Bourbon County Commission Minutes of Sept. 22

September 22, 2020                                                  Tuesday 9:00 am


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


Also present were the following: (some were present for a portion of the meeting, some were present for the entire meeting) Jason Silvers with the Fort Scott Tribune, Jim Harris, James Wood, Anne Dare, Ed Harrison and Mr. & Mrs. Clint Walker.


Lynne announced that Clifton Beth had been sworn in as the new Commissioner for District #3.


Lynne said he had called KDEM regarding the 2019 flooding disaster; he said the presentation on September 15th was misleading.  He said the assessments go through KDEM; the PDA is an estimate of the physical damage and not the actual cost to repair.  He said the PDA of $365,000 might be less since we produce our own rock.  There are different categories for repairs and said mediation would be out of category C.  He said deferred maintenance is an area that had issues before the disaster (bridges could fall in this category); he said deferred maintenance doesn’t fall under the FEMA declaration.  Lynne said there is an estimated 2,280 miles of ditches in the County; he said some ditches are higher than the road, he said in 2021 the County will have a ditching program and hope to do 10-20 miles of ditching each year.  Lynne said 6 of the roads on the disaster list were rural secondary roads and R/S roads aren’t covered in the FEMA declaration.  Lynne said it had previously been stated that there was over $700,000 of FEMA money available that might fund the bridge and ditching crew; Lynne said FEMA funds aren’t available to fund departments.  Lynne suggested in the future if the County experiences a weather event that the County starts collecting data pre-disaster declaration.


Lynne made a motion that he be allowed to sign a letter stating that he had been authorized by the Commission to order the cremation of a deceased person (Justin Meeks said the deceased person had no relatives locally, only in California and had no funds available for cremation, he said the County is responsible for paying the cremation expenses), Jeff seconded and all approved and Lynne signed the letter that Justin Meeks was to mail to Cheney Witt.


Don George a Biologist with Kansas Wildlife and Tourism and Ed Harrison met with the Commissioners regarding Elm Creek Lake; Mr. Harrison said that Elm Creek Lake needed attention, he said you can hear the leak there and thought it needed taken care of.  Lynne said this has been discussed in the past and said it was suggested to pump the leak full of concrete.  Lynne said he was hoping the County could partner with a 5013c to fix more than just the dam.  Jeff said since the water level is low it might be a good opportunity to address the issue.  Jeff said someone certified might be able to come up with a solution.  Mr. George said the lake is a State treasurer; he suggested the County’s focus should be to fix the lake back up and he offered whatever they had to do this.  Lynne said the lake has a 2nd leak in the tower (the drain pipe that goes through the dam heading north); Mr. Harrison said that valve had been rebuilt, he said there is no water in the tower right now and said someone could put a pin in, turn the valve, put in a socket and close it.  Jim Harris said that Ag Engineering reported that the water leak was coming from outside the pipe.  Lynne said both issues needed to be addressed. There is a vacuum noise from a large hole level with the shore; Lynne said they would need to drop the lake level enough to get below the leak.  Don George said that KDWP supports the idea of fixing the lake and said they want to be a part of fixing the lake.


Jeff made a motion to go into a 15 minute executive session for matters relating to employer-employee negotiations whether or not in consultation with the representative(s) of the body or agency, Clifton seconded and all approved, (the session included the Commissioners, Jim Harris and Justin Meeks).  After the session, Lynne made a motion authorizing Justin Meeks to move forward with providing a legal document regarding a damage reported from a blast, Clifton seconded and all approved.


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


Lynne made a motion that Jeff Fischer be the voting delegate for KCAMP and KAC, Clifton seconded and all approved.  Jeff told Clifton that there would be valuable information at these meetings for a new Commissioner.


Vivian Moore met with the Commissioners regarding the proposed closing of Indian Road for the airport runway expansion; she said she had met with the City of Fort Scott about the same issue.  She said the comment was made that the closing of the road wouldn’t have much of an impact on anyone.  She said the person that had a jet that wanted the expansion had sold their jet, she said she was curious if they needed the expansion and said she wasn’t against it if they didn’t close Indian Road.  She said she was told the reason for the expansion was so that a jet taking off and landing could have a full tank of fuel; she questioned how many times a year this would be necessary.  She said Bourbon County had said until a comparable road had been built the County wouldn’t close the road; she asked if they were requiring them to build a comparable road. Lynne said the City had asked the County to look at the plans to build a road, he said the one they felt was most feasible was a separate paved road going North and South that tied into Hackberry, he said the road closing would be subject to a public hearing.  Mrs. Moore said it would impact the residents living out there; she mentioned the increased insurance rates since the emergency response time would be longer after the closing.  She said if the road was closed, school children would be on their bus routes longer every day.  Jeff said the County did agree to be open to the road closure process, Lynne said the comparable road would have to be a paved acceptable road with ditches.  Kenneth Merriman said he lives on the North side of Hackberry in front of the airport; he said planes rattle his house now when they fly over and said this would affect him, he said this would hurt his property value.  Jeff said road closures require a public hearing and said after a road closure there is a one year period where people could make claims regarding a closure.


