Bourbon County Commission Minutes of Nov. 10, 2020

November 10, 2020                                                             Tuesday 9:00 AM


The Bourbon County Commission met in open session with Commissioner Oharah, Commissioner Fisher, the County Counselor and the County Clerk present. Also present where the following, (some were present for the entire meeting some were present for a portion of the meeting) Jason Silver’s with the Fort Scott Tribune, Jim Harris, Nancy Van Etten, Mr. and Mrs. Clint Walker, Shane Wood, Deb McKinney, Anne Dare and Nancy Mayes.


Lynn made a motion to go into a 10 minute executive session for non-elected personnel, Jeff second the motion and the motion passed, (present for the session were the Commissioners, Justin Meeks and Eric Bailey (by telephone). No action was taken.


Eric Bailey (by phone) discussed Elm Creek Lake; he said they have identified an area on the northeast corner of the dam that is causing problems; they are waiting on Frank Young to get back to discuss if it’s solid rock or shale and then get information on a cost of drilling in that area.


Eric Bailey said the pothole patcher is working in the northwest area of the County and will be heading to the southeast area. They are also still installing culverts.


Lynne reported that the Uniontown School asked that Maple and 75th be closed on November 11th, for the Veterans Day parade, Eric said he would take care of this.


Eric reported that they had blasted at the Blake quarry and now will move to the Shepherd quarry to prepare to do a blast there.


Jeff question if the bridge load rating signs we’re all posted around the county, especially in the southwest portion of the county.  He said with the wind development starting, we need to make sure the signs are posted.  Eric said he would check for the signs. Jeff said that we needed to make sure they were following the counties right of way standards.


Jeff Fisher read a letter of support for CHC SEK (the primary care provider occupying Mercy Hospital building); the letter was to support for them to apply to be a public transportation provider. Jeff made a motion to give the chairman permission to sign the letter of support, Lynn seconded and the motion passed and Lynn signed the letter of support.


Monica Murnan with Greenbush discussed the Spark grant funds; she said they were at the point of the grant process where the Commissioners may need to make some adjustments. She said a lot of the community businesses understand the gift that this is regarding mitigating COVID-19. Monica said we may have about $10,000 not assigned and will need to delegate that money elsewhere in December. Monica will meet with the Commissioners again on December 1 and December 8. Monica said they are following up with grant recipients gathering the needed data. She said if a recipient wants to spend money where it was not allocated she will bring those issues to the Commissioners to see if they want to allow them to spend it out of a different category. She said they were going to pull the MOU for Little Tigers Daycare since they hadn’t heard from them.


Jody Hoener met with the Commissioners; she said the City of Chanute’s IT department had been awarded a $1.6 million grant for connectivity. Jody contacted them to learn to see if there was anything for our community. She got contacts at the State level for any possible future connectivity grants.  Monica suggested that Jody contact the City of Pittsburg and the Pittsburg schools regarding the grants as well.


Jody Hoener gave a BWERC update; she said the BWERC location is open at 17 S. Main Street. She said they are seeing a need for businesses to get assistance. Jody asked if she could move the furniture from her office at the Courthouse to the BWERC location (she said the furniture was purchased with Healthy Bourbon County Action team money), Lynn asked that they discuss this next week when Clifton was going to be there.


The Commissioners discussed the sewer district hookup; Justin has been working with Susan Bancroft at the City of Fort Scott regarding the sewer district.  Justin gave the Commissioners an updated service agreement for them to review.  They will discuss this again next week. There was concern over locations on Indian road wanting to connect to the sewer district and whether or not the sewer could handle all of the additional connections. Shane Wood said he had bought a lot at the Fort Scott Lake and was initially told it had sewer on the lot, he said he had worked with Michael Mix at the City of Fort Scott who told him he had sewer on the lot but he couldn’t find it, it didn’t have sewer but was told to find the line of where it connects, he didn’t have a line and said it would be about $20,000 for him to get on the sewer district, when he initially was told he had sewer. His property is on the East side of the Lake. It was stated that there is a need for sewer policies but the policies needed to be upfront so people knew what they we’re getting into. Jeff Fisher said he was OK with waiving the fees for Saint Martin’s and the Woods property, but with the proposed condominium development at the Lake they realized the sewer board needed to be organized with an inter-local agreement. Jeff Fisher said there might eventually be a fire station near the lake which could help with the insurance ratings there. Nancy Van Etten spoke as the lake advisory chairperson; she also wanted to review the document from Justin Meeks. Nancy presented a letter asking to move land from the Bourbon County fire District #3 to Scott Township fire district #5. Justin responded to her letter with a letter that said he felt the Bourbon County Commissioners had no authority over these fire districts. He said the petition is not substantial and is not in the required form and thus is not valid as presented.


Bill Martin, Bobby Reed, Ben Cole and Rachel Thompson (videotaping) met with the Commissioners regarding the COVID-19 leave time; Bobby discussed the COVID-19 pandemic he said he is pro employee and thinks the County handbook needs to revised to define what the County can do for employees who have contracted Covid at work. He said he had an employee that went into the hospital due to COVID-19, he said this employee had no sick or vacation time and used all of the 80 hours of COVID-19 leave time given to them. Bobby felt we needed to do something for all employees, he said he thought the County needed to take better care of our employees. Lynne said he talked to KCAMP regarding the 80 hours of Covid leave time, emergency personnel could be excluded from this 80 hour policy and that it would be up to the elected officials to allow them to use this leave time.  Bobby wants something beyond the 80 hours for the employees. Bill said the outdated policy needs to be addressed. Bill said this could affect all of the employees, Bobby said he contacted KCAMP and Kworcc and that Covid is not covered under work comp. Bobby said the Covid leave time runs out on December 31 and asked what we were going to do after that. Jeff Fisher said he saw everyone in the room except Bill and Bobby wearing their masks right, (Bill and Bobby did not have their masks covering their nose) Bobby said everyone has their own opinion on wearing masks. Lynne said they would have a discussion over this.


