Bourbon County Commission Minutes of Nov. 16

The minutes are taken from the Bourbon County website.

November 16, 2021                              Tuesday at 9 am

 

The Bourbon County Commission met in open session with Lynne, Jim, Clifton, the County Counselor and the County Clerk.

 

Also present for the meeting were, (some were present for a portion of the meeting, some were present for the entire meeting) Anne Dare, Michael Hoyt, Deb Martin, Larry Martin, Sparky Schroeder, Donna Banwart, Sarah Klassen, Loretta George (Fort Scott Biz), Rob Herrington, Drew Soloman, Drew Talbot, and Kayla Stewart.

 

Eric Bailey reported that there was 1 permit for Melvin MacFarlane on an extension at 1048 240th St.

 

Jim made a motion to approve an extension on the culvert at 1048 240th St, Clifton seconded, all approved.

 

Eric reported that at Thomas Quarry they are removing overburden. Someone ran through the gate over the weekend, but it is fixed and put back and it was reported. They are having a meeting with John George this Thursday around 9 am to look at Birch Road east of Highway 3. He’s got an idea for us to get a crossroad tube that’s collapsed to put in get the water draining to the south where its natural flow goes which will cut down on the erosion in the ditch which is three foot or so deep. It’s been fixed but it’s coming back.

 

Eric said that on Yale Rd the large patch jobs are completed, there’s a few small ones that we have to go back and do with pothole patchers. Then we’ll look at getting started with reclaiming the asphalt from the west entrance west to where it was left off before. Eric also said employees were asking about longevity pay and if that was happening again this year and when. There was discussion, the commissioners said they would check with Susan and let him know.

 

Eric said we have a couple items we would like to list on Purple Wave. One is a 2008 Sterling, the other is a 1996 Ford that was the old bridge truck. I don’t know thoughts, but I think it would be well worth getting on Purple Wave and getting them out of our inventory. The Ford has a blown motor, and the Sterling you don’t know if it’s going to run or not. We’ve had it serviced several times and quite a bit of money has been put into that truck, it’s time to let it go.

 

Jim made a motion to allow Public Works Director Bailey to post a 2008 Sterling model number AT9500 and the 1996 Ford model number F8000 on Purple Wave auction, Clifton seconded, all approved.

 

Discussion was held regarding if a replacement would be needed for the items being sold. Eric advised that they did get a new Mack not long ago to replace the other Mack but that they are looking since things are hard to find right now but they are getting by with what they have for the time being.

 

Eric said that he has gathered some information on the 13 acres to the south of the landfill, he has a little bit more to do and should have a recommendation at the next meeting.

 

Eric gave an update on the windmills. He said that the final erection is complete, they did the final road crossing Saturday morning about seven or eight and then they did the final highway crossing that afternoon right around noon, so the final crossing is done. The topouts are done, and erections are complete. There are 70 total windmills, 56 in Bourbon County and 14 in Crawford County. Now they will start with reclamation or restoring back to original condition and will follow the road use agreement that’s been put in place. The agreement has been a very good document to have, and they’ve been very good to work with and follow the road use agreement. Frank has been a lot of help; he has helped us out with several different little items that have popped up. There is a bridge deck that when

everything is completed will need fixed. It is not a danger and will be an easy fix and the windmill company will pay for it to be fixed. It come loose a little bit on one corner but want to wait until everything is complete and out of the area before we fix it.

 

Lynne stated that they had a request a long time ago on Maple Road at the intersection of 75th and Maple, on the southeast corner, they had asked if we’d go in and put some riff raff in that ditch where it’s deep. Lynne said it does have some erosion and asked Eric to take a look and see what he thinks.

 

Eric said they are hauling some rock from out at the windmill area, that has been really good clean volleyball,

basketball, and softball size and it is good to line ditches. He said they are hauling a little bit of that to Uniontown now for the county’s portion of the grant for the pond. He said that they are stockpiling it there so that way when they’re ready to start their project it’s already there and they won’t have to stop what they are doing. He said that they would take a look at it.

 

Clifton asked if anything had been done with the area by the state line they had discussed. Eric said that they are headed up there to get it done, there is a crossroad tube that is in dire need of being replaced and that is our little section that we get to take care of. He also said that Craw-Kan is in that area putting fiber in and they want to get it done before the fiber goes in.

 

Lynne said that he had something from Joe George up around 75th and Quail, he didn’t give a specific location and said that there is a culvert that needed to be cleaned out. Lynne gave his number to Eric.

