The County Commissioners’ meeting was called to order on February 2, 2021, at 9:00 a.m. with Chairman Patrick H. Wade, Vice-Chairman John Midkiff, Commissioner Elaine Griffith, and County Clerk Becky L. Freeman present.
Chairman Wade led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Road & Bridge- Road and Bridge Foreman Fred Thomas met with the Commissioners and discussed road and bridge business.
He said that JW Services has approximately 2,600 tons of gravel to haul on Boner Road and hopefully will be done this week.
He said he has an upcoming meeting with Centennial Woods regarding the snow fence. He also discussed pits and spot graveling.
Brian Wakefield, the engineer with BenchMark of Torrington, joined the meeting and the group discussed the new 2020 Winter Road Rehabilitation Project. They also discussed the easements crossing State Lands without post-construction reports filed. He said they have Indian Creek easements ready to submit to the State for approval and are working on Cheyenne River Road. These easements were from projects done in the late 1990s.
Elected Officials and Department Heads- Dr. Melanie Pearce, Regional Public Health Nurse Supervisor, informed the group that there are no cases of COVID-19 in the county. She said that vaccinations have been going well, and they are finished with the 1B protocol. She is preparing for the new Phase B protocol, including individuals aged 65-69, caregivers, workforce service employees, court employees, and those with certain health problems.
She said that Phase 1C is for essential workers. She plans to conduct second-dose vaccinations for those 65 and up February 4th.
She said that Prevention Specialist Katie Krein is working on a strategic plan for the county.
James Santistevan, Emergency Management Coordinator, talked about a minor issue he encountered during the recent storm with the new generator at the fairgrounds. He said it worked like it was supposed to when the power went out but wouldn’t convert back to city power once the power was restored.
Cary Gill, County Sheriff, updated the Commissioners on the status of the 2004 Dodge with the new motor. He said it has quit running. He will take it to Hiway Brake & Alignment to see if they can determine what is wrong with the motor.
He also discussed a new hire and noted that the employee would have to attend a mini detention school to update their certification.
Chrisanna Lund, Clerk of Court, noted her receipts had been up every month since August.
Teri Stephens, County Assessor, said things are status quo in her office.
Denise Smith, Extension Educator, noted that renovations at the auditorium are moving along. She said that Steam Fridays have started up again, and they are starting the winter session of FitX. She said it is a great wellness program.
Doyle Davies, Deputy County Attorney, discussed the new road rehab project and noted there had been a lot of court activity lately.
Keri Thompson, County Treasurer, said that she and Teri Stephens watched a video about Senate File 60 Monthly Ad Valorem Tax Revisions and would like to discuss it further with the Commissioners.
Commissioner Griffith discussed the charitable relief program.
Chairman Wade expressed concerns about comp time accrual in light of the bleak financial outlook.
Sheriff Gill and Deputy County Attorney Davies remained and discussed an abandoned vehicle policy that Sheriff Gill wants to implement in his office. The group also discussed the towing fees associated with abandoned vehicles. Deputy Attorney Davies said that he felt that hookup fees should be included in the mileage costs for abandoned vehicle payments to tow companies.
Emergency Operations Committee- Dr. Melanie Pearce, Chief of Police Bo Krein, Emergency Management Coordinator James Santistevan, and Public Information Officer Becky Blackburn met with the Commissioners to discuss the upcoming vaccination clinics.
Dr. Pearce’s main concern was that there was no internet in the Shooting Sports Building, which would hamper their data input and uploads.
Several suggestions were made regarding the internet and other buildings, and it was decided to use the Shooting Sports Building for the Thursday clinics. She would see if any of her new grants would allow the purchase of internet for that building.
Chief Krein mentioned that if the police department is the only law enforcement entity at the drive-through clinic, he would like an official request in writing, so there is no liability since the fairgrounds fall outside his jurisdiction.
Tyler Richardson met with the Commissioners to discuss 2nd amendment rights and discuss resolutions other counties have passed declaring their counties second amendment sanctuary counties. She asked the Commissioners to consider declaring Niobrara County a 2nd amendment sanctuary county.
