Minutes of the Bourbon County Commission Meeting on February 5

February 5, 2024                                                                   Monday, 5:30 p.m.


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


Clint Walker, Rachel Walker, Jason Silvers, Anne Dare, Michael Hoyt, Teri Hulsey, Jon Lowery,  and Charles Gentry were present for some or all of the meeting.


Jim opened the meeting with the flag salute.


Nelson made a motion to approve the consent agenda which includes approval of minutes from 2-5-24, approval of accounts payable totaling $8,671.45, and approval of December financials. Jim seconded the motion and all approved.


There were no public comments.


Eric Bailey, Public Works Director, presented the culvert approval report for January and the January fuel report. Eric said they are obtaining a DWR permit to replace four culverts near 130th Street and Kansas Road. The culvert gave way last month and is currently down to a one lane road. Eric said they are working with an engineer to determine culvert size and quantity for the location near 225th Street and Tomahawk Road that was discussed at last week’s meeting. Once the engineers have determined the information Eric will then have to obtain a DWR permit for the location. Eric said the Blackberry Transmission line project will begin clearing brush later this month. The majority of the clearing will be on private property, however; there will be some done in the county right-of-way. They worked on getting gravel on the roads last week and will be back out tomorrow after the rain. Eric said they will be having an MSHA refresher course at the Public Works building on Thursday. Nelson said Vance Eden with USD 235 contacted him and had 50 loads of gravel donated for their walking trail project and asked if the county would be able to haul it. Nelson said the school couldn’t pay us but could let us fuel up at their tanks. Justin Meeks said the county would need to obtain a waiver of liability and Eric is going to work on that.


Jennifer Hawkins, County Clerk, asked if the Commissioners were planning on having a meeting on February 19 since the courthouse would be closed for Presidents Day. The Commissioners decided there would not be a meeting held on the 19th.


Justin Meeks discussed the healthcare sales tax information that would be placed on a ballot to allow the public to vote on. Justin said Susan has been helping with this and the matter can be on the ballot in April. The wording was discussed with Justin reading examples from Allen County and Vernon County. After discussion of the different wording choices Jim said he would like to move forward and have it cover the worst-case scenario. Clifton said 1.5 million is a long way from starting a hospital but would help to entice an entity. Clifton stated that due to the mile restriction there are only two entities right now who could operate an emergency room in Bourbon County and that is Nevada Regional Medical Center and Via Christi. Jim said they’ve talked for months about subsidizing healthcare and he said somebody has to do it but he isn’t in support of raising real estate taxes. There was lengthy discussion on the wording options for the ballot and Justin asked to work with Charles Gentry on a few ballot options and bring back to the Commissioners. Anne Dare asked if we might be getting the cart before the horse by putting this to a vote and collecting the money and we might never be able to get a license. Clifton said that could potentially be the case but you have to have the carrot to offer as an enticement. Michael Hoyt asked if you could pass a sales tax that has a trigger such as we won’t collect sales tax until we have an emergency room. Clifton said we could use the money for other things in healthcare such as purchasing another ambulance and hiring additional EMT’s. Justin stated we had an ER when many businesses came in and due to their insurance, they need an ER close by.


Justin Meeks passed out a letter of support for Bourbon County REDI for the Commissioners to review. Nelson said his opinion is he doesn’t have a problem with either people or organizations and he wasn’t here when it was worked on so he doesn’t know who to support. Clifton said there was some confusion and the state was contacting the wrong organization. Jim said he respects Nelson’s vote but his vote is for Bourbon County REDI to represent Bourbon County at the state. Jim made a motion to accent the letter as written to support Bourbon County REDI and send to different organizations including Department of Commerce, KWORKS, Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce, Patterson Foundation, Pittsburg State Work Force Development and to allow Justin to add additional organizations if needed. Clifton seconded the motion and Nelson abstained. The motion passed 2-1.


Justin asked for a 10-minute executive session for attorney client privilege dealing with contracts and possible litigation.


Clifton made a motion to go into a 10-minute executive session under KSA 75-4319 (b)(2) for consultation with an attorney for the public body or agency which would be deemed privileged in the attorney-client relationship. The session will include all three Commissioners, Justin Meeks, and Rob Harrington and will return at 6:55. Nelson seconded the motion and all approved. Clifton made a motion to resume normal session at 6:56 with action. Nelson seconded the motion and all approved. Clifton made a motion to allow Justin to have a conversation with another party and write a letter if needed for breach of contract that could cost the county millions. Nelson seconded the motion and all approved. Jim said he would like to see a quick turn around on this.


Jim thanked REDI and Legacy Health for hosting the announcement earlier and welcomed KRI for coming to Fort Scott and Bourbon County. Clifton said some people are scared of mental health and said they will not be dropping people with severe mental issues on the streets and encouraged people to get the facts before they speak. Nelson said since he has been here, he has been impressed with Eric and Dustin and they always have issues that are brought to their attention fixed quickly. Nelson also held a prayer during his Commission comment time.


Clifton made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 7:02. Nelson seconded the motion and all approved.





___________________, Chairman

___________________, Commissioner

ATTEST:                                                                                   ___________________, Commissioner


Jennifer Hawkins, Bourbon County Clerk

2-12-2024                         Approved Date



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