October 12, 2022
The Rooks County Board of Commissioners met with the following present: Chairman, John Ruder, and Members, Greg Balthazor and Tim Berland. Laura Montgomery, County Clerk, was present to write the minutes. Virgie Laska was present to write a report for the Stockton Sentinel. Ruder called the meeting to order and asked all to stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance.
The agenda accepted as presented.
Jim Prockish, Danny Knoll, Eric Biggs, Dick Butler, Randy Odle and Eric Woodward, all road employees, were in to discuss wages. Prockish stated when he started in 2019, he was made promises of moving up on the pay scale. He has only has moved up one classification. He would like to know if the commissions will give wage increases. Biggs said the road is short five employees. If they dissolve the five jobs then the commissioners can increase wages by $2.88 per hour. Also, they can add the health insurance back into wages. Biggs said he is in the poverty level for pay. Ruder asked if he feels like we are running short on employees. Biggs said if employees are doing extra work, then they should get better pay. He appreciates the health insurance but a person can’t pay bills with the health insurance. Some of the employees are doing side jobs to make extra money to pay bills. Biggs feels the county needs to have guys that are more diverse and be given a higher salary. Ruder said downsizing the number of employees was discussion last week.
Ruder asked if any other employees had any comments. Knoll, with the landfill, said Bouchey doesn’t show when he has been called to go out there. He was on the bridge crew but was asked to go run the landfill despite wanting to stay on the bridge crew. He is still classified as a crew chief but thinks his position should be a foreman. The landfill has a slush fund that can be used to pay for people to come out and pick up trash that has blown outside of the fence area. He told Bouchey he should pay the road crew cash to go out there to pick up trash. He discussed the daily jobs and issues at the landfill. He would like to feel more appreciated.
Prockish said he wants to stay at four-ten hours days per week. Odle would like to see more re-classifications.
Berland said we are behind on hourly rate but we have better insurance. He doesn’t feel the employees are over-paid. Ruder said they known inflation is a huge concern for everyone. The commissioners thanked everyone for coming in.
Bouchey weekly report: Sadie was here to help explained the longevity for Graham County. The percentage for longevity is from base wages and not the current salary like Rooks County. Graham is the closest to Rooks for health insurance. All employees in Graham County pays 6% of the cost of health insurance. They have seven classifications. Bouchey said reclassifications are done in December to start the following year.
Wanda Burker is allowing the road crew onto her property so they can get rock and water for the Logan Road. Balthazor said he drove the road and there is only about 1 to 1 ½ miles that need worked.
Bouchey discussed the road employees coming in to talk with the commissioners. He told the commissioners how he felt and why. He said he depends on his foremen and secretary to help him make decisions concerning who gets re-classified. He wants the employees to come to work for 40 hours a week and do what they are asked and do it safely. He is responsible for classification and the base wages are the commissioners’ concern.
The mobile air compressor needs to be replaced. Bouchey is requesting to purchase a Vanair capstart 3000. It comes with a powerpack he can take off and use in any vehicle. It will be twenty-five weeks before a new compressor will be here. The price is $18,420.00 but $1,000 of it is being taken off. Ruder made a motion to purchase the Vanair capstart 3000 for $17,420.00. Berland second the motion and Balthazor agreed.
Bouchey said Strutt does a very good job at keeping the shop clean and organized. Biggs does a great job in the shop and working for Strutt.
Berland asked if Bouchey ever does reclassification more than once a year. Bouchey said he re-classed Biggs at 90 days because he is there and putting in the effort every day. He wants the guys to show up, take their equipment and do their job without someone having to stand over them telling them what and how. Most of the counties pay about two dollars more than Rooks County.
On the Logan Road, Bouchey plans to use a teeth blade and then put water on it. Pull up the road some and rock around the curve. There are several roads in the county that need water and worked as harvest is coming up. Bouchey and Commissioners discussed roads concerns.
