May 23


May 23, 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.

David Harper with Kansas State Department of Property and Motor Vehicles and Mike Dolan, compliance officer visited with the commissioners by phone. Hilbrink had talked with David Harper at the KAC convention in Hays about doing an informal audit for the county. He explained the valuations in Rooks County needed to be increased to keep in compliance with the state. They look at SAC, statistics, market value and ratio rates when they do their annual report. Ruder ask what the percentage is for counties that are in compliance and the consequence for being out of compliance for too many years. Harper explained the consequence could be any where from a letter to having their license revoked. Harper said they like to see the counties between 90% to 110% of market value. Ruder asked what would happen if it was 75%. Harper said they would visit with the commissioners. Hilbrink asked if he had any recommendation for the commissioners. He recommended they talk to the Appraiser and ask her any questions they have. Hilbrink asked about the values being lowered at appeal with no reason. He said there needs to be documentation as to the property owner’s complaint and documentation as to why it was lowered. April Brown said she would like to know where and how the appraiser gets her comparisons for appraised value if there have been no comparable sales in the county.

Gary Knight, Sheriff was in to discuss his 2024 budget. His biggest increase is in wages. He needs to increase his wages to keep and attract employees. He also added in shift differential for the deputies. The cost of utilities has almost doubled. Berland asked about the expense for Stockton City. The cost for Stockton City Law Enforcement is included in his budget. Knight and the commissioners discussed the changes in his budget, lease vehicles and equipment reserve fund.

April Brown, Register of Deeds was in to visit with the commissioners about non-elected personnel. Ruder made a motion to go into executive session for 10 minutes, from 9:40 to 9:50 with the commissioners, Brown and Montgomery to discuss non-elected personnel. Upon returning to open session there was no further discussion.

Ruder made a motion to adjourn the meeting so the commissioners could attend the commemoration for Ken Miller with senator Jerry Moran at the Rooks County Historical Museum. Berland second the motion and Hilbrink agreed.

At 10:30 the commissioners returned and Ruder called the meeting to order.

Matt Whitney was in to visit with the commissioners about issues he had addressed the last time he met with the commissioners. He announced he was live streaming the meeting on Facebook and invited the commissioners to a program he was putting on in Plainville City on Thursday. 

He sent Montgomery a long list of questions he wanted the commissioners to address by this Thursday. Montgomery forwarded those questions to the commissioners to review at their leisure.

Roger Hrabe, Economic Director, left the tax credits for the courthouse restoration project. The commissioners reviewed the tax credits allowed in the amount of $7,480.

Ruder made a motion to sign the hand written check to Ronda Morgan in the amount of $143.50 for refund of Liberty National Premium. Berland second the motion and Hilbrink agreed.

Ruder made a motion to appoint Larry Poore as Township #1 Trustee to replace Keith Chesney who had resigned. Berland second the motion and Hilbrink agreed.

Lori Eichman, County Health Nurse, applied for grant for new shelving in her office. Ruder made a motion to approve Eichman to install new shelving in the amount of $8,000 to be paid with the grant funds. Berland second the motion and Hilbrink agreed. Post Rock Construction will be doing the work.

Employee’s Years of Service Plaques have been received. They will be given out next week, May 30th at 9:15 am.

Rich Bouchey weekly report: Jerold DeBoer with Penco was in to discuss the best option for the county on the Zurich Blacktop Project since we didn’t receive the grant funding.  The county has one million dollars ($1,000,000) from KDOT. The proposed project would cover ten miles. Bouchey said he has $350,000 for the project. DeBoer said the county needs $500,000 to keep the one million from KDOT. The commissioners feel they could come up with the additional $150,000 for the project.  DeBoer said he could reduce the milling depth and do a new agreement for the original seven (7) miles, to help reduce the cost. Penco Engineering cost is around $10,000 plus fees. Notice of award with the state has already been signed. DeBoer will resubmit taking off the three (3) miles on the north end. APAC plans to start after Labor Day.

