Commissioners give floor to citizen concerns about South Van Tassell Road

The County Commissioners meeting 5/2/23 began with Barnie Reece and Bill Matthews discussing the south Van Tassell Road and the traffic through the winter. They had discussed the problem at their town council meeting and have contacted the Goshen County Sheriff's Office to see if there is any way that the two counties, Goshen and Niobrara, can work in conjunction with each other to come up with a way to stop the unauthorized traffic on the county roads. They all realize that the biggest problem is Google Maps giving people directions to use these roads. They want to know if there is a way we can get Goshen to shut down the road in their area and we close the other end in Niobrara.  According to Under Sheriff Kelly Dean the south Van Tassell road is actually Highway 159 and is state highway the entire way, therefore the state should be included in the discussion and decision making. 

Barnie Reece brought up classes that her son will be teaching this summer. He is a certified weapons instructor, an instructor in self defense, with a third day of instruction for women. The class would be at the cost of $250 for three days per person, $50 deposit that is non-refundable, and lunch will be provided. He would also like to do night shooting as part of the class. Pat told her that each entity is in charge of their own budget as far as paying for their employees to go to the training, so the Police Department and Sheriff's Department would have to decide determined by their own budget. 

The cost for the new road gravel is at $13,000 and they are 70% done. They should finish in the next two weeks. Benchmark states that by the end of June the job should be completely done. Fred said things are moving along as good as can be expected. They are using water for dust control as it's so dry in the county.

A road use agreement is in place that states Niobrara County is not liable for utilities being cut or pipeline being damaged per Benchmark.There are also safeguards in place that will save the county from dealing with the utility and landowners in case of damage.

Stan Swanson wants to put a water pipeline under the cattle guard. The requirements are that the area is bored and deep enough, then filled and the new cattle guard placed on top of it. It's an improved road and it's always been policy that the landowner had to bore under the road. The depth of the pipe needs to be a minimum of 72 inches below the crown of the road and the new auto gate needs to be purchased through the county. Fred Thomas will need to inspect the area after installation. It was moved and seconded to approve this petition.

The department heads and elected officials came to the meeting to give their monthly reports. Clerk of Court Chrisanna Lunde said her department is doing well. There is a jury trial coming up but other than that, things are running smooth. 

The inmates were moved out of the county last Monday according to Under Sheriff Kelly Dean. They are mainly cleaning the jail and the sheriffs office. No real issues to report. He brought to the commissioners attention that the sheriff’s office needs an upgrade on internet and can upgrade the jail and courthouse at the same time. The routers would stay the same and the IP addresses would not change. It would save money for the county and would be quite a bit faster to download and send information. Right now if there is a storm or it is cloudy the sheriff’s office loses internet completely. At this time with the damage in the jail lobby, the dispatch and officers will be temporarily housed in the Sandrock Vision building until such time as the repair and remodel is finished at the existing jail. 

Assessor Teri Stevens said her department is getting ready to go out to the field for last year’s taxes and that is about it. County Clerk Becky Freeman said her department has nothing out of the ordinary.

Commissioner Elaine Griffith reported that the county received the grant to fix the public health building. However, because of the delay with the grant, the contractor will have to work on the building in between other jobs that he had to take while waiting. 

They offered one of the candidates the position through WyoHelp for the Juvenile Services Board. They are in the process of doing a background check before they can officially offer the job.

Commissioner John Midkiff said he had been in touch with Mike Mayville and he is feeling much better and has been approached about 4 trees around the courthouse.

Bob and Tammy Bonsell came to the meeting concerned about a section of land they bought from Ron Glandt which they would like to be vacated. They were told  they need to bring a petition with 5 people signing to the county in order for the county to take this under advisement. The land also needs surveyed to get a legal description of the parcel. With the petition and survey, the Commissioners can then decide to vacate. After a long discussion and looking through numerous files it was determined that this particular piece of land is in the Town of Lusk holdings so they will have to go to the Town Council to see what they need to do, but they will need to get the land surveyed no matter where they go. 

The payments to AGC Construction will be paid when there is an invoice and voucher. 

The permit for malt beverages for Tom Dunlap at the Class reunion this summer was approved.

There was a conference call with the Congressional Tour happening this summer. After that there was a zoom meeting with the auditors. They suggested hiring one of their own to help with the audit, and it was taken under advisement with no action taken at this time. 

The Consent Agenda was moved and approved. The meeting was then adjourned.