Susan presented the sewer agreement for the district number one and the lake sewer residents. She said that the main changes in this agreement are under the section non-residential users, and it talks about if going forward they have any commercial or industrial user adding to the system how we will handle them. She said that how they been handling Saint Martins is they actually meter the sewage coming out. They have a lift station, and the city is able to capture the hours and then that is converted into usage and then they are charged based on that because they do a lot of extra things, like watering their animals and things like that. Since you don’t want to capture the watering, we thought that the best thing to do is to look at the lift station and that’s been working out very well. Susan said that moving forward, anybody that signs on that’s not in the district then, they’ll pay time and a half for sewer service

and then they’ll have to pay a $2,000 hookup fee. That hookup fee is for all the materials that the city would have to provide to let them tap into our sewer main as well as a $150 deposit.

 

Clifton Made a motion to approve the sewer agreement, Jim seconded and all approved.

 

Eric said that he had one more update. He said that the bridge on 7 and 39 Hwys just to the west of the junction, he did receive word back from KDOT that they’re having trouble with asphalt. They required a contractor to come back in and mill it off and relay a layer of asphalt. It has been milled off and they hope to have the asphalt laid and the bridge opened up by the end of next week.

 

Presentation on the 30 by 30 executive order and the Freedom Frontier National Heritage Area as follows:

Good morning. I’m Debbie Martin, I’m a lifelong resident of Bourbon County. Thank you for the opportunity to address this commission on our concern of the 30 by 30 executive order and the Freedom Frontier National Heritage area which encompasses 41 counties along the Kansas and Missouri border. We have three other people on to speak and would appreciate your questions at the end of our presentation, thank you. As you know our business for Fort Scott Livestock Market hosted an informational meeting on this topic. This program was very well attended by probably 100 to 125 citizens of not just Bourbon County but surrounding Kansas and Missouri. People see that our federal government is on a power trip; they use double speak and terms that seem to make it sound so innocent. Why would anyone be against preserving history heritage. We are not against these things. Our concern is the government not

pinpointing a certain designated area by putting themselves in the position to take it all for any reason any time and

the bureaucracy that goes with it. What about the unelected committees, boards, and political favors made by the department of interior who will answer to no one? We know the goal of the government is to control private property and still make us pay for it through high taxes and regulation. Private property has made this country what it is as we see the advances made through investments in conservation and common-sense agricultural practices. Many property owners live by our government seems to be on a mission to take out agriculture as we know it on many fronts. As an example, the cattle industry seems to be blamed for everything. Funny how that works that the cowboy

that wears many hats just can’t seem to do anything right when they feed the world and make pennies for their hard

work. What will become of our communities if the farmer or rancher loses his land to the government to establish another untaxed park, historical area, walking trail, or tourist area? We can’t live on tourism, as nice as that would be, it just won’t work in the long term. What happens to our local budgets when you take this land out of taxes that the

private owner is paying? Our local county commissioners have a huge responsibility to protect the citizens of their county against a greedy federal government that only cares about making themselves more powerful. I ask you to please be our firewall and do not sell us out to these empty promises. Thank you.

 

Hi, I’m Sparky Schroeder, I’ve lived in Bourbon County now for about 16 years. I’m going to talk a little bit about the

Freedom Frontier area. First, we are not against government programs, permanent easements, historical sites, soil conservation, and the like. They should be looked at on a one-to-one basis with local government input when it contains taxes. This is about boundaries.  There are 41 counties in the Freedom Frontier area not just in Kansas, also in Missouri. To put this in perspective, it’s about the size of Indiana, which is hard to believe, but it is.  Freedom Frontier area sets federal borders and jurisdiction. This is about property rights at our meeting in August of 125 people. I ask how many people knew that they were in a Freedom Frontier area, and nobody knew it and nobody

was asked when the Freedom Frontier area was created. In 2006 people were not notified or given a choice to belong. When you go to their website, they say they never interfere with landowners and their rights; it’s all volunteer.

