NIOBRARA COUNTY, WYOMING
August 6, 2019
The County Commissioners’ meeting was called to order on this date at 9:00 a.m. with Chairman Patrick H. Wade, Vice-Chair John Midkiff, Commissioner Elaine Griffith, and County Clerk Becky L. Freeman, present. Also in attendance were Marcia Bruegger, Lacey Willey, Chris Wilkins, and Ted Holman, landowners, Teri Stephens, Assessor and County Attorney Anne Wasserburger.
Marcia A. Bruegger spoke on behalf of the landowners present and presented a petition for de-annexation from the Town of Van Tassell. She explained they all shared concerns regarding a recent ordinance/master plan the Town of Van Tassell passed and the effect it might have on their future livelihoods as well as the perceived disregard the Council had for the landowners wishes for compromise in the master plan. She explained that the lands proposed in the petition are already zoned agriculture and have been used as such for the approximate time of 50 years, with no restrictions placed on the land usage by the Town. They want to petition for de-annexation because they feel there is no longer any cohesiveness between the Town Council and the landowners and they wish to preserve their way of life.
Mrs. Bruegger said that the petition would be presented to the Van Tassell Council tonight.
According to statutes, the Commissioners shall, within 60 days, prepare a report on the impact this de-annexation might pose.
Road & Bridge- Fred Thomas, Road and Bridge Foreman, met with the Commissioners and discussed road and bridge business.
The group discussed the OneCall meeting that some attended and discussed their concerns with the new law which went into effect July 1. Mr. Thomas said that before he or his crew can blade a road, he has to call OneCall 48 hours in advance for work on a 2-mile stretch of road.
He said that other counties are continuing business as usual, but he won’t be pulling shoulders unless OneCall is contacted. He has told the operators to stay out of the ditch and on the road.
The group then discussed wages in road and bridge. Because there will be two positions vacant or becoming vacant, Mr. Thomas would like to move employees to those positions with the correlating wage. While the Commissioners appreciated Mr. Thomas’s effort to compensate the employees, they felt it was not feasible to give them the raise awarded in the budget and then an additional increase for the wage attached to the current position. They felt those positions had the salaries they did due to the length of time the prior employee worked plus bonuses and raises over time which further elevated the wage. The vacant positions will be filled by the current employees at their approved salaries from the 2020 budget.
Public Health Nurse- Melannie Pearce, Regional Public Health Nurse Supervisor, met with the Commissioners to discuss the prevention program.
The group discussed the contracts with Community Consulting and Advocacy (CCA) and Sylvestri Customization and the costs associated with them. The Commissioners were unsure that these contracts were the best use of grant money. Ms. Pearce explained that the prevention manager has been utilizing the CCA contact person weekly for coalition advice and that the person working with Sylvestri Customization does have a prevention specialist certification and is familiar with the program. The Commissioners felt that there were less expensive options to investigate as far as website design, printing, and website maintenance.
Ms. Pearce also updated them on the public health nursing side of things. She said it is still slow getting people to come in, but the Maternal Child Health program is doing well.
County Attorney- Anne Wasserburger, County Attorney, met with the Commissioners and discussed county business. The group discussed road use and repair agreements and the proposed Tri-County Joint Powers Board agreement for broadband.
She said that the contract with CCA looked good to sign from a legal standpoint.
Elected Officials & Dept. Heads- Teri Stephens, Assessor, James Santistevan, Emergency Mgmt. Coordinator, Keri Thompson, Treasurer, Denise E. Smith, Extension Office, and Anne Wasserburger, County Attorney, met with the Commissioners and discussed county business and office operations.
Denise Smith said the County Fair is in the books and State Fair begins next week. She said work has started on the livestock pavilion. She also talked about 4-H Fridays which begin in September and plans they have for school-age youth.
James Santistevan said he had a busy month. He noted that the County would be receiving an Emergency Management Preparedness Grant sometime soon. He also said he had been very busy with weather spotting and he said that Manville’s emergency warning siren is no longer working and will need replacing.
Keri Thompson discussed the tax sale and said it went well and that her office is busy preparing year-end reports for taxing authorities as well as gathering information for the auditors. Anne Wasserburger said her office has been busy working on felony cases and that a jury trial is scheduled for October.
Teri Stephens said they are almost done reviewing properties for the year; otherwise, it is business as usual.
Industrial Road Program- The Commissioners discussed the proposed IRP project and chose to opt-out of Cheyenne River Industrial Road Program. A letter stating such will be forthcoming.
Danny and Donna Hanson, Cheryl Lund, JoAnn Wade, Jason ZumBrunnen, Matt Dockery, Russ and Sena Pearson, Karen and Chuck Bruch, , Kevin Baars, Pat and John Bruch, Dwight and Shelley Krein, Mike Kane, Dean Nelson, Jim Meng, Lisa Shaw, Conservation District, Travis Krein, Arleen York, Clyde Bayne and Dusty Correl met with the Commissioners to share information and present concerns they have with the proposed new Bridger pipeline and existing easements.
The Commissioners extended their appreciation to the landowners for coming in and voicing their concerns.
The Commissioners held a phone conference with Centennial Woods representatives regarding snow fence contracts. Also in attendance were Doyle J. Davies, Deputy County Attorney and Fred Thomas, Road and Bridge Foreman.
Consent Agenda- Vice-Chairman Midkiff moved, and Commissioner Griffith seconded to approve consent agenda. Motion carried. Items on the consent agenda were the minutes of the July 16, 2019 meeting and receipts for the month of July from the County Clerk for $5,899.95; the Sheriff for $1,805.00, and the Clerk of Court for $1,042.10. Also on the agenda was a Petition of Affidavit for Cancellation of Taxes for 71 Construction from the 2019 Tax Rolls resulting in a cancellation amount of $1,219.78 and a Tax Roll Supplement for BW Gas & Convenience Store Real Estate LLC. from the 2019 Tax Year resulting in an increase in total taxes of $958.89.
Community Consulting and Advocacy Contract- Vice-Chairman Midkiff moved, and Commissioner Griffith seconded to sign the contract between the CCA & Niobrara County for technical services for the County Prevention Grant. Motion carried.
2019 Levies- Commissioner Griffith moved, and Vice-Chairman Midkiff seconded to set the 2019 Mill Levies as presented by the Assessor. Motion carried.
Business Associate Agreement- Commissioner Griffith moved, and Vice-Chairman Midkiff seconded to sign the HIPPA Business Associate Agreement between Niobrara County on behalf of WEBT (covered entity) and Willis Towers Watson of Colorado, Inc. on behalf of itself and its affiliates (Business Associate). Motion carried.
Employer Participation Agreement- Commissioner Griffith moved, and Vice-Chairman Midkiff seconded to sign the Employer Participation Agreement with WEBT. Motion carried.
The Commissioners elected not to renew the contract with Sylvesti Customization at this time.
Vice-Chairman Midkiff moved, and Commissioner Griffith seconded to approve the agreement between Thunder Basin and Niobrara County for gravel work to be done on Redbird Road. Motion carried.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned.
NIOBRARA COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
/s/ Patrick Wade, Chairman
/s/ Becky L. Freeman, County Clerk
Public Notice No. 5314. Published in The Lusk Herald on August 28, 2019