Chairman Wade explained that a resolution doesn’t necessarily have the full effect of law but makes our wishes known. He said they would visit with the County Attorney and request she draft something for the next meeting.
There was nothing new to report under old business.
The Commissioners and Clerk Freeman discussed a letter they received from Secretary of State Ed Buchanan regarding the upcoming 2022 elections and the continued security of equipment and cybersecurity statewide.
The Commissioners and Clerk Freeman discussed a letter they received from the Wyoming County Road Standards Committee regarding the County Road Fund and their request for more information on road projects from FY2019.
Weed & Pest Control District- Vice-Chairman Midkiff moved to reappoint Aaron Adams to the Niobrara County Weed and Pest Control District Area IV. Commissioner Griffith seconded, and the motion carried.
The Commissioners tabled signing the 2020 Winter Road Rehabilitation Agreement due to an irregularity in wording.
Keri Thompson and Teri Stephens met with the Commissioners and informed them about SF60 and how it will affect the County’s budget and those of Special Districts and Boards. Treasurer Thompson and Assessor Stephens thought it would be beneficial to invite the special district board members, the library, fair and weed & pest board members to the next meeting to discuss these budget concerns.
Kellie Chichester, Denise Smith, and Erin Persche of the extension office met with the Commissioners to discuss their concerns about comp time.
Chairman Wade asked them for ideas they might have to help out with the budget and join them at the next meeting to continue discussions.
The Commissioners discussed the Charitable Fund Relief Program and Commissioner Griffith noted she had received applications from the following entities: NCHS Tiger Pride Boosters for $2,803.40, Niobrara Senior Center, Inc. for $5,000.00, Niobrara Alumni Association for $1,511.80, Niobrara County Homemakers for $2,826.00, Helpmate Crisis Center for $15,000.00 and the Lusk Does Drove #64 for $3,800.00.
The Commissioners reviewed each application and felt they qualified for the full amounts except for the Helpmate Crisis Center. They want more information before they would award the total amount requested. Commissioner Griffith moved to award the charitable relief program funds to Helpmate Crisis Center for $12,300.00, NCHS Tiger Pride Boosters for $2,803.40, Niobrara Senior Center, Inc. for $5,000.00, Niobrara Alumni Association for $1,511.80, Niobrara County Homemakers for $2,826.00, and the Lusk Does Drove #64 for $3,800.00 for a total award amount of $28,241.20. Vice-Chairman Midkiff seconded, motion carried.
The Commissioners, Treasurer Keri Thompson, and Assessor Teri Stephens held a phone conversation with Jeremiah Rieman, Executive Director of the Wyoming County Commissioners Association, regarding SF60.
Consent Agenda- Commissioner Griffith moved to approve the consent agenda. Vice-Chairman Midkiff seconded, and the motion carried. Items on the consent agenda were the minutes of the January 19, 2021 meeting and receipts for January from the County Clerk for $7,366.00, from the Sheriff for $361.00, from the Clerk of District Court for $732.00, and from the Public Health Nurse for $282.09.