But this is not true. No one was given the choice; this starts when they come in and want counties and cities to combine and do a comprehensive plan and go into one government. Then they’ll want zoning, and they’ll help you with the zoning. They’ll bring somebody in from outside to help you with it if you want to. Why this is bad; zoning can be used to change the use of property and can take away from the landowner known as rights to use the land as they intend. Zoning might not be bad if it is done right, done local by local people, and should be separate from the city. You say this can’t happen; well let me tell you a quick story. This is how Angel Cushing got involved. This happened in Lyon County Kansas. They started with combined city and county government then they would help with the zoning. An outside company was hired to put in the zoning. They had put in the zoning to ban barbed wire and electric fence in the county. This would eliminate livestock in the county. Lyon County is a cattle county. Come to find out, the company that put the zoning together were cricket farmers and they believe that our protein should be coming from crickets. Angel and her husband spent over 20 thousand dollars to fight this. So far, they’ve been able to keep the band of barbed wire and electric wire out of the ordinance, but the threat is still there. They’re not in a National Heritage area, but when researching their comprehensive plan, they found the plans were exactly like a

National Heritage area. Do you know that Freedom Frontier area management plan has over 500 pages and all it talks about is land preservation and recreation? This is the same wording as in the 30 by 30 land grab. They’re telling us that we do not know how to take care of our land. If you go to their website and do some research and start downloading too much information, they will lock you out of their website and you can’t get back in. This has happened to two or three people that I have talked to. What would they do if they weren’t protecting private property.

Why would they lock you out? They use colleges to do all kinds of studies and mapping because most people

won’t say no to college students. This is how they get a foothold if you’re in a permanent easement. This is like mineral rights; it can be traded right now, congress has to vote on all National Heritage areas, new and existing.

There are 55 areas across 34 states and 29 get voted on this year. Right now, there’s a bill before congress to take the power away from congress and give it to the Department of Interior. If this happens, this will be bad. All the power will be given to one individual. This is why we need your help to protect landowners. right now, they get their funding from the federal government and private donations and grants. Some of which comes from all over the world. By law, they’re supposed to be self-sufficient within 15 years from the start or the funding stops. This year is the 15th year and they’re trying to get congress to extend it. Right now, most of the money in the Freedom Frontier area is being spent in one county; that is Douglas County. Also, you cannot submit a Freedom of Information Act to see the funding received and spent. Being a non-profit, permanent effect permanent easements affect all of us and us commissioners. Every parcel that is put in a permanent easement, that property has reduced taxes. We all have to pay more and us commissioners will have to deal with less tax revenue. We are not saying permit easements are

bad, just want the control to be landowner and local government. They’re trying to start a new area in north central and south Kansas and south-central Nebraska. There are about 49 proposed counties and 44 of the 49 have already opted out of the Nebraska- Kansas National Heritage area. This shows the opposition against federal control. There are three or four counties in Freedom Frontier Area that has already opted out.  Our last line of defense we ask you to opt out and protect our property rights. Thank you for your time.

 

Good morning, I am Donna Banwart and I am a Bourbon County resident and I want to continue this discussion today. To summarize the 30 by 30 land grab, legislation that seeks to control 30 percent of America’s lands and oceans by 2030. We believe the heritage area, as discussed by Sparky, could be used as a vehicle to facilitate the land grab 30

by 30 transfer of land to the park service. Additionally, it doesn’t seem that all the stories regarding these topics produce a set of facts that can be trusted. Let me give you some background regarding the 30 by 30 legislation; the

program was adopted by the Biden administration on January 27, 2021 through executive order 14008. Tackling the climate crisis at home and abroad. It is not hard to understand that this 30 by 30 is an unconstitutional policy shift moving us from a nation founded on private property principles to one controlled by the administrative state. I am sure you are aware that the proponents argue that climate impacts are human-caused and therefore it is necessary for the government to control 30 percent of America’s lands and oceans to reverse climate change. However, the science and data do not justify these extreme policy measures. Also remember the advocates of this cause are those that live in big cities and have no idea what it is like to have the freedoms inherent to the wide-open spaces we all

love and appreciate. Landowners in Bourbon County have always been good stewards of our land. Kansas land owners provide the best habitat for species and wildlife while producing the necessary food, fiber, minerals, and energy we depend on to create wealth, defend our liberties, and mostly live free. With this short description you now

understand the impact this legislation could have on our landowners in Bourbon County. It could potentially strip us of our rights to decide how to use the land that we have worked hard to own and operate. It could greatly diminish the ability and rights to make a living off of our land. Therefore, we are requesting and strongly urging the commissioners to sign resolutions opposing the blanket national heritage area designation and the proposed 30 by 30 land grab.

The resolutions only provide a layer of defense for the Bourbon County land owners. The many advantages of passing these resolutions include it helps protect the landowners that are not aware of how this type of legislation impacts the ownership of their land. Private property owners have never been notified that Bourbon Bounty has been

designated as a National Heritage Area and many have never heard of the 30 by 30 land grab.  It shows your support for the agriculture base in Bourbon County and the landowner working hard to support their families. It also keeps the land as private property which keeps the tax base and spending of monies earned from the land in Bourbon County.

