June 23, 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. Virgi Laska, with the Stockton Sentinel; Anna Muir, Rooks County Extension Agent; Lori Eichman, Rooks County Health Administrator; and Butch Post, Emergency Preparedness were also present. The Pledge of Allegiance was recited, and the agenda was approved.
Lori Eichman and Butch Post updated the Board with COVID-19 news. Rooks County has tested 301 persons, and Phillips County had reported a new case the previous day. Eichman said Red Cross was testing for antibodies through their blood drives. Eichman planned to meet with Dr. Sanchez and the county nursing facilities on July 6th to plan for re-opening.
Butch Post discussed with the board the new funding from the Kansas Office of Recovery established by Governor Kelly called SPARK (Strengthening People and Revitalizing Kansas). The Board talked about hiring a consultant to assist with the allocation of funds as the process will be very detailed work which must comply with the Single Audit Processes as required by the Federal Government. Another option would be to appoint a task force made up of the taxing entities and those involved from the County. Rooks County is slated to receive $992,217 to distribute to local governments to help address the health and economic challenges inflicted by Covid-19.
The Commissioners reviewed the minutes from June 16th. Ruder made a motion to accept the minutes of June 16th with some corrections to be made. Balthazor seconded this motion, and Hagan agreed. After the minutes were printed, Hagan made a motion to sign the corrected minutes of June 16th. Balthazor seconded the motion, and Ruder agreed.
Anna Muir, Agent for Extension District #5, was present to hear any updates about the Commissioner’s decision to change the County employees pay schedule to 36 hours. First, Ruder asked Muir about the upcoming County fair and what/how the 4-H’s are planning to do judging and shows with the pressures of COVID. Muir said social distancing will be administered. The buildings will be shut down during judging, and they are limiting the number of people in the show arena. Other plans are in place as well. The 4-H food stand will be doing some changes because of the high price of beef; workers will be provided protective wear, and they will be administering with the guidelines from KDHE.
In answering Muir’s question about the Courthouse hours, the Commissioners let her know that they were planning on closing the Courthouse doors at noon on Fridays for a 36-hour week most likely starting on the September payroll (August 25th). Muir thanked them, and said she would need to take the information back to her board to decide how the extension office would be handled.
Hagan requested an executive session to discuss non-elected personnel. Ruder made a motion to go into executive session from 9:40 am to 9:45 am to discuss non-elected personnel. Hagan seconded the motion, and Balthazor agreed. Those present for the executive session were the Commissioners: John Ruder, Corky Hagan, and Greg Balthazor. Upon returning to regular session, there was no further discussion.
Heather Poore, Rooks County Appraiser, was present to let the Commissioners know she had met with Betty Hrabe, GIS Coordinator, about combining the offices. Hrabe will be transitioning to the Appraiser’s office on July 27th. File cabinets and one mapping table will be moved to the second floor the week prior depending on when the prisoners are available to move them. Hrabe is checking with OPI on moving the plotter to the second floor. The computer and monitors will be moved on the 27th when she starts in the Appraiser’s office. Hrabe has one project she is working on for Road & Bridge where all outside work is expected to be complete (weather cooperating) by the end of July. The map work will be finished as time allows. Hrabe is a major part of the LEPC and will earn compensation time for hours spent at the quarterly meetings. The Appraiser’s office policy and job description has been shared.
The van that has been used by GIS may be sold, and the color copier in the GIS office will be taken to the Sheriff’s Office as the Sheriff’s Fund paid for half of the copier.
Butch Post mentioned that he is nervous about going “out-of-house” with NexGen911. He does not want to go backwards. As NG911 is not appraiser-related, Poore is expecting her office work to come first; with any extra time being allotted to NG911.
In weekly reports, Hagan reported receiving a lot of rain in his area. He had received a thank you from Marianne Conyac for the road work done at her residence. The work done seemed to be helping. Hagan said after these recent rains, many roads would need to be repaired and P/6 Road is now un-passable.
The Car Show held in Stockton had gone well, and there was a fair crowd at the Demo Derby.
Hagan had received a thank you, as well, from the Damar Firemen saying everything is going well.
Balthazor reported the roads in his area are doing a lot better than those hit hardest by the rains.
Balthazor had attended the Economic Development meeting. The Economic Development Board had decided to hire a website consultant for about $1,700.00 per year. The Airport was awarded a $20,000 grant from the CARES Act. They have received $10,000 of this from expenses acquired. As the expenses come through, $10,000 more may be received.
Ruder said he had spoke with Rich Bouchey, Road & Bridge Supervisor. The Doosan loader is back in-county. The tree crew helped the City of Plainville at their water well site with trees. The truck beds’ delivery has been postponed another month. The new date is July 10th. Bouchey is keeping the guys busy with the Zurich black-top crack-sealing.
Ruder had attended the Father’s Day ‘drive-by’ at Red Bud Village, and he reported a good turn-out at the Sacred Heart Benefit Golf Tournament held at the Rooks County Golf Course.
A letter was received from Rick McLaughlin announcing he would be retiring from Rooks County on July 24th.
A check was received from the Heartland Foundation in the amount of $7,000.00 for the grant requested to replace the roofing on the golf cart sheds at the Golf Course. Hagan made a motion to endorse the $7,000.00 grant check. Balthazor seconded the motion, and Ruder agreed.
The Commissioners had received notice that the U.S. House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee had passed a key infrastructure bill with no major increases in truck size or weight. This is an important victory for safer roads and a sound highway infrastructure. The bill, known as the ‘‘Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation in America Act’’ (INVEST in America Act), is now headed to the House floor, where a vote is expected later this month.
A capital credit report was received from Western Cooperative.
A budget request was received from DSNWK.
Ruder made a motion to review, approve and sign the weekly vouchers as follows. Balthazor seconded the motion, and Hagan agreed.
June 23, 2020
County General 73334-73342 $1,615.01
Noxious Weed 73343-73347 $20,185.9*4
Rooks County Golf Course 73348-73349 $3,090.55
GRAND TOTAL $24,891.50
The Commissioners held some more discussion about the 36-hour work week; when to start; and whose hours would be cut.
Ruder made a motion to approve three employee’s written requests to keep their compensation time to use for harvest, fair, and appointments past the date in the work policy. Ruder’s motion also included making employees keep their compensation time down to a minimum. The work policy says to pay out comp time every six months on the June payroll and on the December payroll. Balthazor seconded the motion, and Hagan agreed.
An update was received about the towers in Plainville City. The preliminary work had been done, and the towers would be up on Wednesday, June 24th.
With no further business to transact, Ruder made a motion to adjourn. Hagan seconded the motion, and Balthazor agreed.
Adopted this 30th day of June, 2020
ROOKS COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
John Ruder, Chairman
Greg Balthazor, Member
Corky Hagan, Member
Ruthmary Muir, Rooks County Clerk