Bourbon County Commission Minutes of August 30

August 30, 2022, Tuesday, 6:00 pm
The Bourbon County Commission met in open session with three Commissioners and
the County Clerk present.
Susan Bancroft, Michael Hoyt, Bernita Hill, Patty Ropp, Shane Walker, Euna Blythe,
Anne Dare, Clint Walker, Debra Dawson, Matt Quick, Rachel Walker, Jackie Pruitt,
and Chase Turner were present for some or all of the meeting.
Susan began the meeting with an opportunity for people to ask questions regarding
Revenue Neutral Rate. The County is going to exceed the RNR as there are some
unfunded things due to increases on insurance and the other is for some things going
on upstairs with County Attorney and District Court. I talked with Commissioner
Harris about looking for an area we might be able to drop the levy that we had
proposed when I did the last budget. There is a way that we can but if we do this it
will be forever so that is one thing I want to drive home is that we are using some
sales tax dollars to maybe fund some operations and by doing that you can reduce
what you were proposing by 1.2 mils. We were proposing that we would do a 62.51
mil levy this would lower it to 61.25 and your RNR is 59.907. If you were to take this
recommendation we would have a reduction in the mil levy since 2019 of 5.36 mils.
Since 2019 you have levied for $114,000 more in property taxes to cover expenses.
We would take $150,000 going on until the sales tax falls off in 2035 to fund
operations in the jail and public safety. Once this sales tax is off the rolls you will
have to levy at that time for those expenses. This is a temporary fix if you want to
reduce the levy right now. Jim stated that if we were to have growth we could make
the sales tax up.
Clint Walker stated it doesn’t matter who is setting in the commission chairs and it’s
doesn’t matter who the county assessor is. It’s not his fault, they are bound by rules
and regulations that you will bring your property values up to 90% of what it’s worth.
It’s nice the mil levy went down, but anyone who looks at their tax bill will see that
they are paying more than last year. It’s hard to keep taxes down. Expenses have
gone through the roof.
Nelson stated if we go over the RNR, we will be cutting out $311,000 from the County
budget; if we didn’t, property taxes will go up. It’s up to the public to decide if they
are willing to let $311,000 be cut from the county budget; the less money the county
is levying to more money the people are keeping, but also services can be lost too.
A gentleman asked how much money is owed in back taxes and EMS bills. He stated if
you could collect that you might make up the $311,000. Things are getting more
David Scharenberg people’s income is not increasing. Would like taxes to not
increase so people can afford to live.

Clinton Walker Other entities raise taxes not just one. If one lowers and others
raises taxes; taxes still go up.
Anne Dare People should have attended the college and schools hearings. We need
x-amount of money cut from where? Or more funds somewhere.
Chase Turner, Deputy for Bourbon County employee but here as a citizen. I moved
from Frontenac to Bourbon County. When was the last time Bourbon County was
allowed to have economic growth that has impacted us? Clifton stated that the
commissioners are working on multi-year deals. He puts in 20 30 hours per week
that the public doesn’t see. Chase stated the negativity of the RNR process now is
clashing with the idea that we are trying to have economic development. I’m
concerned if we cave to the negativity in the temporary you’re going to torpedo the
growth in the future. Is the increase today, this year or for the next few years and
the things we are asking for worth it to sustain that growth and suffer in our taxes
today. I can’t answer that for everyone, but I just hope we can ask that question of
ourselves. Nelson stated that so many people think it’s the county and local
government to increase economic development to make us prosperous. I
fundamentally disagree with that. I believe it’s the county government job to enforce
laws and keep people safe but ultimately it’s the people. We have the freedom to
bring businesses in, make smart business decisions, wake up early and go to work and
if you can do that without being overly taxed and if you can do that without rules and
regulations that are hindering you, then maybe you can be more prosperous.
Mary Pemberton: we understand the challenge of staying revenue neutral. It’s very
difficult when the price of everything you buys go up and you’re trying not to spend
any more money. One thing I noticed almost every department head that came up
and presented their budget, time after time I heard the statement “we didn’t budget
for raises, we only gave the 3%”. No one here asked or commented that a 3% raise is
a raise. If they gave 3% raises and didn’t increase their budget they obviously have
padding so to speak in their budget to begin with. Mary said she wanted to address
another statement that we can only control road & bridge and appraisers. You guys
have the budgeting authority; you set the budgets for all departments. You are
required by law to give them enough money to effectively operate their department
but what that means is that if you know the sheriff has the opportunity to cut $50,000
worth of fuel costs by buying in bulk. Take $50,000 out of their budget and say we
aren’t saying you have to buy it but we are not going to fund you not to. If they go
over their budget, I know that has some repercussions for you but it might be the only
way that people in the county will wake up and realize what’s going on and the
hostage holding that is occurring within some of the departments in their budgets
could lead to a recall or an election of someone different next time. Instead of the
way it works now when people go to the poll and they are very uninformed, most of
them, and they are just checking off a name they know. If they don’t know any of
the names, they just look to see who the incumbent is and they check that. People
need to be aware. Nelson stated it was explained to him that if the elected official

