunteers, businesses and community members who were willing to help us out. Because of all the volunteer work, partnerships we have and new ones we’ve formed over the last year, every COVID-19 vaccination clinic was a success and at no cost to the public.


SEK Multi-County Health Department wanted to ensure that our school staff were also being vaccinated, so we transferred 600 of our Moderna COVID-19 doses to CHC-SEK to vaccinate the school employees while we were vaccinating the health care workers and elderly. To date, SEK Multi-County Health Department has administered 2351 COVID-19 vaccines in Bourbon County. SEK Multi-County Health Department will continue providing until there is no longer a need.


On January 21st, Governor Laura Kelly recognized me as a Public Health Hero in Kansas. I do not consider myself a hero at all. I appreciate the recognition, but that tells me that my staff and I are doing something right. We’ve followed KDHE’s guidelines, state law and recommendations by our medical director. We’ve taken a more conservative approach to the pandemic and have seen less cases than other counties that did not. We have done the best that we could with what we were given and have managed to stay afloat and not given up, when many have.


If you do a comparison of funding for health departments across the state, SEK Multi-County Health Department asks for very little from Bourbon County. There have been talks of Bourbon County looking into contracting with an FQHC for public health. One county health department in Kansas is run by an FQHC, and that county provided approximately $666,000 this last year to the FQHC to run it. Looking at surrounding counties annual funding for health departments: Linn CO: 189,000; Crawford: 556,000; Franklin: 423,000; Coffey: 371,000; Cherokee: 108,000. Up until this last year, Bourbon County provided $80,750 per year to SEK Multi-County Health Department to provide public health services to Bourbon County. Our organization hadn’t seen an increase in 12 years, up until last year. Our staff are employed by our organization, we carry our own insurance, we own our own buildings, and apply for grants through KDHE that help aid our services we provide.


Bourbon County residents need a health department that have expertise in their field and prepared for public health situations as they arise, one they can count on for their children’s needs and family services and one they’ve come to trust for health-related questions and family support over the years.  Our 4 counties are stronger together and we’ve built Bourbon County Health Department to provide a sturdy leg to our organization. SEK Multi-County Health Department wishes to remain the Public Health Service Provider in Bourbon County. I cannot speak for the Commissioners of Allen, Anderson, or Woodson, but do know I have no outstanding complaints or issues that are holding them back from continuing on with SEK Multi-County Health Department as their county’s public health service provider.


Bourbon County Board of Commissioners, SEK Multi-County Health Department asks that you continue to allow us to be the public health service provider for Bourbon County. Look at how far we have come in 50 years!!  With your continued support, just think of how much more we can accomplish together for our residents of Bourbon County in the years to come!”


After her presentation, Clifton asked what the main thing they did prior to pre-pandemic was; Alice Maffet said all of the things that were listed in Rebecca’s speech.  Jim said he has heard from the public that they would like to see the Health Department open on Friday’s; Alice said have early and extended hours of 7:00 am – 5:30 pm Monday through Thursday.  Justin Meeks said the contract has been the same since 1971 and said if the County opted to not renew, then it would have to be done in May of 2021.  Lynne and Jim both said they didn’t think the County should change.