DeBoer presented an agreement for the design of Off System Bridge #7, in the amount of $30,000 for the commissioners to sign. Ruder made a motion to sign the Agreement for the design of the Off System Bridge #7 on 20 Road between Z Road and AA Road.

Bouchey received a letter from the state for new changes on bridges. This won’t affect Rooks County.

Last week, Foley Equipment notified Bouchey the excavator he had purchase was not equipped with what he needed. They are getting him an excavator that is a year newer and $500 less. Doug Wilfong with Astra Bank contacted Montgomery last week and changes to the lease purchase agreement have already been made and Ruder has signed the amendment.  

Bouchey discussed the road now being opened west of the bait shop. He replaced the old culvert with a smaller one. Also discussed replacing the culverts at Conyac corner. Truck drivers are working out by Zurich.

Hilbrink received a call from Shane Mongeau about the fence that was taken out to fix the road and has not replaced. Also, when the road was done, they took out part of the field that had been fertilized and treated. Mongeau is needing the fence replaced so he can put out his cattle. Bouchey said he would talk to Mongeau. Hilbrink said someone had rolled their vehicle on J Road last Friday because of the road was powder. She would like for Bouchey to go look at the road.

Bouchey and the commissioners discussed roads. The road crew have been using the water trucks. The commissioners asked about the green water truck. Bouchey said he had to take it back to Hays. An electrical breaker needs to be replaced. 

Berland asked if he was having any trouble getting water. Bouchey replied no, there are still plenty of places to get water. He will have several personnel gone on Thursday ahead of the holiday.

Hilbrink weekly report: She had a RCED meeting on Monday. Mr. Ks has implemented the SNAP program and they are looking at Stockton and Palco to start the program. There was lots of talk about restaurants closing in Rooks County. They discussed the EICI recruitment program and the loan for the restaurant at the golf course. Hrabe is working out deal to get part of that back. Jason Kephart still hasn’t returned the key to the county.

There was a $500 donation given for flags to be place in front of the courthouse. Montgomery said she would purchase some election flags out of the election budget if the polls were provided.

Rusty Hrabe visited with Hilbrink about the Neighborhood Revitalization Program. This is the first year he has been on the program and he missed the deadline to pay the second half taxes because he thought it was May 20th and not May 10th. This kicks him out of the program.

Berland weekly report: He also talked with Rusty Hrabe about the Neighborhood Revitalization Program.

Ruder weekly report: He had a Redbud Board meeting with Rooks County Health Center. There were concerns about misinformation. The apartments to the west of Red Bud would like to be included in the master plan. They don’t have to be written into the plan. But the Redbud board members decided not to include swing Bed Medicaid so they wouldn’t be offering the same services as the hospital. So the apartments were added instead of swing bed Medicaid services. Ruder was pleased with how the meeting went. Hilbrink asked about the USDA loan. Ruder replied the information will not be available until after June 1st.

Ruder made a motion to review and approve the weekly vouchers as follows. Berland second the motion and Hilbrink agreed.

FUND                                    WARRANTS        TOTAL

General                                 80640-80657     3,901.23

Road & Bridge                      80658-80644     16,844.42

Health Department                80645-80667     2,289.65

Sanitation                              80668-80671     4,438.53

RCED                                    80672                   488.65

Insurance Claims                  80673                   5,145.00

Grand Total                                                     33,107.48


Ruder met with Heather Poore, Appraiser to discuss the boards concerns on the planned get together in Plainville. (Tacos and Taxes). She is planning on presenting a power point presentation and discussing appraisals and the process.  

The commissioners discussed Neighborhood Revitalization. Ruder said he would talk with the Treasurer and the Appraiser about what options the county has to allow Hrabe to continue on the program.

Adopted this 30th Day of May, 2023



John Ruder, Chairman                                                                                                                                                                                  


Kayla Hilbrink, Member


Tim Berland, Member



Laura Montgomery, Certified County Clerk