Greg Motley with BEDCO met with the Commissioners with a BEDCO budget request. He discussed economic development and suggested the most advantageous structure for economic development is a 501(c) (3), which could qualify them for a range of grants and programs that municipalities cannot. He discuss Thrive Allen County which has a seven-figure budget and eight employees, he said they help municipalities write grants and provide other services which helps keep the expenses incurred local. He asked for the Bourbon County Commission to fund the initial effort in the amount of $130,000. Greg said their focus would be to bring outside money to us. The Commissioners did not make a decision on this but will discuss this again next week.


Patty West, Lynette Westhoff and Brad Hartman met with the Commissioners regarding the Counties property and work comp. insurance. Patty and Lynette had been gathering data to quote the counties 2021 insurance, but were recently told that the Commissioners had decided to stay with KCAMP and Kworcc for the 2021 year. Patty said they were very disappointed that they were shut down in the quoting process.  Lynne said the County had not put the insurance up for bid for 2021, but said they would put it up for bid for the 2022 year.  Jeff said our current insurance companies also provides a lot of risk management services, Patty said their companies can also offer this.  Bill Martin said he had sent a mass email to different Sheriff’s departments, he said he believed in buying and living local.  He said KCAMP is located in Topeka and their board is made up of all County officials, he said EMC is located in Iowa and the directors are not local.  Bill said some of the counties were in support of KCAMP and some were in support of EMC; Bill said he recommended KCAMP, he said the biggest liability for the County is the Sheriff’s department and the jail.  Lynnette asked Bill for the copies of the emails he received so that she could research the statements made regarding claims for EMC.  If the County selected Travelers Insurance Patty West would be the local contact and if the County selected EMC Insurance Lynnette Westhoff would be the local contact, but both would be available to assist the County.

Justin Meeks said there was an issue brought up by Michael Hoyt; he said a protest petition was filed regarding the City of Fort Scott purchasing a fire truck, Justin said general obligation bonds were not being used to purchase the truck and said grant money is being used to purchase the truck.  Justin said Mr. Hoyt was submitting a question to the AG’s office regarding this issue.  Justin said he would issue a formal letter to Mr. Hoyt.

Jeff made a motion to go into a 20 minute executive session for confidential data relating to financial affairs or trade secrets of corporations, partnerships, trusts and individual proprietorships, Lynne seconded and the motion passed, (the session included the Commissioners, Jody Hoener, Justin Meeks and Bill Brittain).  No action was taken.

Jeff made a motion to go into a 10 minute executive session for personnel matters of individual non-elected personnel, Lynne seconded and the motion passed, (the session included the Commissioners and Jody Hoener).  No action was taken.


The 2020 General Election canvass is scheduled for 10:00 am, November 12th; the Commissioners are the canvassing board (Lynne and Jeff plan to attend).


Jeff made a motion to allow Lynne to sign a non-disclosure agreement; Lynne seconded and signed the agreement.


Eddie Harrison asked the Commissioners what the status was regarding the leak at Elm Creek Lake; the Commissioners said Eric Bailey reported that Ag Engineering said the problem is located at the northeast corner of the lake and said they were going to drill samples there.


Don George with KDWP met with the Commissioners regarding Elm Creek Lake; he said Elm Creek is a WPA project with quality workmanship.  Don said they want to be involved with the project and said when they were looking for grant money for the Lake he might be their source.  He said their grant money would need to be applied for by the 2nd week of May and said the grants max out at $40,000.  He asked that the Commissioners call him and said together they would look at other projects in the County that are part of KDWP.  Jeff asked Don George to contact Frank Young regarding Elm Creek Lake.


Deb McCoy and Nancy Van Etten met with the Commissioners regarding Fire District #3 and #5 and the possibility of transferring land from one to the other.  Justin said they needed to learn how the Scott Fire District was formed.  Jeff said that Scott (FD #5) wants to build a fire station near the west side of the Lake.


Lynne made a motion to amend the agenda to allow for executive sessions, Jeff seconded and the motion passed.


Lynne made a motion to go into a 30 minute executive session for personnel matters of individual non-elected personnel, Jeff seconded and the motion passed, (the session included the Commissioners, Justin Meeks, Eric Bailey (by phone) and Kendell Mason).  No action was taken.


Jeff made a motion to go into a 15 minute executive session for personnel matters of individual non-elected personnel and to move the session to a different location on County property due to confidentiality, Lynne seconded and the motion passed, (the session included the Commissioners, Eric Bailey (by phone) and Justin Meeks.  No action was taken.


Lynne made a motion to go into a 10 minute executive session for personnel matters of individual non-elected personnel and to move the session to a different location on County property due to confidentiality, Jeff seconded and the motion passed, (the session included the Commissioners, Clifton Beth and Eric Bailey (by phone), and Justin Meeks.  After the session, Jeff made a motion to give Lynne the authority at his discretion to handle a non-elected personnel issue, Lynne seconded the motion and the motion passed.  Justin Meeks said he would be doing some HR functions with Lynne in the next 48 hours and said KAC had been contacted this morning regarding an issue.


At 1:20, Jeff made a motion to adjourn, Lynne seconded and all approved.




(ss) Lynne Oharah, Chairman

(ss) Jeff Fischer, Commissioner

(ss) Clifton Beth, Commissioner


Kendell Mason, Bourbon County Clerk

November 24, 2020, Approved Date








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