Bouchey said he is prepared to work with less employees. There are about four to five employees that are looking at retirement. He only has two employees that are hauling now. He is looking at Rudman taking over the landfill when Knoll retires. Balthazor asked Bouchey what he thinks it will take to hire someone? Bouchey replied more advertising and higher wages. Sadie asked if you are able to do some of the Class A CDL training? He can train a non-CDL driver. They discussed driver license classification.
The County Attorney still has paperwork for the trucks. Hopefully Bouchey will hear back from her this week. Strutt needs a tool box for the shop. This will cost three to five thousand dollars. Ruder said to get a firm price. Balthazor said he had a request from someone about removing the trees at P and 28 Rd.
The commissioners approve taking funeral leave for the employees who went to Roque Garcia’s funeral.
Laura Montgomery, Clerk, presented the commissioners information on budgets and cash for the General Fund. Kim Northup, Treasurer, April Brown, Register of Deeds and Heather Poore was in the listen. The General Fund Budget balance is at 83% and it should be closer to 75%. Both the commissioner’s and ambulance funds have a negative balance. The commissioner’s paid out funds to Red Bud and the restoration on the courthouse. Their budget is a minus $136,430.33 but after adding in their reimbursements it is a plus $96,428.49. The ambulance fund is a minus $91,536.50 with a project balance at the end of the year of minus $136,537.00. There are a few additional funds that are or will have a minus budget balance at the end of the year.
Montgomery’s biggest worry is the cash balance. The current cash balance for the General Fund is $506,786.97. This will be enough for October but there is very little additional money coming in before the end of the year. Montgomery estimates a cash shortage in the General Fund of about 600,000 to 650,000. The commissioners will need to transfer funds to make up the difference. It was discussed as to the possible why’s for the cash shortage and the solutions. Montgomery will reach out to John Mapes, County Auditor, and ask him to visit with the commissioners as soon as possible to discuss the General Fund being short and on transferring funds.
The commissioners reviewed the minutes from last week. Ruder made a motion to approve with corrections. Balthazor second the motion and Berland agreed.
Heather Poore, Appraiser, was in to update the commissioners about Midland Marketing. She has been negotiating with Jared, the Attorney for Midland. They won the argument that the equipment on the grain elevator is personal property. The equipment is 50 % of elevator value. The value on the old Palco elevator decreased some but she won on the Zurich and Plainville elevator. She discussed how and what the state is valuing for elevators. She is hoping to come to an agreement on the Midland Marketing new elevator in Palco so she won’t have to go to BOTA.
Ruder made a motion to review and sign weekly vouchers as follows. Berland second the motion and Balthazor agreed.
FUND WARRANTS AMOUNT
General 79002 – 79024 16,856.76
Road 79025 – 79029 2,205.36
Noxious Weed 79030 – 73032 501.29
Attorney Equip 79033 1,525.70
Sheriff Equip 79034 – 79035 3,000.00
Health 79036 – 79049 8,442.94
Sanitation 79050 – 79052 250.37
Golf Course 79053 – 79055 156.71
RCED 79056 – 79057 150.83
Insurance Claims 79058 8,811.60
The commissioners discussed having Heritage Insurance and K-Camp and K-Works present bids for W/C and property insurance for next year. Montgomery will contact both for bids.
Ruder informed the other commissioners on the Golf Course restaurant. The couple is actively pursuing it. Zac Brown, custodian, has been out there looking at what needs to be repaired.
The Red Bud meeting was postponed to October 27th. The commissioners’ regular meeting on Tuesday, November 1st will be on Monday, October 31st along with payroll and end of the month vouchers.
Commissioners discussed wage increases at the Road & Bridge and Landfill Departments. Berland made a motion to increase the base salary of every employee at the Road & Bridge and Landfill by $1.82 per hour to be effective for the November payroll. Ruder second the motion and Balthazor agreed.
With no further business to transact, Ruder made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Berland second the motion and Balthazor agreed.
Adopted this 18th day of October, 2022
ROOKS COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
John Ruder, Chairman
Greg Balthazor, Member
Tim Berland, Member
Laura Montgomery, Certified County Clerk