asks for something we have to give it. We give it by default then if we think it’s
unreasonable we have to go to a state hearing later and we may or may not win.
Michael Hoyt stated that Revenue Neutral is a very deceiving term. It sounds like a
good thing but it may not be.
Clifton made a motion to close the RNR hearing. Nelson seconded. All approved.
Clifton made a motion to amend the agenda to add Fire District #3 notice of hearing
to exceed Revenue Neutral Rate and budget hearing for Fire District #3 of Bourbon
County. Nelson seconded. All approved.
Clifton made a motion to open the RNR hearing for Fire District #3. Nelson seconded.
All approved.
Lou Howard requested a small budget increase that will raise our property taxes
$4.00/$100,000 home. We have no intentions of raising property taxes ever. Fire
District #3 covers 508 square miles of Bourbon County. We are Uniontown, Bronson,
Hiattville, Devon, Mapleton, Fulton and Redfield. Scott Township Fire Department
and Garland Fire Department are separate from us. We have 7 stations and 25
volunteers. We do our very best with tax dollars to provide gear and equipment but
this year it did exceed. Clifton stated speaking as a citizen, not a commissioner, that
he was a volunteer years ago and he remembered someone told him that we have to
spend this money or we won’t get it next year. I don’t know if that mind set is still
there. Clifton asked Lou to please stress that with her crew. Lou stated that they are
very careful until the end of the year and see where they are with fuel expenses and
then if there are funds remaining they look at what they have to have for the
following year. We are also first responders and EMT’s. Susan stated that there
proposed budget was $333,200. Last year it was $328,940. Clifton made a motion to
close the RNR and budget hearing for Fire District #3. Nelson seconded. All
Clifton made a motion to adopt resolution 12-22 a resolution for the County of
Bourbon, Kansas to levy a property tax rate exceeding the Revenue Neutral Rate.
Nelson seconded. Clifton clarified that we are not voting on the budget, this is a
resolution that has coming out of a senate bill that is absolute nonsense. All
approved. Clifton made a motion to adopt resolution 13-22 a resolution for the Fire
District #3, Bourbon County, Kansas, to levy a property tax rate to exceed the
Revenue Neutral Rate. Nelson seconded. All approved.
Clifton made a motion to add to the agenda the budget adoption of Fire District #3.
Nelson seconded. All approved. Clifton made a motion to adopt the budget of Fire
District #3 in Bourbon County. Nelson seconded. All approved.
Clifton made a motion to approve the minutes from August 23, 2022. Nelson
seconded. All approved.

