March 17


March 17, 2020

The Rooks County Commissioner’s 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, was also present.  The meeting location was changed to meet in the Rooks County District Courtroom as the Commissioners were to meet with all County Department Heads at one point and all County Elected Officials secondly.  This decision was made to help reduce the spread of Coronavirus illness and practice social distancing as a guideline enacted by KDHE.  Others present for the meeting were the following department heads:  Roger Hrabe, Economic Development Director; Anna Muir, Extension Agent; Ronda Morgan, Deputy County Appraiser; Chad Sterling, Under Sheriff; Lindsey Mongeau, representative from the Clerk of the District Court; Doug Bigge, Magistrate Judge; Danielle Muir, Rooks County Attorney; Roque Garcia and Sheryl Cundiff, Custodians; Kim Northup, Treasurer; Gary Knight, Sheriff; Rosalee Sprick, Register of Deeds; Gail Gibbs, Jail Administrator; Betty Hrabe, GIS Department; Heather Poor, Appraiser; Rich Bouchey, Road & Bridge Supervisor.  Spencer Hilbrink and Steve Goble, with Tall Grass Pony Express Pipeline, LLC were present for their scheduled appointment.   Lori Eichman, Rooks County Health Department Administrator, and Butch Post, Emergency Management Director, were also present to give updates and advice about COVID-19.  Chairman Ruder asked all to rise and recite the Pledge of Allegiance. 

Post and Eichman each gave their respective updates on COVID-19.  At this time, County employees were asked to be quite aware of the disease, but to not spread fear.  Questions and answers were addressed.  Some department heads asked for guidance through this incubation period.  A press release was inquired about – to let the public know to use electronic devices to do transactions at the Courthouse. The State Court systems had received flyers to be posted at each location.  The Extension Offices have suspended all face-to-face meetings.  Stockton City has closed all city buildings to the public.  Each office in the courthouse was instructed to limit access to the public and to instruct the public to use telephones, fax, websites, etc. to do any business needed at the Courthouse. 

Post strongly urged all departments to get their COOP Plans (Continuity of Operation Plans) in place as this virus is an ongoing situation and the information is changing rapidly.  At this time, there are eleven (11) positive cases of COVID-19 in the State of Kansas.  Balthazor asked employees to stay home and limit all travel.  Post told the Commissioners that he does have a form, if needed, to make any declarations.  It was decided to use the Emergency Management Facebook Page as the official site to get updates and information to the employees and the public.  Civic Ready notices will also be sent.  Eichman said that she is directly under the office of Rooks County Public Health Doctor, Dr. Jen Brull, a doctor at the Rooks County Health Center. 

The Commissioners will discuss employment pay and daycare as well later. 

[ on March 17th, Governor Laura Kelly executed Order #20-04 prohibiting all public or private mass gatherings of 50 or more people in a confined or enclosed space at the same time.]

Danielle Muir, Rooks County Attorney, requested purchasing a new computer to use that would have remote access.  She had planned to purchase a new computer later this summer, but with the rise of the coronavirus disease, she asked to purchase this now.  Muir’s request was approved. 

Rich Bouchey, Road & Bridge Supervisor, gave his weekly report, reporting a week of bad news.  A motor-grader had rolled over on its side.  The transmission is out on Bouchey’s pickup.  The motor or a sensor is out on the Doosan.  The Kenworth belly dump truck has a crack in the accessory panel; the bearing and bushings are worn.  An accident had happened on X Road between 27 and 28 Roads.  A car had hit the barricade and piled rock. 

Spencer Hilbrink and Steve Goble, with Tall Grass Pony Express Pipeline, LLC requested using sand and/or crushed concrete on the road at the entrance to their business site.  Hilbrink said the dirt is causing wear and tear on their equipment.  The County has planned on doing this as requested and Bouchey’s crew is setting up at that site at this time. 

Bouchey and the Board discussed equipment maintenance and repairs.

A meeting with elected officials from the cities within Rooks County was scheduled.  Those present were:  Colton Wise, Plainville City; Troy Rudman, Plainville PD; Julie Cole, Rooks County EMS; Courtney Flower, Stockton City Manager; Judy Cantor, Woodston City Mayor; Bill Dibble, Woodston City Council; Marianne Werner and Amanda Russell, representing Codell; Shane Maddox, Zurich City Mayor, and Stephanie Maddox, Zurich City Council; Brian Newell, Damar City Mayor; Johni Keller, Palco City Mayor, and Greg Whisman, Palco City Council; Chad Sterling, Under Sheriff; and Gary Knight, Rooks County Sheriff.  Butch Post and Lori Eichman were both present to give the same updates presented earlier.  Questions were answered and discussions were held. 

The Commissioners then reconvened in their own chambers for the rest of the meeting.  The Commissioners reviewed the minutes of March 10th.  Ruder made a motion to accept the minutes of March 10th as presented.  Balthazor seconded the motion, and Hagan agreed.  After the minutes were printed, Hagan made a motion to sign the minutes of March 10th.  Ruder seconded the motion, and Balthazor agreed. 

In weekly reports, Hagan reported on the large fire that was very close to his residence.  He said all firefighters and EMS did an excellent job.  Several local firefighter crews were dispatched.  The only road concern he had been contacted about was the two miles west of Highway 183 on E Road. 

Balthazor reported the spot on 20 Road where the semi-truck got stuck is still quite soft.  Balthazor had attended a teleconference with Work Force One, and he had also attended the Juvenile Justice meeting in Hays.  The Economic Development meeting did not have enough attending to continue with the meeting. 

Ruthmary Muir, Rooks County Clerk, requested approval to purchase election supplies that would total over the $500.00 amount required for approval.  This request for election supplies was approved. 

The Commissioners discussed the Appraiser’s questions and thoughts about daycare in the courthouse, if the local daycares happen to close.  It was decided to let parents make their own daycare decisions and start looking at a contingency plan themselves. 

Hagan made a motion to review, approve and sign the weekly vouchers as follows: 

                March 17, 2020

County General                                                72595-72614                       $11,823.75

Noxious Weed                                                  72615-72620                       $7,947.84

Sheriff Equipment Reserve                              72621-72622                       $2,777.50

Treasurer Equipment Reserve                        72623                                    $607.05

Health Department                                         72624-72640                       $7,762.40

Rooks County Golf Course                            72641-72643                       $3,843.67

Economic Develop Expandable TR                 72644-72645                       $175.88

                GRAND TOTAL                                                                              $34,938.09

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

Adopted this 24th day of March, 2020



John Ruder, Chairman                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  


Greg Balthazor, Member


Corky Hagan, Member



Ruthmary Muir, Rooks County Clerk