Bourbon County Commission Minutes of March 30

March 30, 2023,                                                                                                    Thursday 9:00 am


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


Anne Dare, Clint Walker, Patty Ropp, and Michael Hoyt were present for some or all of the meeting.


Jim Harris opened the meeting with the flag salute, followed by a prayer by Mark McCoy.


Nelson Blythe made a motion to approve the minutes from last week’s meeting. Clifton Beth seconded, and all approved.


Eric Bailey, Public Works Director, and David Singmaster, Noxious Weed Director, met to discuss an invasive weed they would like added to the county’s list of noxious weeds. They presented the Commission a packet of information about the common teasel and cut leaf teasel including pictures and a list of other Kansas counties who have added the weed to their list. Clifton explained to Nelson about how doing this would mandate landowners to spray to eradicate the weed. After some discussion it was decided to wait until the State of Kansas declares teasel as a noxious weed. Eric presented a report that detailed the final cost of the sidewalk and parking project at the courthouse. The total final cost including the labor of the county crew who performed the work, equipment costs using the FEMA rate, and all materials was $39,256.72. The Commissioners discussed how by the county performing the work there was a savings of $30,000-$40,0000 to the taxpayers based upon the bid amounts we received. Eric said he wanted to give credit to Chad Brown and his crew who worked very hard on the project. The Commissioners said the sidewalk and parking area looks great and the crew did a good job. Eric talked about going out for bid for the hay ground located at the old landfill, Elm Creek, and the radio tower on 250th Street. Nelson questioned how this worked and it was explained that individuals will submit a bid with a check and the highest bidder will win the hay rights for the year. Nelson made a motion to put out bids for hay on the various properties owned by the county. Clifton seconded the motion, and all approved. Eric said they purchased a used mower off Purple Wave for $6,700 and said that a new mower is $35,000. Jim explained how there is 1,100 miles of roads to mow in Bourbon County and that they try to mow two passes on each road. Eric said they have the sidearm mower out and are they are trimming in the southeast part of the county right now. Eric talked about a compost turner that they are watching on an auction site to possibly purchase for the landfill. Eric said they looked at the compost turner and even though it is used it is in very good condition. A new compost turner is over $100,000. Eric said they are also looking at used end dump trailers to haul chips to the asphalt plant which would save wear and tear on the dump trucks and save time and money. Eric attended the District 4 KDOT meeting in Chanute yesterday and said that KDOT has a lot of projects coming up in southeast Kansas this year. Clifton questioned the project on the highway in town and asked if KDOT had explained why the work is not progressing. Eric said that he had asked the local KDOT engineer that question and it was said that it is the contractor they have completing the work and several factors are affecting this. Eric said the rock crusher is working well and they are running five dump trucks and the belly dump trailer to try to get as much rock on the roads as possible. The new ditching machine is used daily, and they are around 255th and Native now. Clifton asked how we were doing on budgets? Jim asked if Eric had received his reports and Eric responded he had not received a report yet. Jim asked for Susan and Patty to join the meeting to explain the situation. Susan said she had finally interjected herself on Monday and found where we were off and that she had been working with Patty the past few days. Susan stated Patty did the final journal entry last night to get in balance. Susan said she now has to do adjusting entries which is the final piece to get in balance. Susan said that there are multiple items listed that they are carrying each month and she said she thinks that it may be a training issue. Patty said CIC is here today to do training on bank reconciliation with her office and the Clerk’s office. Patty said they are working on January right now and then they will proceed on to the next months. Jim questioned if after all the entries are done if Eric will be able to receive budget reports next week. Jim asked about the additional accounts that were found that Terry Sercer had recommended auditing the past seven years and Patty stated she had not received receipts yet. Jim asked if we could move forward without the receipts and Susan said you would have to talk to the auditors about this. Jim said it’s time to wrap it up, close it up, and move on. Patty was told that a KORA request could be submitted to obtain the receipts. Nelson said he had received a call about several potholes on 75th Street south of Maple Road on the gravel road. Nelson also said that on Kansas Road between 85th and 95th Streets there several potholes and there is not much gravel on the road. Eric said they are having injector problems on the grader in that district, and they are working on getting it back up and going but they will get another grader over to get it taken care of. Jim said that on 230th Street where it meets Kansas Road the water line cut has settled.


Justin Meeks, County Counselor, requested a 10-minute executive session for attorney client privilege with possible litigation.


Clifton made a motion to go into a 10-minute 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 the three commissioners, Justin Meeks, and Matt Quick and will return at 9:39. Nelson seconded the motion, and all approved. Clifton made a motion to resume normal session at 9:39 with no action. Nelson seconded the motion and both approved.


A five-minute break was taken.


Justin said he is helping Matt’s office with sanitation specifically lateral lines located in the county and that they need some additional funding to obtain training. Justin said the codes were last updated in 1998, but they are following KDHE minimums and need to look at bringing the codes into 2023. Nelson questioned how sanitation enforcement works.  Matt stated they write a letter of violation to the individual that outlines how long they have to correct the issue and if that is not completed then KDHE is contacted. Jim asked if Matt’s office speaks to the individual who is out of compliance before a letter is sent, and Matt said yes, they do talk to the individuals. Clifton wanted to reiterate that the codes that we are enforcing are mandated by the state. A copy of the codes can be obtained from Matt’s office, and they are also available online. Justin said that there used to be a full-time position for sanitation, and that Matt’s office has saved the county money by taking over the sanitation duties. Matt said he will do some research to find out how much training will cost and bring that information back to the Commissioners.