Eric Bailey stated they completed asphalting in the Uniontown area last week and
have moved out to 215th starting at Indian and went south 1.2 miles and will make it
down to Grand and turn around and come back to finish that. Then we’ll look at
doing Grand from 39 to 39. Last Friday we had two big trees go down on 125th just
south of Mapleton. Got them cleaned up Friday night and roads back open. We
submitted two applications to the Off System Bridge Program; bridge #19.2Q-0
between 195th and 205th on Jayhawk; and the other is at 60th & Grand bridge 5.0S.9.
Bridge 518 on 215th was in the KOBIP program and I believe it has been submitted as
well. Eric stated the soybean permit has been signed and is in the mail. We can
proceed forward with building a pad for composting of soybeans. Eric stated that the
asphalt oil that they use has gone up $7,000 per load this year. Nelson asked about
working on a section of Yale Rd. between Mapleton and Hidden Valley Lake. Eric
stated that the section needs to be taken back to gravel and rework the base and
then repave it to do it right.
County Counselor Comments: No Comment
Chief Financial Officer Comments: No Comment
Chief Information Officer Comments: No Comment
Public Comment: Michael Hoyt quoted Clifton Beth from the newspaper. “People
need to show up he said. He encouraged people to provide commissioners with input
regarding the budget. Beth talked about the limited number of people who attend
the meeting or were watching the livestream online. Michael continued with, please
consider how frustrating it is when 50% of the content of a meeting is coming where
we can’t hear you. It’s either made at the back door here or comments made from
the audience. So we need microphones up there, another podium over there. The
agenda this evening said to be here at 9:00am; but then we change it to 6:00pm. So
which is it 6:00pm or 9:00am? We get confused. Nobody shows up. Justin Meeks
stated that according to the Kansas Open Meetings Act does not require for the
meeting to be videoed. This is a service to tax payers. Shane Walker stated that
YouTube is a technology that we do not own or control. If you want me to record
these meetings and broadcast them to work 100% all the time it’s $60 – $70,000. We
are not going to raise taxes to do that. Michael read from a ballot from April 7, 2015
regarding the jail sales tax. Michael stated that the jail sales tax is set to end in two
years. Justin Meeks stated he and Mr. Hoyt have had discussions regarding this issue.
It is statutory. If the sales tax went up we could pay the jail off sooner, but we are
years away from this occurring. Michael Hoyt stated that we have paid on this for 8
years and the ending balance is still over 6 million dollars. Justin stated that the
bond goes out to 2035. Susan clarified that we refinanced the bond, so if we are
talking just about bonds, there is 5.2 million on the refunding part of it and $565,000
on a couple of certificates that it didn’t make sense to refinance and so those two
together is $5.7 million. What you have to understand about the debt service and
how it’s structured is you pay interest and you pay your principal at the end and it continues to get higher each year. Normally debt service you will pay higher at the
beginning and it will get lower or it stays relatively the same but this is structured so
that we are paying more as the years go on because I think the idea is that our sales
tax revenues will go up. Sometime after, I wasn’t here at that time, they must have
determined that the sales tax was going to generate enough money to buy additional
jail pod and equipment. This is not a bond. This is a lease purchase and there is still
$1.5 million owed on that. So when Michael says it is exceeding $6 million, the bonds
aren’t exceeding that, the bonds have been paid down but you still have total debt
service in excess of the $6 million because I think there were some pods and stuff
added after the fact. Michael stated that whether the sunset date is 2025 or 2035 we
should be very careful how we spend this money and not use it outside of the jail.
Susan stated the money is being used for public safety. It is being used for
equipment, cars and paying down the debt. Justin Meeks stated that there are two
different types of sales tax and how they are on the ballot. In this case it doesn’t
have the sunset, it’s open sales tax until the bond is paid off.
Commission Comment: Nelson stated that if the point of the conversation is that we
pay our debts off quicker if possible, I agree. Clifton stated last year we refinanced
the debt and was able to save about $100,000 per year.
Nelson made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Clifton seconded. All approved.

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