Payroll and the following vouchers were approved for payment: Aflac- Supplemental Insurance- $7,718.15, Allbright’s True Value- Supplies, parts- $24.53, Alsco- Shop towels & coveralls- $429.04, Anderson Carpet Sales, Inc.- Carpet at fairgrounds auditorium- $60,182.66, Anne Wasserburger- Reimbursement for supplies- $122.60, Barnes Law, LLC.- Court appointed attorney- $130.00, Becky Blackburn- Reimbursement for Postage, supplies- 68.03, BenchMark of Torrington- Engineering fees- $7,838.46, Black Hills Chemical & Janitorial- CH & FG Cleaning supplies- $904.63, Black Hills Energy- Utilities- $2,141.63, Blue360 Media, LLC.- Publications- $4433.10, Blue Cross Blue Shield of WY- Health Insurance- $17,616.00, Bob Ruwart Motors, Inc.- New equipment- $34,500.00, Canon Financial Services, LLC.- Copier service agreement- $380.00, Casper Tin Shop, LLC.- Fairgrounds auditorium upgrades- $56,234.70, CenturyLink- Telephone- $2,802.83, CenturyLink Business Services- $88.68, Coast to Coast Solutions- Supplies- $399.42, Connecting Point Computer Centers- Copier service agreements- $323.13, Cory Wilcox- Deputy Coroner- $100.00, Decker’s Market- Supplies- $54.49, Delta Dental- Supplemental Insurance- $1,070.90, Denise E. Smith- Reimburse for travel expense- $117.04, Dennis C. Meier- Office rent- $1,000.00, Double A Properties, LLC.- Office rent- $1,000.00, Election Systems & Software, Inc.- Ballot coding from General Election- $466.00, Falen Law Offices, LLC.- Natural Resource Plan updates- $3,125.00, Floyd’s Truck Center, Inc.- Parts- $133.94, Frank Parts Co.- Parts- $479.51, Geographic Innovations- Professional Mapping- $1,300.00, Great-West Trust Co., LLC.- Deferred Compensation- $17,735.00, Great Western Tire Co.- Tires- $2,887.60, GreatAmerica Financial Services- Monthly Copier Payment- $103.00, Herren Brothers True Value- Parts- $166.34, Honey Badger Towing & Recovery, LLC.- Abandoned Vehicle towing & transporting Co. vehicle for repairs- $1,264.00, Jameson Cleaning & Maintenance, LLC.- Fairgrounds cleaning contract- $6,800.00, JW Services, LLC. – 2020 Road Rehab Project- $47,190.40, Katie Krein- Reimbursement for phone, supplies, I T expense, office space- $140.02, Lawson Products, Inc.- Parts- $1,884.83, Lusk Herald- Publications- $647.80, MasterCard- Supplies, I T expense, new equipment, computer expense, SARS Molecular testing, postage, schools, transports- $4,747.74, Niobrara County Hospital District- 1% Option Tax- $15,852.63, Niobrara County Library- Reimburse for deferred comp expense- $1,725.00, Niobrara County Public Health- Prevention Grant management- $341.92, Niobrara County Sheriff’s Office- Reimbursement for postage- $13.25, Niobrara Electric Association- Radio tower rent- $51.10, Office Depot- Supplies- $276.15, Palen Law Offices, LLP.- Court appointed attorney- $2,334.64, Plainsman Printing & Supply- Supplies- $1,107.71, Porter, Muirhead, Cornia, & Howard- Audit- $23,000.00 Print Express- Prevention grant flyers- $177.50, Quadient Leasing USA, Inc.- Quarterly postage meter lease payment- $1,197.00, Rancher’s Feed & Supply, Inc.- Parts- $294.66, Safeguard Business Systems- Supplies- $147.49, Swanson Services Corp.- Commissary Account- $103.12, Sylvestri Customization- Prevention grant I T expense- $100.00, Thomson Reuters-West- Law library- $159.14, Torrington Office Supply- Supplies- $249.61, Town of Lusk- Utilities- $2,953.38, Traci Bruegger- Courthouse, Library, Justice Center cleaning contract- $4,500.00, Tyler Technologies- Computer expense- $82.69, Valley Motor Supply- Parts- $922.82, Verizon Wireless- Telephone- $318.78, Vision Service Plan- Supplemental Insurance- $433.90, Visionary Broadband- I T Expense- $530.34, WEBT- Life insurance- $211.50, Westco- Diesel- $4,367.45, Western Detention- Justice center maintenance- $301.65, Whitaker Oil- Fuel- $1,761.18, Wyoming Law Enforcement Academy- Costs only- Academy- $810.00, WY Enterprise Technology Services- I T expense- $115.49, Wyoming Dept. of Transportation- License plates- $5.00, Wyoming Machinery Co.- Equipment repairs- $984.46, Wyoming Network, Inc.- I T expense0 $200.00, Wyoming Women’s Center- Inmate meals- $1,034.88, Xerox Corp- Copier service agreement- $129.29.
Grand total- $351,561.13
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned.
NIOBRARA COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
Patrick Wade, Chairman
Becky L. Freeman, County Clerk
and Clerk to the Board of County Commissioners
Public Notice No. 5573. Published in The Lusk Herald on February 24, 2021.