COMMISSIONERS’ MEETING NIOBRARA COUNTY, WYOMING
September 17, 2019
The County Commissioners’ meeting was called to order on this date at 9:02 a.m. with Chairman Patrick H. Wade, Vice-Chair John Midkiff, Commissioner Elaine Griffith, and County Clerk Becky L. Freeman, present.
Chairman Wade led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Road & Bridge- Fred Thomas, Road and Bridge Foreman, met with the Commissioners and discussed county business.
Mr. Thomas said that Shannon Bruegger had contacted him and asked if he could put in some spreader dikes to help protect Cow Creek Road. Mr. Thomas told the Board that he had conveyed to Mr. Bruegger that he could not do that as the land requiring the work is privately owned, plus by installing the dikes, the flow of the water could be altered creating more problems down the line.
He said that work on Cow Creek Road was done and they put gravel on it and that they were also doing a bit of work on Walker and Oil Tank Roads and are using material from the Wasserburger Pit.
The group discussed the Centennial Woods fencing project and agreed that the County doesn’t need to enter into a contract with Centennial Woods, but we need to try and facilitate with the landowners about getting contracts with Centennial Woods.
County Attorney- Anne Wasserburger, County Attorney met with the Commissioners to discuss county business. Wendi Dutcher was also present.
Vice-Chairman Midkiff moved to enter into executive session with County Attorney Wasserburger and Wendi Dutcher at 9:30 a.m. to discuss personnel matters. Commissioner Griffith seconded, motion carried.
Vice-Chairman Midkiff moved to move out of executive session at 10:23 a.m. Commissioner Griffith seconded, motion carried. No action was taken.
Mrs. Wasserburger went on to discuss the Energy Audit and Retrofit grant agreements between the Wyoming Business Council and Niobrara County and pointed out some requirements by which the County must abide. These grants will be used to aid in the funding of lighting and HVAC work to be done at the fairgrounds.
Chairman Wade asked about the status of the Impact Statement relating to the request for de-annexation of a portion of the Town of Van Tassell and the Tri-County Joint Powers Agreement for broadband. She said she would send the impact statement to them for review and is waiting to hear back from Platte County regarding the Joint Powers Agreement.
Lastly, Chairman Wade asked if anyone was aware of a gun policy on County-owned property. No one was aware of one, and the only place you are not allowed to carry a weapon is in the courtroom. The reason for his inquiry is that the State Republican Party is having a statewide meeting in Lusk at the fairgrounds and Chairman Wade wanted to prevent any problems before they arose.
Kerry Steward, Prevention Coalition Specialist, met with the Commissioners and updated them on events and meetings in which she participated.
The group briefly discussed opioids and any problems related to them in Niobrara County. Mrs. Stewart said she doesn’t see a significant amount of issues with opioids; however, methamphetamines are a more significant problem here.
She noted that all government agencies signed a proclamation declaring the month of September suicide prevention month.
Undersheriff Wage- The group discussed the undersheriff wage and compared other counties ‘ salaries, and after considerable deliberation, Vice Chairman Midkiff moved to increase Kelly Dean’s current salary to $48,000 due to his appointment as undersheriff effective from the date of appointment, which was August 23, 2019. Commissioner Griffith seconded, motion carried.
Personnel Handbook Update- Jody Shields, Vice-President and Mary Augustin, Program Coordinator, both of Align met with the Commissioners and gave a brief introduction about themselves and what services Align provides.
They discussed the County’s employee handbook and said it needs to be updated. They estimated that it would take approximately 40 hours at a rate of $90/hour. The Commissioners asked if they would submit a contract stating those terms and the Commissioners would sign it.
Ken Dockweiler with Bridger Pipeline met with the Commissioners to introduce himself and discuss the proposed Bridger Pipeline.
He said they hadn’t reached right of way agreements with landowners yet. He also presented a preliminary map laying out the path of the pipeline.
Chairman Wade stated that they want pipeline companies to work with the conservation and weed and pest districts and that reclamation and weed control are significant issues.
Mr. Dockweiler said they were hoping to start before the end of the year on the south line; however he wasn’t sure what would happen.
Commissioner Griffith expressed concerns about wear and tear on the county roads. The Commissioners said that dust control is a big issue.
The group also discussed security and Mr. Dockweiler said they would have a good security plan in place before they start the work.
Commissioner Griffith said that the Commissioners represent the citizens of Niobrara County and she stressed that they wanted Bridger Pipeline to work closely with landowners.
The Commissioners held a phone conference with Thomas Cisneros to see what he decided to do regarding his salvage yard and collecting vehicles. Mr. Cisneros stated he chose to withdraw the idea of taking in junk vehicles through his yard at this point.
He noted that the east side of the fence is done except for the gate and he said he would be starting on the south side of the fence.
The Commissioners said that two letters were still required from surrounding landowners and they would like a timeline for completion of the fence before approving his change of zoning request.
Wyoming Business Council Energy Improvement Grants - Commissioner Griffith moved to enter into the grant agreements between the Wyoming Business Council, Community Development Division, State Energy Office and Niobrara County for energy efficiency retrofits to the fairgrounds auditorium. Vice-Chairman Midkiff seconded, motion carried.
Commissioner Griffith moved to grant the request to carry over 40 hours of vacation time for Erin Applegarth to be used before Dec. 31, 2019. Vice-Chairman Midkiff seconded, motion carried.
Vice-Chairman Midkiff moved to sign a letter to AVI regarding the Town of Lusk’s proposed multi-phased utility and street reconstruction project. Commissioner Griffith seconded, motion carried. The letter stated that the county would not be adversely impacted and foresaw no long term environmental impacts.
Consent agenda- Vice-Chairman Midkiff moved to approve the consent agenda. Commissioner Griffith seconded, motion carried. Items on the consent agenda were the minutes of the September 3, 2019 meeting.
The Commissioners presented a certificate of appreciation to Dale Miller for 15 years of service with Niobrara County Road and Bridge. Also present were Leonard Pullis, Fred Thomas, Terry Williams, Alvin Syrovatka, and Kirk Sturgeon.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned.
NIOBRARA COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
/s/ Patrick Wade, Chairman
/s/Becky L. Freeman, County Clerk
Public Notice No. 5332. Published in The Lusk Herald on October 9, 2019