February 23, 2023 Thursday, 9:00 a.m.
The Bourbon County Commission met in open session with Commissioners Jim Harris and Clifton Beth and the County Clerk present.
Mark McCoy, Anne Dare, Patty Ropp, Michael Hoyt, Jason Silvers, David Klein, Lora Holdridge, George Collinge, and Larry Howard were present for some or all of the meeting.
Jim Harris opened the meeting the with flag salute, followed by a prayer led by Mark McCoy.
Clifton Beth made a motion to approve the minutes from last week’s meeting, Jim seconded and all approved. Clifton made a motion to approve payroll in the amount of $172,629.06 and accounts payable totaling $121,336.19. Jim seconded, and all approved.
Eric Bailey, Public Works Director, gave an update on the sidewalk and parking project. Eric said they are pumping water out of the west end of the parking area, then they will pour the gutter and parking. Jim asked if the City of Fort Scott is going to address the water issues since the water runs across the street and pools there. Eric said they are aware of the issue and have looked at the area. Jim suggested one of them meet with the City Manager about the water issue. The old crusher is listed on Purple Wave to sell during their March 21 auction. Purple Wave had some incorrect contact information listed, but Eric has reached out to get that corrected. Eric stated there is interest in the crusher as he has already received a few phone calls about it. The new crusher is on the way to Humboldt for repairs and it is expected it will be down for about three days. All the repairs will be covered under warranty. The Public Works crew is removing overburden at Beth Quarry to prepare for another blast. The ditching machine is currently in Mapleton, and Eric plans to move to each district every few weeks to work on ditches. Eric said the machine is working very well and gets the water moving, but it will take some time to get the hang of it all. Jim asked who the operator is, and Eric said TJ Newman is running the machine and doing a very good job. We had an MSHA inspection last week and had two minimal violations. One was the headlights on the fuel truck, the spring broke on the dimmer switch, but they now have that fixed. Also, there was a paper at the front of the notebook that needed updated and that has been fixed as well. Jim said that was a very good inspection from MSHA. Eric said crews are cleaning up dead trees throughout the county using the lift. Eric said he was contacted by the City of Fort Scott’s codes department about a citywide clean up and was asked if the county would consider waiving MSW fees. Jim said the last time we did this it was very expensive to haul the waste to Allen County and the county ended up paying several thousand dollars. He thinks if we participate, then the city would need to help cover some of the costs. Eric said if there is a cleanup, he thinks it should be county wide and not just for city residents. Eric stated he will come back to the commission after he visits some more with City of Fort Scott. Jim said a resident he spoke to in the Northwest part of the county commended the county for the great job they did fixing the low water crossing. Eric said that Jerry Heckman did the repairs, and he is very good with
his blade. Eric said the motor went bad on the skid steer and they are getting numbers on how much they have spent on repairs and will meet with a representative of the company where it was purchased. Clifton made a motion to allow Jim to meet with Eric and the representative to discuss the skid steer.
Jim seconded the motion, and all approved.
Eric Bailey requested a 7-minute executive session. Clifton made a motion to go into executive session under KSA 75-4319 (b)(1) to discuss personnel matters of individual nonelected personnel to protect their privacy to include the two Commissioners Eric Bailey, Jennifer Hawkins, and Susan Bancroft for 7 minutes and will return at 9:21. Jim seconded, and all approved. Clifton made a motion to resume normal session at 9:21 with no action. Jim seconded the motion, and all approved.
George Collinge met with the Commission to discuss Eagle Road. George started off by thanking the Commissioners and Eric Bailey for the job they do. Mr. Collinge said he had done some research on Eagle Road, which used to be known as Garland Road, and there was a newspaper article from 1928 stating the road was hard surface from 250th St to the state line. George said the section of the road from 69 Highway to 250th St. has been paved for 50 years, ever since the new highway came in. George stated people base where they buy a house or build a house on the roads they have to travel and that nobody likes having a paved road turned into gravel. Due to safety issues and complaints about the poor condition of Eagle Rd the Commissioners had to make a decision about four years ago. A public meeting was not held it was just decided to tear the pavement up and make it a gravel road, which it had not been for over fifty years. George said the paving on 250th St. has provided an alternate route to town, but that many residents still have to use Eagle Rd. Dust is a big issue now on Eagle Road. George said that when Commissioner Harris ran, he promised to pave Eagle Rd and 250th St. Mr. Collinge suggested paving one mile of the road as a start due to budget constraints and then pave the rest the next year.
