April 21


April 21, 2020

The Rooks County Board of Commissioners met in regular session.  Those present were the Commissioners:  John Ruder, Corky Hagan, and Greg Balthazor.  Ruthmary Muir, Rooks County Clerk, was present to write the minutes.  This meeting was held through Zoom in order to practice social distancing and abide by the Governor’s orders to have less than ten persons in one setting.  Chairman Ruder asked all to rise and recite the Pledge of Allegiance.  After learning that the Road & Bridge Supervisor would not be able to attend the meeting, the agenda was approved. 

Lori Eichman, Rooks County Health Department Administrator, updated the group on the COVID-19 pandemic.  Rooks County now has four positive cases.  The health department has been extremely busy contacting and tracing the positive cases’ exposures and making sure all are either isolated and/or quarantined as per the guidelines from KDHE.  Eichman said of the four positive cases, one is recovered.  Also, there are three pending tests, and Rooks County has done sixty-plus tests. 

Butch Post, Emergency Management, talked about some public assistance guidelines.  A conference call was scheduled for later in the day that would clarify and answer some questions.  Post said the Commissioners should start considering plans for re-opening the courthouse and other buildings.  The governor’s ‘stay-at-home’ order expires on May 3rd

The Commissioners reviewed the minutes of April 14th.  Ruder made a motion to approve the minutes of April 14th with a few corrections made.  Hagan seconded the motion, and Balthazor agreed.  After the minutes were printed, Hagan made a motion to sign the corrected minutes of April 14th.  Balthazor seconded the motion, and Ruder agreed. 

In weekly reports, Hagan reported he had checked a few roads.  There seems to be a lot of dust pockets forming.  Hagan said he would talk to the Road & Bridge Supervisor about the concerns, and he would also mention that some signs have been knocked down that will need attention. 

Balthazor had drove some roads as well, noticing the dust pockets and blowing dust.  Balthazor reported about the Economic Development meeting he had attended with highlights as follows.

  • Bids had been opened for the Snow Removal Equipment. The low bid was not accepted, as the tractor did not meet the qualifications and specs.  The second low bid was accepted from Farm Implement of Plainville.  The CARES Act will now make the SRE grant 100%.  The Snow Removal Building at the airport is completed. 
  • Four new businesses have begun operations over the last month.
  • The Growing Rural Business classes have concluded. Rooks County had great participation and the reports from those who attended has been very positive. 
  • Roger Hrabe, Economic Development Director, added that a business building in Plainville was needing divided now that there are two different owners. The property will get surveyed. 

Ruder reported he would be attending a meeting with Red Bud Village within the month.  Ruder said he had received a telephone call from Senator Jerry Moran who asked about how the County was doing through the COVID-19 pandemic.  Senator Moran said the Rooks County Health Center will be receiving some stimulus monies from the CARES Act, and he thought the airport may receive some funding as well.  Senator Moran also said that Rooks County has received a good number of test kits. 

Ruder had also received a telephone call from a representative with Tracey Mann’s office to discuss the brutal retaliations with the oil valuations and prices.  With Rooks County being an oil field/farming county, these conditions will certainly have an impact.

Heather Poore, Rooks County Appraiser, let the Board know that another tire ‘blew-out’ on the County pickup.  Poore was instructed to go ahead and get this tire fixed and then search for tires with a heavier ply and report back. 

Poore reported she will have better figures on oil by May 15th.  Her employees are finishing the data collecting and starting on sales. 

Kim Northup, Rooks County Treasurer, presented several small-fund vouchers for signature. 

Northup also discussed information she had concerning an individual requesting to abate interest and fees from the last four years on a tax statement.  This individual said he had not received the tax statements.  The Treasurer’s Office had used due diligence in sending the tax statements out by using the post office address given.  After the Board discussed the issue, they stated they were not comfortable waiving fees on tax statements, and decided this should not be done. 

Northup discussed purchasing temporary “wellness screens/sneeze guards” for the cubicles in her office.  The price of these from the company that installed her desks was fairly high, so Northup was still shopping other options.  She would like these to protect her employees when the courthouse gets opened back up, and the virus will still be around.  Hagan said he had some plexiglass that he would donate if Northup could find someone to build a base.  The Commissioners agreed to continue with this project with Hagan’s donated plexiglass and keeping the price down. 

Hagan made a motion to sign the small fund vouchers presented by the Treasurer.  Balthazor seconded the motion, and Ruder agreed. 

Hagan made a motion to review, approve and sign the weekly vouchers as follows.  Ruder seconded this motion, and Balthazor agreed. 

                April 21, 2020

County General                                 72918-72925                       $593.64

Attorney Equipment Reserve             72926                                  $949.00

Health Department                         72927-72929                       $2,459.65

       GRAND TOTAL                                                                    $4,002.29

The tower easement between Midland Marketing Co-op, Inc. an Agricultural Cooperative, and Rooks County, Kansas for a right-of-way and easement to construct, install, repair, maintain, and operate a communications tower and all associated equipment required for such communications tower, over, upon and across a tract in the SE 4 of the SE corner of 26-9-18 has been filed. 

The Commissioners discussed a possible contingency plan of opening the courthouse.  They will wait to see what Governor Kelly does with the Stay-at-Home orders. 

Jonathan Hearld, with Western Kansas Child Advocacy, spoke about the importance of the Child Advocacy program.  Western Kansas Child Advocacy serves thirty-four (34) counties, using mobile units.  Rooks County uses their services quite often.  Unfortunately, the number of cases in Kansas and Rooks County, has risen.  Rooks County will continue to support as much as possible in these uncertain times. 

With no further business to transact, Ruder made a motion to adjourn the meeting.  Hagan seconded the motion, and Balthazor agreed. 

Adopted this 30th day of April, 2020



John Ruder, Chairman                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  


Greg Balthazor, Member


Corky Hagan, Member



Ruthmary Muir, Rooks County Clerk