March 24


March 24, 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, was present as well.  The Commissioners were hosting the department heads once again and the meeting was held in the Courtroom at the Rooks County Courthouse in order to practice the ‘social distancing’ order from the Governor of the State of Kansas.  Those present were the following:  Betty Hrabe, GIS; Roque Garcia, Rooks County Custodian; Connie Stithem, District Court Clerk; Chad Sterling, Under Sheriff; Gary Knight, Rooks County Sheriff; Anna Muir, KSU Extension Agent; Danielle Muir, Rooks County Attorney;  Heather Poore, Rooks County Appraiser; Rosalee Sprick, Register of Deeds; Kim Northup, Rooks County Treasurer; Mike Klein, Noxious Weed Director; Rich Bouchey, Road & Bridge Supervisor; Butch Post, Emergency Management; Lori Eichman, Rooks County Health Department Administrator.  Chairman Ruder brought the meeting to order, and asked all to stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance.  Ruder then asked Lori Eichman to give updates to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Lori Eichman, Rooks County Health Department Administrator, went over the following: 

                Governor Kelly – Executive Order #20-14 – temporarily prohibiting mass gatherings of 10 or more people to limit the spread of COVID-19 and rescinding Executive Order 20-04 (with 50 or more people in a gathering) effective 12:01 pm on March 17, 2020.

                Dr. Jen Brull, Rooks County Health Officer is recommending closing the Courthouse to the public.

                The Courthouse Departments were encouraged to use gloves when opening mail and packages.  Also, mailed boxes should be disinfected with a disinfected spray.

                The Treasurer reported that vehicle registrations will extend sixty (60) days past the deadline until July 12th.  New vehicle titles will be made by appointment only.  The Sheriff’ Office is not doing any VIN inspections at this time. 

                A questionnaire form is available if needed to screen any face-to-face appointments. 

                A discussion was held as how to handle arrests within 48 hours. 

                Discussions were held concerning the problems that will arise for the Register of Deeds’ public vault. 

                The District Courts have already closed to the public, using essential staff only.

John Ruder made a motion to close the Rooks County Courthouse to the public effective at 10:00 am on Tuesday, March 24th.  Departments heads and the Elected Officials may make any necessary appointments that are needed with the public. Employees will be working.  Each department should have their own COOP plans in place.  Balthazor seconded the motion, and Hagan agreed.

There was discussion about compensating employees if and when there may be a shut down due to the virus or if a positive case is confirmed in-county and non-essential employees are sent home.  No decision was made. 

Post encouraged all departments to get their COOP plans finished and these plans will need to be approved by the Commissioners. 

Kim Northup, Rooks County Treasurer, asked about purchasing a drop box to put at the south entryway for the public to use.  The ‘No Parking’ sign currently located near this area will be removed.  The Commissioners approved the Treasurer’s request for a drop box for public use. 

After the meeting with the department heads, the Commissioners moved to their chambers to continue the meeting.  Representatives from the Township #11 Board were present to discuss their plans for some road work around the Plainville Lake.  Neil Fischer and Alan Dinkel represented the township board, and Brandon Decker, with Penco Engineering was present as well.  Rich Bouchey, Road & Bridge Supervisor was present too.  The township board has plans to do some curbing along the road to help with water drainage.  They asked if the County would be interested in doing the chip and sealing on the road the length of the dam to K-18 Highway.  These improvements would channel the water run-off and curb the erosion.  After some discussion, the Commissioners, with the approval from Bouchey, too; agreed to do the chip and seal on the south end of the road mentioned.  The Township #11 Board plans to compensate the County for any work done.

Bids for the grass rent at the Landfill were opened: 

  • Oliver Beall $20.25 / Acre
  • Steve & Ryan Hageman $30.17 / Acre
  • Chris Kriley $23.00 / Acre
  • Bruce Krob $20.00 / Acre
  • Dale Niblock $19.25 / Acre
  • Daniel Riffel $22.00 / Acre
  • Jameson Klein $23.20 / Acre
  • Michelle Stithem $15.00 / Acre
  • McCune farms $20.00 / Acre

Hagan made a motion to accept the bid from Steve & Ryan Hageman in the amount of $30.17 per acre for pasture rent.  Balthazor seconded the motion, and Ruder agreed.  With 59 acres, this comes to $1,780.00 a year.  Rich Bouchey, Road & Bridge Supervisor, will draw up the lease. 

Rich Bouchey, Road & Bridge Supervisor, mentioned he would be working on a COOP plan for his department. 

Ruder made a motion to sign for deposit the Landfill check in the amount of $9,699.20 from the cash and receipts at the Landfill.  Hagan seconded the motion, and Balthazor agreed. 

Hagan made a motion to accept the fee reports from both the Road & Bridge Department and the Landfill Department dated February, 2020.  Ruder seconded the motion, and Balthazor agreed. 

Bouchey presented some more truck quotes he had received – different quotes from the previous week.  Bouchey was very interested in one from Cat.  After reviewing the quotes, Ruder made a motion to approve the purchase of a 2013 Cat Truck for the amount of $29,900.00.  Hagan seconded the motion, and Balthazor agreed.    

Road maintenance and equipment repairs were discussed.  Hagan shared concerned calls regarding the Red Line Road. 

The Commissioners reviewed the minutes from March 16th and March 17th.  Ruder made a motion to approve the minutes of March 16th as presented and the minutes of March 17th with a minor correction.  Hagan seconded the motion, and Balthazor agreed.  After the minutes were printed, Hagan made a motion to sign the minutes as corrected.  Balthazor seconded the motion, and Ruder agreed. 

A letter was received from the Northwest Kansas Planning and Development Commission outlining the 2020 grant application deadlines.

The Commissioners discussed compensation pay in regards to the different scenarios that may arise during the COVID-19 pandemic.  No decisions were made.  With the Courthouse being closed to the public, it was decided to leave the west door unlocked for employees only as not all employees have an outside door key at this time.  Kim Northup, Treasurer, and Betty Hrabe, GIS, brought signage to the chambers to get approval from the Board.   The signage was for the doors of the courthouse letting the public know it was closed to the public with phone numbers to all departments.  The signage was approved. 

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

                March 24, 2020

County General                                    72646-72667                                   $32,128.24

Road & Bridge                                       72668-72683                                   $20,530.55

Health Department                                 72684-72688                                   $4,560.73

Sanitation                                               72689-72693                                   $1,070.15

                GRAND TOTAL                                                                              $58,289.67

One voucher/check made for special event insurance (Spring Livestock Show) will be held to make sure the event will be held as scheduled. 

Heather Poore, Appraiser, came to let the Commissioners know about the 2021 oil valuations dropping 50 – 70%.  Poore is expecting higher than normal oil exemptions with low production.  Also, with the increase of residential homes in Plainville, she will be holding a large amount of Payment Under Protest hearings.  Poore reiterated that the economy in Rooks County will be taking a hit. 

The Commissioners looked at and discussed the various department’s COOP plans.  The plans were approved with each department head using their discretionary judgements. 


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

Adopted this 31st day of March, 2020



John Ruder, Chairman                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               


Greg Balthazor, Member


Corky Hagan, Member



Ruthmary Muir, Rooks County Clerk