Bourbon County Commission Minutes of Sept. 17

September 17, 2019                                        Tuesday 9:00 am

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

Jim Harris and Jerad Heckman with Road & Bridge met with the Commissioners; Jim said they are wedging on 245th. He said that two of the Freightliner trucks broke down last week. They made 240 tons of asphalt for the City of Fort Scott. He said they took the patcher to do work on 240th & Jayhawk. He said they are mowing around the county. They are crushing and making chips at the Beth Quarry. They have been using the excavator at the Shepherd Quarry clearing out the floor.

Charles Gentry (the secretary of St. Martin’s Academy) met with the Commissioners to discuss the St. Martin’s Academy located east of the Fort Scott Lake on Indian Road.   St. Martin’s is a boy’s boarding school for freshman to seniors that offers a classical education and farm work experience. There are currently 29 students at the school, 12 paid staff as well as volunteers at the school. Mr. Gentry said that five families have moved to Bourbon County due to the school. Currently the speed limit is 45 mph in the area; Mr. Gentry asked that a school speed zone be established with signage (warning school zones ahead, school speed limit signs & end school zone sign) going both directions on either side of the school property. Jeff made a motion to direct Jim Harris to review the area and report back to the Commissioners and consider widening the road between the school and the Lake entrance in the future, Nick seconded and the motion passed.

Jeff reported a citizen contacted him regarding the patching done in Rocher addition; there are still potholes that need filled there. Jim said he would view the road.

There was a brief discussion over the one percent countywide retailer’s sales tax that is distributed to the county and cities in Bourbon County. This will expire on June 30, 2021. The commissioners discussed renewing this tax. Jeff suggested reviewing and calculating the amount of current sales tax that is collected for the swimming pool, the jail and the one percent road tax.

The Commissioners did a fence viewing between property owners Brian Comstock and Union Pacific Railroad; Nick made a motion that the fence does need to be repaired or replaced since it does not meet the Bourbon County fence guidelines, Union Pacific will be responsible for the east ½ of the fence and the Comstock’s will be responsible for the west ½ of the fence, Jeff seconded and all approved.

Jeff made a motion to approve a Property Tax Relief Application (due to fire) for David Klein and a Property Tax Relief Application for the Joe Pete Erie property; Nick seconded and the motion passed.

Dave Bruner and Robert Leisure with the Bourbon County EMS met with the Commissioners; in August of 2019 there were 194 calls for service, of those calls there were 69 transfers, 49 dry runs and 145 total transports. They requested three new Life Pack 15’s for a total of $67,629.60 and two McGrath Video Laryngoscopes for a total of $5,548 (with trade ins). If purchased three annual payments could be made on the equipment. Jeff asked that they get another bid for a price comparison. They plan to get another bid and meet back with the Commissioners. There is an ambulance getting repaired for approximately $3,000.

Jeff made a motion to go into a 5-minute executive session for confidential data relating to financial affairs or trade secrets of corporations, partnerships, trusts and individual proprietorships, Nick seconded and all approved, (the session included the Commissioners, Dave Bruner and Robert Leisure). No action was taken.

Justin Meeks met with the Commissioners to discuss Elm Creek Lake; he asked permission from the Commissioners to start the process to get the shelters there on the Kansas Historical list. He said that HPA and the ABC Trails may have money available to help with the cost of repairs to the buildings. Jeff made a motion to allow Justin to start the process of getting Elm Creek on the Kansas Historical List, Nick seconded and the motion passed.

Jeff made a motion to break for lunch and reconvene at 1:30, Nick seconded and the motion passed.

Terry Sercer met with the Commissioners to present the 2018 audit; he said there were no violations of the Kansas Statutes. However, there were three deficiencies; reconciliation of cash in the bank to the County’s accounting records, reconciliation of the annual tax roll and preparation of the financial statements (Terry assists in both the County audit and the County budget).

Emergency Manager Will Wallis met with the Commissioners to discuss the disaster debris removal; Bourbon County experienced some flooding in the County in the spring of 2019. Will said there were 22 different areas in Bourbon County that has debris in Bourbon County waterways. He said that the State reported that the County could use a quarry site or the Landfill to store the debris. KDHE said the debris could be burnt and provided Will with an application for approval of open burning operation. There will be funds from FEMA to help pay for the cost of the debris removal. The debris needs to be removed by December 15, 2019. Will questioned if the Commissioners wanted Road & Bridge to remove the debris (to save money) or hire the work to be done. Will said that Road & Bridge would need two dump trucks and a backhoe to move the debris and estimated that the County could do the work in approximately six days. After discussion, Nick said he would talk to Jim Harris about the debris removal, the Commissioners plan to discuss this again on September 24th.

Jeff Fischer may attend a news interview at the jail regarding the HVAC unit.

Lora Holdridge met with the Commissioners to discuss the County holiday meal; it was decided the meal would be on December 6th. Lora said there will also be an ornament exchange for the employees that want to participate. Lora said that Woodson County wants to opt out of doing two SEK meetings a year; Lora suggested continuing to do the meetings twice a year.

Register of Deeds Lora Holdridge says she talked to Nick about departments rehiring; she said they previously weren’t able to do the information officer since the person they planned to put in the position backed out at the last minute. Lora said in her 2020 budget she requested an additional $15,000 to be given to herself and her one employee; she said she had waited two years to hire a floater or an information officer. Lora said she never gets to take a vacation since she only has one employee and that other department heads are allowed to take 1-2 weeks at a time. Lora said she offers comp time to her one employee. Lora asked Kendell if she was rehiring for a vacant part time position; Kendell said she was. The Commissioners said that Kendell asked and was given permission to rehire for the position. Lora discussed mistakes that past employees in her office had made, as well as other mistakes that had been made. Lora said that her office is the only office where everything dealing with real estate starts. Lora said hiring a part time employee in her office wouldn’t do any good. Lora presented two pay vouchers to the Commissioners; she presented a voucher to pay herself $10,000 and presented a $5,000 voucher to pay her one employee. Jeff Fischer said he didn’t feel comfortable with this, he said he wasn’t saying they didn’t deserve this, but said if this was allowed other departments would present requests too. After much discussion, Lora said she wouldn’t turn in the vouchers, but asked that they discuss this with Lynne Oharah. Jeff said they did budget a raise in 2020 for several elected officials to correct the wage problem. Jeff said it was the responsibility of the County Commissioners to look out for the whole organization. Jeff has previously said that Allen County Register of Deeds operates on two employees, and stated that Bates County Missouri operates their Register of Deeds office on 1 ½ employee.

Nick Ruhl will be attending a healthcare task force meeting on 9/19/2019 at 9:00 am.

Jeff 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, Justin Meeks and Kendell Mason). No action was taken.

At 3:48, Nick made a motion to adjourn and Jeff seconded.



_____________ , Chairman

(ss) Jeff Fischer, Commissioner

(ss) Nick Ruhl, Commissioner


Kendell Mason, Bourbon County Clerk

09/24/2019, Approved Date

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