Richard Goldstein, Darcy Smith, Danny Bowman, James Wood, Chris Cotter and Stacy Wunderly met with the Commissioners; Mr. Goldstein said a petition had been passed asking the Commissioners to take back control over our County regarding health decisions (186 signatures were collected).  He said KSA 65-201 says they are to create a board to overlook the health department, he said this gives the authority to review, amend or revoke any order, he said the Commissioners have the final say over our County and not the health officer.  He said a Para at the school (who was wearing a mask) had tested positive for COVID-19 and his son had been quarantined due to the possible exposure.  He said the football team had a blanket quarantine because they weren’t wearing masks; he felt instead of doing a blanket quarantine the ones who had direct contact should have been quarantined.  He discussed wearing masks and whether or not they worked.  He said only one kid out of the 120 kids quarantined received a letter stating they were quarantined without a date of the ending of the quarantine (he said this indefinite timeframe quarantine date scares people).  Jeff Fischer said he had been in quarantine; he said he had been wearing an N95 mask, he said he received a form letter that didn’t specify and end date; he said he didn’t think enough questions were asked when he was told to quarantine.  Jeff said a doctor provides guidance to the Health Department.  They asked the Commissioners to look at Cherokee, Crawford and Miami County; he said their entire football teams weren’t quarantined.  Darcy Smith said Miami County made changes to their policy; she said there is no shame in reversing and changing policies.  There was a discussion over USD 234 wearing masks, but USD 235 was not.  Justin Meeks said Bourbon County is part of the Multi-County Health Board and said every County makes up the board; he said the Commissioners could opt out of the board in May and form their own board if they wanted.  Justin said they needed to go to the board with their concerns.  It was stated that other counties who are a part of the board are making their own decisions.  Mr. Goldstein said no one wanted any of the liability on making decisions.  Lynne said the County Attorney previously said quarantines are enforceable.  Mrs. Smith asked if the health official needed fired who would fire them; Justin Meeks said the health board would do this.  Jeff Fischer said he would have a discussion later today as well as with the board at the next public health meeting in Iola on 9/29 at 6:30.  Lynne made a motion that all of the Commissioners had permission to attend the health meeting on 9/29/20 at 6:30, Jeff seconded and all approved.


Patty Laroche met with the Commissioners regarding delinquent taxes listed in the newspaper.  She said the taxes totaled over two million dollars and some of the taxes went back to 2012.  She said there is one family on the delinquent list with 84 properties totaling $14,000-$15,000.  There are plans to have a tax sale during the 1st part of 2021 to sell everything from 2015 and older and have another sale at the end of the year.  She said they previously donated $1,000 to the Landbank because they felt it was a good idea; she said she recently asked Rhonda Dunn what was being done with the Landbank and Rhonda said neither the City nor the County had done anything. Justin said the County supports the Landbank and said he was hoping that they can work with the Landbank at the next tax sale, but said they would sell the properties if not.  Jeff said properties in the City can go into the Landbank and then the Landbank selects the ones they want.   Mrs. Laroche questioned why it had been so long since the County had a tax sale.  She asked the Commissioners to figure out collections and asked if we took payments; she said the Treasure said there is no way to enforce a payment plan.  Clint Walker said the Treasurer will take partial payments.


Emergency Manger William Wallis met with the Commissioners; Lynne made a motion to approve Resolution 27-20 (a resolution regarding COVID-19 public health emergency) the resolution will remain in effect for the duration of COVID-19 or unless terminated earlier by the Commissioners, Clifton seconded and all approved and signed the resolution.


Treasurer Patty Love met with the Commissioners; she reported that Security 1st has agreed to do the research for the tax sale for $95 a parcel.  Justin Meeks said he would talk to Susan at the City of Fort Scott and if the Landbank doesn’t happen there will still be a tax sale.  Patty Love stated that we had gotten behind on tax sales. Jeff made a motion to approve the contract for Security 1st in preparation of a tax sale, Clifton seconded and all approved.  Patty Love stated that they do not have a payment plan, but will take partial payments.


Clifton made a motion to go into a 15 minute executive session for personnel matters of individual non-elected personnel, Jeff seconded and all approved, (the session included the Commissioners).  After the session, Jeff asked that Clifton be provided with the resumes from the applicants for the Road & Bridge Director’s position.


At 12:03, Lynne made a motion to adjourn, Clifton seconded and all agreed.




(ss) Lynne Oharah, Chairman

(ss) Jeff Fischer, Commissioner

___________________, Commissioner


Kendell Mason, Bourbon County Clerk

September 29, 2020, Approved Date



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