Scott Shelton met with the Commissioners regarding a variance on the County sanitation code; he lives in the Country Hills subdivision which is located north of Redfield outside of the city limits of Redfield.  He said in 1998 Redfield got a loan to get a sewer system and to install a pump station.  A 40-year contract was signed between the City of Redfield and the residents of the subdivision and part of the contracted stated the rates for the subdivision were to be the same as for the residents of the City of Redfield.  From 1998 – 2019 the rates were $18/month, in 2019 the sewer rates went to $30/month + $7.50 per person in the house, then the rates went to $36/month + $8.00 per person in the house for city residents and $44/month + $8.00 per person for residents in the subdivision.  In 2021 the rates were increased to $36.00/month + $8.00 per person in the house for residents living in the City of Redfield and to $51.70/month + $8.00 per person in the house for residents in the subdivision.  Scott said he questioned the City of Redfield what the reason was for the increase; he was told they increased the costs to pay the loan off faster as well as there was no money in the account to pay expenses and said they were behind on paying the loan – Scott said that USDA told him they were not behind on paying the loan and said the City later said during a City meeting that there was $20,000 in the account.  Scott questioned the different amounts being charged for the City residents vs. the subdivision residents and said he was told it costs more to operate the sewer for the subdivision than it does in town.  Scott said Redfield was in violation of the contract.  He said he as well as the City of Redfield have lawyers involved and said they are now at an impasse on the sewer rates.  He said now several residents of the subdivision would like to install septic systems, he said a contractor has said they can install the septic system, Scott has worked with the County Appraiser’s office and they told him as long as the County Commissioners say it is ok to install the system, he is ok with it.  Scott said the County sanitation code from 1998 says any resident within 400’ must connect to the sewer system and said the code requires a minimum of a one-acre area for a septic system.  Scott said some houses that want a septic system have a little under one acre and some have a little more than one acre.  Justin Meeks said he could address Scott’s legal counsel or the City of Redfield’s attorney about this issue and said the County Commissioners have no authority over the City of Redfield or the subdivision.  Justin said a KORA request could be filed with the City of Redfield for information.  Jim Harris said the County would need to work with KDHE regarding the requirements and to get the sanitation code changed.  Justin said they would need to look over the contract; Scott said he would provide a copy of the contract to them.  Jim made a motion to request Justin Meeks to get involved and review the contract, Clifton seconded and all approved.  Scott said that the County sanitation code does give the Commission the ability to grant exceptions.


Clifton made a motion to sign the Tri Valley agreement for services, Jim seconded and all approved and signed the agreement.


Lynne made a motion to transfer the operational portion of the BWERKS organization to BEDCO which includes the possession of the material assets, he said they would need to revisit this again on 12/31/2021, Jim seconded and all approved.


Lynne briefly discussed the KOMA training that the Commissioners participated in last week; he said the Commissioners are not required to televise the Commission meetings and said if people have a subject they want to discuss with the Commissioners, then they should schedule this on the agenda, Jim Harris agreed with this.  Lynne said if possible, people should be at the Commission meeting in person if they want to address the Commissioners.


Elected Officials Comment: Bill Martin and Ben Cole phoned into the Commission meeting, Bill said they had been awarded cars from seizures and said that the deputies have requested that the vehicles be used as undercover vehicles; Bill said he would contact KCAMP insurance to get the vehicles included with the fleet.  He said he would bring the cost to insure the vehicles to the Commissioners in a few weeks.


Justin Meeks discussed the tax sale, he said he will be sending petitions and summons to individuals and said he hopes to have a tax sale at the end of June.

Justin said APEX (windfarm) contacted him and said the County now has the $408,000 PILOT check; Susan Bancroft will work with Patty Love to get an account set up for this money.

Justin suggested putting on the agenda (scheduled for May 4th) a discussion over adding zoning to the November 2021 ballot.


Justin said he would start collecting data regarding population and valuation.


Susan Bancroft met with the Commissioners; she gave the Commissioners a 10-year recap of assessed valuation and mill levies for Bourbon County.  She said the Bourbon County audit is scheduled for the week of May 10th.  Susan will work with Diehl, Banwart, Bolton to do the audit.


Commissioner Comment: Jim said it was previously requested that he work with KDHE regarding the old landfill site, he presented a letter from Charles Bowers with KDHE which stated that construction at the site would be an alteration of the final cover and in accordance with Kansas Administrative Regulation (KAR) 28-29-6(b) require a permit modification application with a design and drawings sealed by a professional engineer licensed to practice in Kansas.  There is only a total of 24” of cover at the site.  Jim said the County would need to do a restrictive covenant for the site disposal area and would need to put this on file in the Register of Deeds office.


At 10: 15, Clifton made a motion to adjourn, Jim seconded and all approved.




(ss) Lynne Oharah, Chairman

(ss) Jim Harris, Commissioner

_________________, Commissioner


Doretta Neville, Bourbon County Deputy Clerk

April 27, 2021, Approved Date

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