During the public comments section Michael Hoyt discussed the 3-20-23 work session and questioned why only three minutes were available online. Mr. Hoyt said that Eric recapped some of the work that is planned during the next commission meeting, but that they didn’t get a full view of the work that is going to be done in District 3 or the work that was completed in 2021 or 2022. Michael said that the commission minutes are not posted online for residents to be able to read what happened during the work session. Nelson said he was informed that the minutes had not be posted but that has since been corrected. Mr. Hoyt said that it would be beneficial to have a written program of what was completed in 2021 and 2022 and what is proposed to be done in 2023. Jim said that Eric has a ten-year road plan and that is updated every year and then they project work out for the next eight years. Eric gave a copy of the 2023 hard surface road plan to Mr. Hoyt and explained that he went over the entire plan during the 3-23-23 commission meeting as it was brought to their attention that the full 3-20-23 work session was not available on Youtube due to the courthouse losing internet. Eric said that he can provide numbers for all the asphalt that was laid in 2021 and 2022. Mr. Hoyt stated that the 2023 hard surface road plan should be posted online. Eric said that anybody can reach out to him, and he would be happy to visit and answer any questions residents may have. Michael spoke about a bridge over Wolverine Creek that he said he can see through to the water below. Eric said he has looked at the bridge and did not see any holes in the bridge and that our bridges are all inspected by licensed engineers, but that he would go back out and suggested meeting with Mr. Hoyt there to review the bridge together. Michael questioned if the soybean hulls that are going to be accepted at the landfill have been tested to see what all they contain. Clint Walker said that the proactive stance Bourbon County is taking with their sanitation codes just makes sense. Mr. Walker also said he was recently made aware of a solar farm coming in around the Devon area. Mark McCoy, Lake Advisory Board representative for the county, spoke about the last Lake Advisory meeting and said residents questioned the speed limits on 190th and 195th Streets. Mr. McCoy said he spoke to Eric Bailey and Tom Graham and there are 20 mph signs posted, but that he wanted to inform the county of what he was doing and is going provide the information to Nancy Maze who is the Chairman of the Lake Advisory Board.


Nelson Blythe asked Matt Quick back into the meeting to discuss Yale Road and explain the process of property taxes when a road is currently pavement and then milled and turned into a gravel road. Matt explained that residents can do a payment under protest when they receive their tax bill in December, and that they can come in and discuss the property and how it is valued and if adjustments need to be made then they will. Nelson said he understands that Matt has to follow state rules. Matt said anybody can come in and discuss the values of the property, but once the values are locked in, he cannot adjust them unless a payment under protest form is completed when the first half of the taxes are paid.

Clifton said he went to a presentation on a poverty program last week and that he asked them to make a presentation to the county. Clifton said it is called CORE Communities and that feels the county should support it. Jim said he has been invited to the Community Connection event on April 5, hosted by the Chamber of Commerce, and that a presentation of the program will be given then. Clifton said the presentation will not be at an open meeting the public can attend as it is just for elected officials. Justin explained the best practice of how to proceed if all three Commissioners may attend the meeting on April 5. Clifton made a motion to allow all three Commissioners to attend the Community Connection event on April 5. Nelson seconded the motion, and all approved. The Commissioners spoke about having Core Communities come and do a presentation during a normally scheduled meeting so that residents can be informed on the program. Michael Hoyt asked if he could make a few additional comments, so Clifton made a motion to amend the agenda to allow public comments again. Nelson seconded the motion, and all approved.


Michael Hoyt spoke about the presentation of the LUCAS machine and said that he saw on the news the FDA is allowing Narcan to be sold over the counter. Michael asked Nelson what type of Narcan he as a law enforcement officer carries, and Nelson stated the nasal spray. Mr. Hoyt spoke about the benefits of injectable Narcan and thinks the county should carry that form. Clifton said that EMS all have Narcan on board. Michael spoke about AEDs and Clifton said there is funding from the state available for Narcan and they are looking expanding that for other things like AEDs.


Nelson said he was contacted by an individual in town who was upset about the recent publication in newspaper about the tax sale because her deceased husband’s name was listed. Justin said in order to obtain a clear title to sell the property at a tax sale that the county has to list every name that has ever owned the property. Nelson said that it turns out it was a different individual with the same name but since there was no middle initial listed, she felt it made her deceased husband look bad, so Nelson stated that Donald V. Cummings never owned the property nor was he late on his taxes. Justin said he is hoping the tax sale at Hidden Valley will happen soon. Nelson wanted to clarify that the new vehicles purchased by the Sheriff’s Department are not why taxes are high in Bourbon County as has been stated in posts online, and that the vehicles were purchased with sales tax money.


Clifton made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 10:25. Nelson seconded the motion, and all approved.



___________________, Chairman

___________________, Commissioner

___________________, Commissioner




Jennifer Hawkins, Bourbon County Clerk

4/6/2023, Approved Date

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