It sends a clear message to the federal government that Bourbon County supports the freedom to own land and use that land freely. Finally, it will help support our elected representatives as they take a stand against the program. Both Senator Moran and Senator Marshall have proposed legislation terminating the 30 by 30 land grab. I must emphasize that there is no downside in passing and signing these resolutions. We are recommending again; it is just the first line of defense that Bourbon County landowners can use to protect the ownership of their property. I now turn the presentation over to Anne Dare as she discusses the resolutions, we have determined to be best through our many hours of research and discussion with other Kansans. Hopefully we have taken the work off your plate so both resolutions can be signed in an expedited manner, thank you.

 

Good morning, guys my name is Anne Dare, I live in Bourbon County. Several months ago, during a presentation on what zoning might look like for our county, I could hold my piece no longer and asked if I brought something that would protect the private property rights of landowners, would you consider it. As I remember you all answered yes. So here we are I, have attempted today to paint you a picture of the need for such a resolution. A word used on occasion by the county councilor is foreseeability, it is sad that in this day and age we have to be seers into the future to try and determine what our government and others could possibly do to us that we would need protection from.

I present before you two resolutions both of which would protect the private property rights of our citizens in the

event our government would want to tell our farmers and ranchers how our land should be used. In the end our current administration may not hear our voices and do as they wish anyway, however these documents would stand as a written testimony to our objections of placing our land into a designation that could possibly lead to a government land grab and taken out of our control. For an overview of the national heritage area, we oppose blanket designations that put dissenting private landowners in the unreasonable position of having to opt out of federally mandated boundaries. We oppose interference by special interest groups that do not have the historical perspective or deeply felt stewardship responsibility of owners who have worked the land over several generations.  Fundamental interdependence exists between individual liberty and the ability to own property. We are very concerned that a national heritage area would deprive landowners of their ability to use and enjoy their property as they see fit. We would therefore ask that it be resolved that Bourbon County opposed any national heritage area designation for the state of Kansas it does not wish to confer upon an unelected regional management entity. The ability to establish land use policy within the boundaries of Bourbon County. The 30 by 30 overview resolution refers to permanently locking up 30 of the earth’s land and water by 2030. Executive order 14008 is silent about what conservation means, nor does it state where the 30 percent is coming from. The administration has not provided a scientific basis for why 30 percent of the earth’s land mass needs to be permanently protected, nor have they answered that doing so will

cure the perceived immediate climate crisis. 15 governors and 16 members of congress are still waiting for a response to letters sent in March and April of 2021 opposing 30 by 30. The executive order cites no constitutional statutory or other lawful authority of the president to dictate 30 by 30. 30 by 30 is to be a local initiative it is not. It began as a global half-earth proposal. We believe that 30 by 30 is contrary to the rights interest history heritage

way of life children and grandchildren of Bourbon County citizens and to the interests of Bourbon County’s local

government. We believe that ranchers and farmers have always been the better stewards of their own land, and that government managed land is the most poorly managed land. Clay, Coffey, Lynn, Osage, and Anderson counties are the five counties in the Freedoms Frontier National Heritage area that have already signed 30 by 30 and national heritage area opposition resolutions we would respectfully ask that upon your review that at next week’s meeting you

would approve and sign these resolutions in order to ensure this commission’s support of the proper private property

rights of those in bourbon county.

 

Sarah Klassen spoke as to her experience trying to opt out individually and how hard and time consuming that it was. She expressed her concerns on the topic and why she feels the county should opt out.

 

There was discussion and then Lynne asked to have the topic back on the agenda in 2 weeks to give them time to review the resolutions and research the topic more.

 

Justin Meeks asked for an executive session to discuss non-elected identifiable individuals for performance issues, I need myself, the three commissioners, and Susan for 15.

 

At 10:11 am Clifton made a motion to executive session KSA 75-4319(b)(1) to discuss personnel matters of individual non-elected personnel to protect their privacy. This session will include the three commissioner, Councilor Meeks and Susan for job performance for 15 minutes and return at 10:26, Jim seconded, all approved.

 

 

Clifton made a motion to return to normal session at 10:26 am, Jim seconded and all approved.

