March 28, 2023
The Rooks County Board of Commissioners met with the following present: Chairman, John Ruder, and Members Tim Berland and Kayla Hilbrink. Laura Montgomery, County Clerk, was present to record the minutes. Virgie Laska was present to write a report 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.
The commissioners reviewed last week minutes. Ruder made a motion to accepted the minutes with minor corrections. Hilbrink second the motion and Ruder agreed.
Hilbrink requested an executive session to discuss non-elected personnel with herself, Ruder and Berland for 15 minutes from 9:15 to 9:30. Ruder second the motion and Berland agreed. There was no further discussion upon return to open session.
Hilbrink weekly report: She went to the table top session in Oakley with Butch Post, Lori Eichman and Rich Bouchey. It was very informative.
Rich Bouchey, Road Supervisor, weekly report: Presented the utility agreement from American Warrior. Ruder made a motion to sign the agreement. Hilbrink second the motion and Berland agreed.
Bouchey presented a quote from Caterpillar, for an excavator. The bid included $23,000 for a trade in. The excavator at the road department is a 2004. Bouchey expects to get more than $23,000 if he sold it on Purple Wave. Hilbrink asked about bids on new and used equipment. Bouchey said we get better service with Cat and Concordia is closer to Rooks County if the equipment needs repairs. Hilbrink wants to wait until we hear about the grant on Zurich Blacktop Road before committing to purchasing this equipment. Ruder and Berland agreed. Rates from the banks are good for 30 days. Berland asked about rentals vs purchasing the equipment. He also wondered what it cost to keep the excavator running annually. Bouchey said they put a new engine in it about 7 years ago but it hasn’t had much in other major repairs. Hilbrink asked of it can be repaired instead of purchasing a new excavator. There are too many moving parts that would need to be worked on. The excavator was purchased from Berry Tractor out of Wichita. Ruder has concerns about refurbishing/repairs. Berland asked about the warranty.
Bouchey asked Sadie Look, Road Secretary, to be present at the meeting to discuss employee leave. Bouchey wants to change the policy. He feels the employees are being punished by not being allowed to use sick time as paid time off ahead of retiring. Berland said sick leave is for when the employee or the employee’s family is sick, and not to be used as vacation. Hilbrink said the policy will be addressed but that doesn’t address the current issue. Ruder said the reason for sick leave is to protect the employee and allow him/her to be paid. Hilbrink feels the sick leave is being abused. The commissioners discussed PTO but are not in favor of that. Hilbrink will contact other counties and find out if and how they pay sick leave at retirement. Everyone agreed the personnel policy needs to be change to allow for accountability and to prevent abuse. After talking with the County Attorney on Monday, the employee’s time card had been adjusted. The county will allow the employee to use vacation time as paid time off and then pay out the unused sick leave at $50 per day as per the personnel policy to terminate employment.
Bouchey asked about compensating his employees for doing extra work by reclassifying before December. He has one employee he would like to reclass now. The commissioners told him to wait until the end of the employees’ 90-day probation period.
The road crew has been working on 18 Road & U Road to replace a culvert. There are utilities going through culvert. Rural Water District #3 wants $3,000 to move water pipe so Bouchey is going leave it and work around the line. AA Road between 15 Road & 16 Road has had some more work done on it. He discussed road work being done in the county. Bouchey said it is still dry even though there has been a little bit of moisture.
Ruder made a motion to sign the CMB application for Plainville Fire Tournament at the Golf Course on April 29th. Berland second the motion and Hilbrink agreed.
Berland weekly report: People are starting to settle down about valuations. He has been telling people to visit with the Appraiser about their valuation. He has a Zoom meeting tomorrow with NW KS P&D.
Ruder weekly report: He has a Redbud meeting on Thursday. He did receive some information from the Plainville City Council meeting. The lead agency on the building transfer has everything in order. Hilbrink asked if this will relieve the county of liability. Ruder said yes and the city and the 501 C 3 Board are ready to move forward with the transfer when the time comes. Ruder said he understands people’s concern about their taxes. The commissioners are going to do what they can to not increase the taxes raised by the county. He did see the notice in the paper about the sale of the Plainville Property.
Hilbrink asked if the time capsule had been found. Montgomery replied the courthouse committee is still looking. There is no indication on the outside of the courthouse where it might be.
Hilbrink said the Heartland Foundation grant application process is now open for anyone to apply.
Berland made a motion to review and approve the weekly vouchers as follows. Hilbrink second the motion and Ruder agreed.
FUND WARRANT # AMOUNT
General 80236-80260 10,141.35
Road & Bridge 80261-80275 6,639.67
Noxious Weed 80276-80278 620.83
Sheriff Equip Reserve 80279-80280 5,901.23
Health Depart 80281-80282 6,580.65
Sanitation 80283-80284 112.72
RCED 80285-80288 1,757.44
Alcohol Program 80289 3,000.00
GRAND TOTAL 34,753.89
The commissioners are requesting budgets from departments by May 12th.
The Courthouse custodian will help has been helping with the electric issues at the museum.
With no further business to transact, Hilbrink made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Berland second the motion and Ruder agreed.
Adopted this 4th Day of April, 2023
ROOKS COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
John Ruder, Chairman
Kayla Hilbrink, Member
Tim Berland, Member
Laura Montgomery, Certified County Clerk