The County Commissioners’ meeting was called to order on August 17, 2021, at 9:01 a.m. with Chairman Patrick H. Wade, Vice-Chairman John Midkiff, Commissioner Elaine Griffith, and County Clerk Becky L. Freeman present. Kurt Gaukel was also in attendance.
Chairman Wade led in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Road and Bridge- Foreman Fred Thomas met with the Commissioners and updated them on road and bridge business.
Josh Harkins, engineer with BenchMark of Torrington, presented the final pay request from Timberline Services, Inc. for the 2020 Winter Road Rehabilitation project.
Chairman Wade told Mr. Harkins that the County is discussing a new road project for 2021.
The Commissioners and Foreman Thomas then discussed pit inspection reports that Mr. Thomas received from the Dept. of Environmental Quality, Water Quality Division. The DEQ raised several concerns that need to be addressed within 30 days of receipt of the letter such as reporting and record keeping requirements, and the need to develop an adequate SWPPP. Foreman Thomas said there were several pits he believed needed to be closed as they are basically depleted of material.
He said that no reclamation is needed and the existing stockpiles are left for the landowner to use with the stipulation that the County may use it in the event of an emergency. Chairman Wade raised a question about pits that may require reclamation but the landowner would not allow that to happen. According to Mr. Thomas, there isn’t anything that can be done except to document the event.
Foreman Thomas thought that the Boner, Tollman, Thomson, Manning, and Fenno pits should be closed as there isn’t enough material, if any, available.
Old Business- There is nothing to report on the fairgrounds auditorium roof repairs.
American Rescue Plan- Commissioner Griffith attended a virtual NACO meeting regarding uses of the funds. It cannot be used as a non-federal match unless authorized. She noted there are a lot of reporting requirements. She said that the funds must be obligated by December 31, 2024 and work must be completed by December 31, 2026.
The group discussed an open house celebration for the Courthouse. It turned 100 years old in 2020 and because of COVID, no ceremony was held. More discussion will be held and a final date established.
County Attorney- County Attorney Anne Wasserburger met with the Commissioners and updated them on information she gathered regarding the railroad not maintaining fire breaks. Statutorily, WYDOT sets the guidelines and enforces the rules. She is waiting to hear from a representative from WYDOT regarding this matter.
Juvenile Housing- She told the Commissioners that a juvenile housing unit could not be established at the county jail, as there isn’t complete isolation from sight and sound of adult inmates and the way the jail is designed doesn’t allow for proper entrance and exit without other inmate contact.
Jerry Miller met with the Commissioners and presented a proposal for courthouse exterior repairs. He estimated it would cost approximately $14,400.00 to remove paint on the foundation and bulkheads (anything cement,) power wash and prime them, seal cracks, do plaster work on the back side of the courthouse and then paint. He felt he and his crew could get to it before any major snowfall.
Mikes Noonan with Aspen Consulting met with the Commissioners and several members of the public and various organizations, (a list is attached to these minutes,) to discuss a proposed energy/fuel project, in particular, green hydrogen for eastern Wyoming.
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 August 3, 2021 meeting, and August receipts from the Clerk of District Court for $701.00.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned.
NIOBRARA COUNTY COMMISSIONERS Patrick Wade, Chairman
Becky L. Freeman, County Clerk
Public Notice No. 5670. Published in The Lusk Herald on September 15, 2021.