August 23


August 23, 2022

The Rooks County Board of Commissioners met with the following present:  Chairman, John Ruder, and Members, Greg Balthazor and Tim Berland. Laura Montgomery, County Clerk, was present to write the minutes.  Virgie Laska was present to write the minutes for Stockton Sentinel. Ruder called the meeting to order and asked all to stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

The agenda was accepted as presented

John Hilgers from Plainville, was in to visit with the commissioners about setting up a grass runway for crop dusting. It will be the SE/4 of Section 30-T9S-R18W, North of K-18 on 14 Road (Jack Hilgers). He is working for High Plains Areal out of Victoria but he is looking at setting up here in Rooks. He will need to set up fuel storage and chemicals. The private strip will have FAA approval. This allows for no power lines in the flight path. Chemicals and fuel storage will be state certified and regulated by the state. Ruder asked why he isn’t interested in the Rooks County Airport. The cost for use is too high and they don’t want another crop duster. Hilgers has already talked with the airport commission about using the airport. To operate out of the County Airport there is a fee of $1,000 per two weeks. The two operators currently at the airport are not charged the $1,000 every two weeks because they have buildings at the airport. The use of the water needed and storage was discussed.  Hilgers wants to make sure everyone is on board and informed. There may be additional airplanes flying into the air strip during busy times. Ruder said the commissioners will need to investigate as what they need to do. Also discussed were the cost of improvements to the property and the increase of property taxes.

Ruder made a motion to accept August 16th minutes with corrections. Balthazor second the motion and Berland agreed.

The commissioners further discussed Hilgers’ request.

Berland said the county accepted the monthly fuel bid from Farmers Union Coop in the amount of $31,566.75. Ruder second the motion and Balthazor agreed.

Rich Bouchey, Road Supervisor, weekly report: He has been working on the dozer and put one of the new guys on it who did a good job.

The road crew have helped put out fires on 8 and S Road and some others spots over the weekend including the fire on the Ellis County line that restarted yesterday.

Bouchey and the commissioners discuss the issues with the grader that was taken back to Concordia and the oil distributor that is in Topeka.

Also discussed were bridge repairs including the one by Damar. Penco said bridge inspections are has completed, just needing to finish the paper work.  Berland said the black top on Redline Road looks good. They continue to discuss roads conditions and culverts. Berland talked to Ambrosier. The road crew hasn’t done anything yet because it has been too dry.

Bouchey presented the commissioners with the requested information on wages in the surrounding counties. Berland said he had received figures from one of the county road crew. This is way more than what was presented by Bouchey that also included if the county paid for health insurance and how much.

Balthazor asked about safety training. Bouchey said when a crew is gathered in the office, he is having them sign a sign in sheet and then having a short discussion about safety.  Balthazor asked if someone knows where each road crew is working and what his is doing.  This is for safety and being able to locate them should there be an accident. Bouchey said he knows where everyone is working and what they are doing. Ruder said to be sure to document safety meetings. Bouchey hasn’t received any more applications. Road personnel was discussed.

Heather Poore, County appraiser, has received the Wilkens appraisal. Poore was 8% lower than the appraisal. She presented the Commissioners the appraisal and explained to them what was in the report.  She hasn’t not talked with Wilkens about the results but plans on contacting him after visiting with the Commissioners. Poore also needed approval to pay the GIS mapping bill. She will make two vouchers; one from GIS and one from appraisal fund.

John Mapes, with Mapes & Miller, was in for the County RNR hearing and budget hearing.

Ruder opened the hearing to exceed the county revenue neutral rate. There was several from the public here to listen and ask questions. One person asked to have the revenue neutral rate explained. John Mapes answered all of her questions.

Ruder closed the revenue neutral rate hearing.  Balthazor second the motion and Berland agreed.

Ruder made a motion to open the budget hearing for Rooks County. Balthazor second the motion and Berland agreed. John Mapes explained the budget to the public including the rate and valuation. Most of the valuation increase has been in oil. Heather Poore stated that housing value is up 17 % and Rooks is 5th in the state for oil production. Questions were received from the public. Ruder closed the budget hearing. 

A roll call was taken by Montgomery to approve increasing the revenue neutral rate. All commissioners agreed. Ruder made a motion to adopt the Resolution to increase the county revenue neutral rate.    Balthazor second the motion and Berland agreed.

Balthazor made a motion to adopt the 2023 budget. Ruder second the motion and Berland agreed.

Next on the agenda was the 2021 audit report from Mapes and Miller. John Mapes reviewed with the commissioners the audit report.     

Ruder made a motion to approve the 2021 Audit as presented and for Mapes to forward copies to the appropriate persons. Balthazor second the motion and Berland agreed.

Balthazor made a motion to sign the August 16 minutes. Berland second the motion and Ruder agreed.

Ruder made to sign the W-9 and Division Order for Plains Marketing. Balthazor second the motion and Berland agreed.

Ruder made a motion to endorse the rent check for the Water Resource building. Berland second the motion and Balthazor agreed.

Ruder made a motion to sign the letter to appoint Vicki Novotny as Township #3 clerk to fulfill the unexpired term when Laura Montgomery resigned.  Balthazor second the motion and Berland agreed.

Gary Knight, Sheriff, left an estimate for damages on the tower north of Stockton, that was caused from the hail storm, so it can be turned into the insurance.

Commissioners opened and reviewed their mail.

Berland made a motion to review and sign vouchers as follows. Ruder second the motion and Balthazor agreed.

County General                warr #78669 – 78681      $5,454.98

Health Department         warr #78682 – 78687        $3,257.88

TOTAL                                                                      $8,712.86

The commissioners will approve payroll and end of month vouchers next week at their regular meeting.

With further business to transact, Ruder made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Balthazor second the motion and Berland agreed.

Adopted this 30th day of August, 2022



John Ruder, Chairman                                                                                                                                                                                  


Greg Balthazor, Member


Tim Berland, Member



Laura Montgomery, Certified County Clerk