Jim said a work session is planned soon, and he is hoping to work with Eric and the other commissioners to be able to pave one mile of the road. Due to the other two districts having the majority of the paving projects last year district three will receive first choice this year. Jim said he has looked for state money, and is working with Eric and the limited budget, but is hopeful they can make something happen and Eagle Road is a high priority for district two. Due to the thickness the road has to be to withstand the heavy grain trucks, Jim estimates it will cost $250,000 per mile to pave Eagle Road. Anne Dare questioned if in the meantime there was something that could be done to keep the dust down on Eagle Road. Jim said they could drag it and put oil down, but Clifton said the problem is we have thousands of miles of gravel road, and we can’t do for one and not for all. The speed of the traffic was discussed, and it was determined there were no posted speed limit signs. Jim asked the residents that were present if they would be ok with a 40 mph speed limit, and they responded yes. Jim made a motion to have Eric Bailey post 40 mph signs on Eagle Road from 69 Highway to 250th St. Clifton seconded the motion, and all approved. Jim said he would let George know when the work session is and would like everybody to come and give their input.
Lora Holdridge presented a road closure for a stretch of 75th St. near Xenia. Lora handed out several maps and discussed how they are trying to consolidate four maps into one, and that two of the maps are
showing 75th St. stopping at Victory Road. Lora said when she first started getting the road records up to date, she went through all the road closures, and this road was not listed as being closed. Bret & Kyle Oswald own both sides of the road and want to show the road closed at Victory Rd. The Oswalds are already paying taxes on the road since it is undriveable, we just need a resolution to make it official.
Clifton said we need to make sure we have a starting point and an ending point of the road we are closing because 75th St. goes all the way to the Crawford County line. Lora is going to provide the Clerk the dimensions and present a resolution next week.
A short break was taken, and the Commission resumed the meeting at 9:44.
Jennifer Hawkins presented an invitation that Teri Hulsey, EMS Director, sent to the Commissioners for a meet and greet on March 6 at noon to introduce Dr. Krumsick, the new medical director for EMS. Clifton made amotion to allow all Commissioners to attend, with no county business being conducted. Jim seconded the motion, and all approved.
The County Clerk presented two cereal malt beverage license renewals for KC Mart at 946 Highway 69. Clifton made a motion to approve permit #214 and #215 for KC Mart and to allow the chairman to sign the permits. Jim seconded, and all approved
Jim Harris discussed the possibility of placing an overpass south of town and said that one of the proposed locations is on Jayhawk Rd. Due to trains sitting at intersections, emergency personnel are having difficulty getting to the east side of the county. Jim made a motion to allow him permission to work with Bourbon County REDI on applying for a grant for a feasibility study for an overpass on the south side of Fort Scott. Jim said this is not for a grant to build an overpass, this is for the study which is something we have to have before we could even apply for grants to build an overpass. Clifton seconded the motion, and all approved. Clifton said that they received an email from SEKRPC and that a grant might not have to be applied for as the committee has already received a grant that could potentially cover the feasibility study. Rob Harrington stated the Regional Planning Commission has received an $800,000 federal grant to do a large-scale regional feasibility study on road projects in southeast Kansas. This group will come back after they do this study, which could take years since it is for all of southeast Kansas, and our overpass project may not be one they choose. In order to participate in this study, Bourbon County would have to pay $2200 to SEKRPC. Jim said that this would be a good route to go but if this could take three years to get a study then he doesn’t want to do that. Rob said if they started in Bourbon County, it may not take that long but if SEKRPC started in another county it might be a few years before they got to our county. Jim said they could meet with SEKRPC and determine what route they would like to go. Susan Bancroft said meeting with KDOT and BNSF would be good and there is a statute that the railroad would have to pay 5% of a project that closes a railroad crossing.
Jim requested a 7-minute executive session. Clifton made a motion to go into executive session under KSA 75-4319(b)(1) to discuss personnel matters of individual nonelected personnel to protect their privacy including both Commissioners and will return at 10:02. Clifton made a motion to resume normal session at 10:02 with no action. Jim seconded the motion, and all approved.
Bobby Reed presented a letter to the Commissioners on Bill Martin’s behalf regarding the electronic use policy. Bobby asked that the County Clerk date stamp the letter and email a copy to Sheriff Martin.
