County asks for exemption from new gun law

Saturday, December 28, 2013

This year Kansas legislators passed a law that, as of July 1, allows licensed individuals to carry concealed weapons into public buildings. Bourbon County Commissioners filed for a six-month exemption to that law and on Friday, extended the exemption to four years.

The exemption makes it illegal to carry weapons into the courthouse.

Commissioners have held several executive sessions in the past few weeks with County Attorney Terri Johnson and officials from the Bourbon County Sheriff's Office and Southeast Kansas Regional Correctional Center to discuss courthouse security. After taking no action following Friday's session, commissioners voted to give Commission Chairman Allen Warren the authority to sign a letter requesting a four-year exemption from the Personal and Family Protection Act, effective Jan. 1. The letter will be sent to the Attorney General's Office.

Budget work

On Monday, commissioners discussed the need for better tracking of revenue coming in for roads and bridges projects funded by the Kansas Department of Transportation's program, Transportation Works (T-Works.) On Friday, Harris said he would like to invite Sondra Clark from KDOT to a Jan. 3 meeting to answer questions about the program.

"I told her what your concerns are and she said she would go into detail what we have to do to get those funds that are available," Harris said.

There are funds available for Bourbon County, but Harris said receipts will have to be submitted for qualifying projects completed. Harris said he doesn't think the county has had any projects that qualify for the funds, except for work done on Grand Road following a heavy rain, and some signs.

The commissioners tried to recall which projects have qualified for the funding since 2010 when T-Works money was used for the Slip Rock Road project.

"I think we went a period of time when we didn't even apply for T-Works money," Warren said.

"And I'm not sure we realized it could be used for the multiple things it can be used for," Second District Commissioner Barbara Albright said.

"I think that's a true statement," Warren said.

Harris said he will be meeting with Jennifer Hawkins and Marty Pearson at Public Works to review a list being compiled of projects that have been completed with T-Works funds since 2010.

Albright said she believes the county doesn't have to apply with projects, but does have to submit receipts. The county did submit an application for a project in the Hammond area.

"And that was because I insisted I didn't want us to do a project and not know if we'd get funded for it, because that would get us in trouble," Warren said.

The county will hold a public hearing Monday to amend the 2013 budget to accommodate for revenue and expenses generated from the April 7 hailstorm. Prior to that, Warren said he would like to know where the budget stands.

Treasurer Rhonda Dunn attended the meeting to report $144,761.76 will be transferred into the Special Bridges fund. The transfer is being made with $123,129.79 coming out of Road and Bridge; $20,872.60 from Bridge and Culvert; and $759.37 from special Tax.

"If you add those four together, it balances to zero, so it's just a shuffle," Dunn said.

After Dunn left, Warren said more money could be moved on Dec. 31.

"What we want to know on Monday is pretty close to the ballpark and what we think's coming and I think we'll make some adjustments on Monday," Warren said.

Other County business

* Harris reported a well in the middle of Garland street has been filled. The well was discovered by accident and brought to the Commissioners' attention by Connie Mays of the Garland Fire Department.

Harris said the well has been filled with sand and gravel but won't permanently be capped off until the weather warms up enough to allow concrete to be poured.

"It's leveled," Harris said.

* Harris asked Commissioners for a work session in February to discuss future road projects and so priorities can be set.

* Warren reviewed the county's goals for 2013. Those included hosting the 17-county meeting, developing a county calendar, reviewing the employee handbook, developing a performance review form, chip and seal and asphalt projects, celebrating 5-year anniversaries for employees, submitting names of long-term (eight years or more) employees to the Kansas Association of Counties; implementing an education plan for employees; reviewing a vacation schedule; discussion of a four-day work week; a county-wide revitalization program; and review and update job descriptions.

Chip and seal and asphalt projects completed this year are Justice Lane, 205th Street from Kansas to Jayhawk, 195th Street from Kansas to Jayhawk, a mile on Kansas, Gunn Park Addition and half a mile on Jayhawk.

"Once we got started, I think we made some progress," Warren said.

Other goals have been accomplished, such as the 17-county meeting and developing an employee review form.

A county calendar did not materialize because Albright said there weren't as many departmental dates to place on it as she expected.

Warren said he would like to see employees take advantage of more educational opportunities related to their jobs, such as training members of the clerk's office attended in Iola recently regarding changes in the Homestead and Food Sales Tax Refund programs.