Bourbon County Commission Minutes of Oct. 21


October 21, 2019                                                    Monday 9:00 am

The Bourbon County Commission met in open session with Commissioners Oharah and Fischer, the County Counselor and the County Clerk present.

Tammy Helm with the Fort Scott Tribune was also present.

Jim Harris & Jerad Heckman with Road & Bridge met with the Commissioners; they have been making ice chips, making asphalt for the City of Fort Scott and hauling gravel to the Garland area.  They have been working on Xavier between 85-95th, as well as working near the Phillips property at 205th & Justice Lane.  Jerad reported they had bladed Zinc between Highway 39 & 115th.  They plan to start reclaiming the road North of KOA Campground this week.  They will finish Yale Road this week.

Jim Harris said they will be installing an electronic crossing for USD 235 on October 25th.

Justin Meeks said he would prepare a resolution regarding budgeting for ambulance service.

Emergency Manager Will Wallis met with the Commissioners to discuss the debris removal from the damage after the summer flooding; Will said he had received four bids for debris removal, but is expecting two more bids.  Will asked the Commissioners to decide who should win the bid once he receives all bids.  Justin Meeks will draw up a contract for the debris removal.  Will said they have a burn permit at the Landfill for the debris.  The County will do the burning and burying of the debris.

Jeff discussed a letter from the Kansas Renewable Energy Conference from Governor Laura Kelly; the letter discussed the growth in the renewable energy sector in Kansas.

Gregory Vahrenberg with Raymond James Public Finance met with the Commissioners, also present were Ben Cole, Bobby Reed, Bill Martin, Leslie Herrin (videotaping) and Patty Love.  Bill Martin said a comment was made during budgeting about a decline in the jail sales tax so he asked Mr. Vahrenberg (Mr. Vahrenberg previously worked for Piper Jaffray and did the financial aid feasibility study when the jail was voted on) to do an analysis of the jail sales tax.  Mr. Vahrenberg said in 2015 the voters approved .40% sales tax to be used for the construction of the jail; $6,850,000 was paid for the construction and $1,770,000 for the jail pods.  The additional money collected from the sales tax was to be used to pay additional money on the bonds, refurbish or remodel the old jail space and operations.  The Commissioners asked Mr. Vahrenberg for clarification on the ballot language that was voted on.  Mr. Vahrenberg estimated in 2018 that there would be $8,654 in the annual excess sales and use tax revenue (this amount is expected to increase each year) after the jail series 2015 debt service, the pods 2016 debt service payments and the $200,000 in operating expenses were paid; he estimated the annual excess sales and use tax to grow each year and said that this excess could be a cushion used in years when the sales tax revenue is down.  Mr. Vahrenberg said the sales tax would have to drop dramatically for the County to not be able to make the payments, he said sales tax is tricky to predict and can be deceiving.  He said he didn’t see something that stands out as a concern and said he didn’t see a reason to be alarmed.  Bill questioned when the County should be alarmed; Mr. Vahrenberg said a 25% decrease in tax collection would be a concern.  Currently the County is down approximately 9% in sales tax revenue.  He said $200,000 has been budgeted in operating expense that could be used as a cushion if needed.   Mr. Vahrenberg said there will be years when there will be a growth in sales tax and years where there is a decrease in sales tax.

At 12:05, Lynne made a motion to break for lunch and reconvene at 1:00, Jeff seconded the motion.

Nick Ruhl arrived at the Commission meeting.

The Noxious Weed department sprayed chemicals at the Law Enforcement building and billed them for the chemicals; Bill Martin didn’t feel they should have to pay for the chemicals.  Lynne made a motion to keep the billing the same as it is and bill them for the chemicals, Jeff seconded and all approved.

Jeff made a motion that the Commissioners sign a real estate contract and warranty deed to give the former Noxious Weed building in Uniontown to the City of Uniontown for $0, Nick seconded and all approved and signed the contract and warranty deed.

On 10/30/2019, Jeff plans to attend a moderated conversation meeting regarding wind energy in Hepler and in Fort Scott.

Lynne made a motion to go into a 10 minute executive session for personnel matters of individual non-elected personnel, Nick seconded and all approved, (the session included the Commissioners and Justin Meeks).  No action was taken.

At 3:40, Lynne made a motion to adjourn, Jeff seconded and all approved.



Lynne Oharah, Chairman

Jeff Fischer, Commissioner

Nick Ruhl, Commissioner


Kendell Mason, Bourbon County Clerk

10/29/2019, Approved Date

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Bourbon County Local News