Bobby asked that any questions be directed to Bill upon his return.
Clint Walker stated he received wage information and asked if Justin Meeks, the County Counselor, also works as the Assistant County Attorney. Jim said that is correct.
Michael Hoyt questioned an accounts payable entry for Amazon Capital Services, asking why we would set up reserve account under an Amazon credit card. Jennifer clarified that the charge is for an Amazon invoice and is paid out of the computer reserve fund the county has. Michael asked when we could get the work session for the roads set, and Eric Bailey stated he is currently waiting on one other person to meet with him so that he can get information on chip and seal. Eric said after that he will be able to bring pricing to the Commission so that they can accurately determine how much work can be done with their limited budget. Mr. Hoyt asked Eric to look at the bridge on Poplar Road over Wolverine Creek stating it is dangerous and that you can see through the bottom of it. Michael said that he thinks Poplar Road from 69 Highway to 235th Street should be paved as it is a major exit road. Mr. Hoyt had previously discussed going off the road during a winter storm and said he measured the drop off and it was 10 feet and feels that a guardrail needs to be placed there. Jim asked the location, and it is on 235th Street between Osage Road and Poplar Road.
Anne Dare discussed the commission agenda form and questioned the payroll amounts from 2-14-23 and 2-23-23 and why one was $30,000 less. Jim said he would have to do some research to determine why there was that much of a difference. Anne also said she hopes that anybody who uses a credit card for purchases does so using our tax-exempt status as a government entity. Anne questioned how much money the county has unnecessarily paid in sales tax.
Michael Hoyt asked if all the deputies have credit cards is 5 Corners billed seperately for their fuel? The Commissioners said that would be question for the Sheriff.
The Commissioners took a 10-minute break and returned at 10:19.
Michael Hoyt stated he is helping the Veteran Services Coordinator in LaHarpe, who is having health issues, and he will help with claims or paperwork at no charge. Mr. Hoyt said he would be willing to help any Bourbon County residents as well.
Clifton amended the agenda to add two executive sessions. Jim seconded, and all approved.
Clifton made a motion to go into a 7-minute executive session under KSA 75-4319 (b)(12) to discuss matters relating to the security measures, if the discussion of such matters at an open meeting would jeopardize such security measures including both Commissioners, Justin Meeks and Shane Walker and will return at 10:29.
Clifton made a motion to resume normal session at 10:29 with no action. Jim seconded the motion, and all approved.
Justin Meeks requested a 5-minute executive session. Clifton made a motion for an executive session under KSA 75-4319 (b)(2) for consultation with an attorney for the public body or agency which would be deemed privileged in the attorney-client relationship to include both Commissioners and Justin Meeks and will return at 10:36. Jim seconded the motion, and all approved.
Clifton made a motion to resume normal session at 10:36 with no action. Jim seconded, and all approved.
Lora Holdridge asked to amend the agenda for an executive session.
Clifton made a motion to amend the agenda for an executive session. Jim seconded, and all approved.
Clifton made a motion to go into a 5-minute executive session under KSA 75-4319(b)(1) to discuss personnel matters of individual nonelected personnel to protect their privacy including both Commissioners and Lora Holdridge and will return at 10:44. Jim seconded, and all approved.
Clifton made a motion to resume normal session at 10:44 with no action. Jim seconded, and all approved.
Clifton stated that every employee of the county, including elected officials and their employees, when they walk in the door, they just own their clothes they are wearing. The computers are owned by the people of Bourbon County, the vehicles are owned by the people of Bourbon County and are not their personal property. The Appraiser’s vehicles are not his they are owned by Bourbon County. The dozer and road grader in road and bridge are not owned by road and bridge but by Bourbon County. The Sheriff’s vehicles are not the property of the Sheriff’s department, they are the property of the county.
We have people in our organization that seem to think the equipment is theirs, it is not nor is the money they are given theirs. It is the people of Bourbon County’s, it is all the taxpayer’s money, not just elected official’s money. He said the general public should be furious and that his comments are not made to the general public but directed internally.
Jim said that the computers in all elected official’s offices belong to the county, to the tax payers. For us to spend money on an outside attorney from the Sheriff’s department to tell us that we’re not in charge of their employees is ridiculous. We are in charge of that computer, we’re responsible for the programs, that’s what our IT department does.
Clifton made amotion to adjourn at 10:49. Jim seconded, and all approved.