Local News

Russell County Will Not Mandate Masks

County Commission Meeting 7-6-20The Russell County Commissioners met Monday and voted to not mandate wearing face masks in public in Russell County, going against Governor Laura Kelly's statewide executive order.

The Russell County Health Department released a statement last week saying Russell County officials would not enforce the Governor's order and no restrictions would be in place, but the official decision would be made by the Commissioners on Monday.

Action taken by the Kansas Legislature earlier this year allows counties in the state more local control when it comes to enforcing executive orders from the Governor.

Commissioner Steve Reinhardt explains their decision.

Also Monday, the 2021 budget was discussed.

Due to the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the overall Russell County budget is down $10.7 million. If the County wanted to fund everything fully next year, it would mean a 30-mill increase. That's obviously not an option.


Before considering the 36-hour work week option, the Commissioners were still looking at a nine or 10-mill increase. However, with that 36-hour week option, the increase would be about 3.8 mills.

Even with a mill levy increase of that size, Russell County would still bring in less dollars than the last couple years due to lower valuations.

To keep the mill levy the same as this year, they would still need to cut more than $300,000 from the budget.

The Commissioners plan to meet with the county department heads in two weeks to further discuss options. The budget will be approved in August.

The Commissioners did get some good financial news on Monday.

The Commissioners also discussed road, bridge and culvert repairs.

Meeting Minutes

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