 

Justin talked about the executive session that will be held at noon. He said there will be a

non-disclosure agreement that will need to be signed in order for them to attend the meeting. He said the reason that we’re leaving the county building is that we have had some problems in the past with information being overheard from the commission room and from the other room used for executive sessions. We really don’t have a

secured facility big enough to make sure that we don’t have anybody standing by the doorway listening. Justin said they are going to walk across the street and use a secured facility that we know is going to be soundproof. Once that

meeting’s over with, there’s going to be a public hearing where information can be disseminated but it’s a matter of how much they want to give out. I think you guys are going to get some information that maybe won’t be disseminated initially and there’s some proprietary things at a high level that hopefully someday will get released but

at this point that will not be let out in the public.

 

Justin also said that he is still working on the tax sale, there’s a land bank meeting today at five o’clock, so we’ll

have some information by the end of that. The new city commissioners are interested in the tax sales so hopefully

we get it done sooner than later.

 

Susan didn’t have anything to report.

 

Public Comment:

Clint Walker said that it’s nice that the citizens are finally getting involved in government, he just wished they would have gotten involved sooner.

 

Michael Hoyt expressed his concerns with voter turnout and how people are registered in Bourbon County that don’t even live here anymore.

 

Ashley Shelton explained the process for changing a person’s status in the voter registration system. Every year that it is reviewed but without notification from the voter themselves, they must have no voting history for 2 presidential general elections for our office to change their status.

 

Commissioners asked Susan in the longevity pay was budgeted for again this year and she said it was budgeted for 2021 & 2022.

 

Elected official comments:

Sheriff Martin asked if there was a software program to help departments budget next year since the employee benefits will all come out of each department. Susan advised that there is not a software program they just use excel. She advised that the clerks office can get them numbers for benefits, and she can check the numbers for them to make sure that they don’t go over budget.

 

Lynne said they would break until noon. He said that they would meet back in the commission room shortly before noon to go into executive session and then they would come back to the courthouse at 1 pm and Noble Health will make an announcement.

 

Clifton made a motion to resume normal session at 11:55 am, Jim seconded, all approved.

 

At 11:56 Clifton made a motion to go into executive session under KSA 42-4319(b)(4)-to discuss data relating to financial affairs or trade secrets of corporations, partnerships, trust, and individual proprietorships. The executive session is to be held at another location and includes the 3 county commissioners, Councilor Meeks, the Fort Scott City Commissioners and their legal counsel, Susan Bancroft, Rob Herrington, and representatives from Noble Health, and they will return to the commission room at 1:05 pm. Jim seconded and all approved.

 

Clifton made a motion to resume normal session with no action at 1:05 pm, Jim seconded and all approved.

 

Clifton made a motion to move Judge ward up on the agenda to be next, Jim seconded and all approved.

 

Judge Ward presented that due to the state’s guidelines and COVID protocol that they can not use the small courtroom at this time and are unable to hold larger trials at this time. He said that if nothing changes in the near future that they may have a need for more space to be able to hold larger trials. Judge Ward said he would let them know if and when they will need more space but that they can think about it and what options may be available if that is needed.

 

Rob Herrington advised that Drew Soloman the CEO from Noble Health will make a brief statement and questions can be directed to Rob, BBCO REDI, or Bourbon County.

 

 

Drew Soloman with Noble Health advised that they are happy to report that they are going to move forward with the next phase of the assessment process with regard to reopening of a facility in Fort Scott, Ks and Bourbon County. Today was one of 3 meeting that they will be having with the commission.

 

Rob advised that there will be another meeting with the city and county commission again in the next few weeks. He thanked everyone that has helped with this project and made it possible.

 

Commissioner Harris thanked Commissioner Beth for his work on the project as well.

 

Anne asked what phase 2 would look like.

 

Lynne said that they can not really talk about it since they signed a non-disclosure agreement.

 

Commissioner Beth said that they are talking to Noble Health and there are a lot of things that need to happen and lots of work to still be done.

 

Drew Talbot with Via Christi advised that they have been in contact with Noble Health and they are going to honor their contract and have been working with Noble Health to see what services would be viable and they want to be a part of that.

 

The commissioner thanked Via Christi for all they have done for our community as well.

 

Discussion was held and no results from the study have been released at this time and Commissioner Beth said that he isn’t sure that they study is even done.

 

At 1:22 pm Jim made a motion to adjourn the meeting, Clifton seconded, and all approved.

 

 

 

 

 

Meeting adjourned at 1:22 pm

 

 

 

THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS

OF BOURBON COUNTY, KANSAS

(ss) Lynne Oharah, Chairman

(ss) Jim Harris, Commissioner

(ss) Clifton Beth, Commissioner

ATTEST:

 

Ashley Shelton, Bourbon County Deputy Clerk

November 23, 2021, Approved Date

 

 

 

 

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