Public Notice No. 5678


The  County Commissioners’ meeting was called to order on September 17, 2021, at 9:03 a.m. with Chairman Patrick H. Wade, Vice-Chairman John Midkiff, Commissioner Elaine Griffith, and County Clerk Becky L. Freeman present. Logan Dailey from The Lusk Herald also attended.

Chairman Wade led in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Sheriff Cary Gill and Undersheriff Kelly Dean met with the Commissioners and County Attorney Anne Wasserburger, via phone, to discuss the sheriff’s office collecting money for traffic citations and bonds in their office.  

Sheriff Gill said they do not collect fines for citations in the office any longer. They direct people to the courts to pay or to the website, citepayusa.com/payments. Undersheriff Dean said that sometimes it is necessary for them to collect fines or bonds after hours. 

Sheriff Gill said that they have procedures in place for handling large sums of money, such as issuing receipts, two people counting the funds and storage of said funds in a lock box.

Chairman Wade said that the less cash the office has to collect the less exposure they would have. 

Attorney Wasserburger updated the Commissioners on the railroad plowing firebreaks. She said that Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) would ensure that the railroad is doing what they need to do and the railroad representative said that although they had not been plowing them in the past, they would begin. Chairman Wade said he would pass this information on to the fire warden and fire chief.  

Dr. Melanie Pearce, Regional Public Health Nurse Supervisor called the Commissioners to discuss the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Funds and asked them to consider using those funds to build a new public health building. She said another county plans to utilize ARP money to provide funding to public health for this purpose and she wondered what the plans were for these funds. Currently, public health is located in a small office leased from the hospital. 

Chairman Wade said that they were considering using the ARP funds to bring a redundant fiber optic line into the Town of Lusk, but it requires a public/private venture. They would consider her request but said if the money is used for a building, there is still the matter of maintaining it.    

Dr. Pearce said that she has not held a COVID vaccination clinic for school age children. She asks the parents to make appointments for children over 12 years of age.  

County Attorney Anne Wasserburger joined by phone. Dr. Pearce stated that the

public health nurse received another liability letter. She said that the letter implied that public health is not getting parental or guardian’s consent or providing information about the vaccine. Dr. Pearce disputed this and said they are getting consent and providing information, since the vaccine is not FDA approved.

Next Dr. Pearce asked if the Commissioners would consider using the ARP funds to help pay for a different public health nurse to share with another county. Chairman Wade said there would be costs in maintaining the position once ARP funds are done, but the Commissioners would look at a plan if she developed one.

She said that the current public health nurse is leaving at the end of the year and an additional concern she has is the resignation of Heather Saul, the Public Health Emergency Response Coordinator for Goshen and Niobrara Counties. 

She said there has to be oversight of the public health nurse because of the past history.  

Attorney Wasserburger asked if the state can provide funding or is it the county’s responsibility. Dr. Pearce said the contract says that the County will pay but she will look into the matter. 

She said that FEMA is going to come in and conduct vaccine clinics so public health can step away from it.  

Commissioner Griffith asked if Goshen County was going to replace Mrs. Saul. Dr. Pearce said they were and that there were discussions about Niobrara County having their own response coordinator. The Preparedness Program received additional funding so that every county can have a coordinator. All agreed that it would be best to have someone in the community providing these services. Commissioner Griffith said that Niobrara County has been so fortunate to have Dr. Pearce, Heather Saul and Anna Foreman serve us.  

Chairman Wade echoed the sentiments, thought Dr. Pearce has been a benefit to us, and said they appreciate her. Dr. Pearce noted that she and Dr. Falkenburg share the same viewpoints and are more in line of thinking with the commissioners.

Vice-Chairman Midkiff asked if Dr. Falkenburg would have any suggestions for someone to hire.

Old Business- The group discussed the fairgrounds roof repairs and Vice-Chairman Midkiff said that he and fair board member Corky Fosher had visited with Jerry Miller about the issues.  

Commissioner Griffith had nothing new to report on the updates to the Management Policy, but wanted to set a time to review the plan and divide it amongst the elected officials to work on.  

She would also like to schedule the courthouse open house celebration for October 15, 2021 with a time to be determined. The historical sign should be set up by the end of the day.    

Road and Bridge- Foreman Fred Thomas met with the Commissioners and updated them on road and bridge business.   

He said he met with Bill Proctor regarding a new approach and Mr. Proctor said they would use the existing one. If it has to be moved, Mr. Proctor will furnish the dirt and road and bridge will provide the culverts.  

He said they are busy cleaning auto gates and had to change out two on Geisinger Road. 

He said he was granted a 30-day extension on completing the pit reports and developing a storm water prevention plan. DEQ is emailing him all the information he needs to complete the reports. He will work on it this weekend. 

He noted he still had a couple of trucks down and that they are trying to do some blading. 

He said he talked to WYDOT and District Engineer Mark Ayen had received our letter requesting millings from a project that WYDOT will be working on in 2023. Foreman Thomas said that WYDOT would give us all of the leftover millings, approximately 19,000 tons. He said we could store half at the fairgrounds and perhaps stockpile some on private land, but would need to work out an agreement.  

Resolution 21-13- Jeb Hanson, Republican central committee chairman and Dan Ritter, were in attendance to discuss the resolution in opposition to COVID-19 vaccine and testing mandates. 

Vice-Chairman Midkiff moved to adopt Resolution 21-13, a resolution in opposition to COVID-19 vaccine and testing mandates: 

 WHEREAS, President Biden has announced mandates requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for all Federal Employees and Contractors; and,

WHEREAS, President Biden has announced mandates requiring all employers with 100+ employees to ensure their workers are COVID-19 vaccinated or tested weekly; and, 

WHEREAS, President Biden has announced mandates requiring COVID-19 vaccination for health care workers at Medicare and Medicaid participating hospitals and other health care settings; and,

WHEREAS, President Biden has announced mandates requiring entertainment venues like sports arenas, large concert halls, and other venues where large groups of people gather to require that their patrons be COVID-19 vaccinated or show a negative test for entry; and,

WHEREAS, Wyoming County Commissioners are sworn to support, obey and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Wyoming; and,

WHEREAS, Amendment X of the Constitution of the United States, also known as one of the Bill of Rights, states: “The Powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”; and, 

WHEAREAS, Article I, Section 7 of the Wyoming Constitution states: “Sec. 7. No absolute, arbitrary power. Absolute, arbitrary power over the lives, liberty and property of freemen exists nowhere in a republic, not even in the largest majority.”; and,

WHEREAS, Article I, Section 38 of the Wyoming Constitution states: “Sec. 38. Right of health care access. (a) Each competent adult shall have the right to make his or her own health care decisions. The parent, guardian, or legal representative of any other natural person shall have the right to make health care decisions for that person. (b) Any person may pay, and a health care provider may accept, direct payment for health care without imposition of penalties or fines for doing so. (c) The legislature may determine reasonable and necessary restrictions on the rights granted under this section to protect the health and general welfare of the people or to accomplish the other purposes set forth in the Wyoming Constitution. (d) The state of Wyoming shall act to preserve these rights from undue governmental infringement.”; and,

WHEREAS, Article I Sec. 4. of the Wyoming Constitution states: “Security against search and seizure. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated, and no warrant shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by affidavit, particularly describing the place to be searched or the person or thing to be seized.” 

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT:

1. The Niobrara County Commissioners believe Presidents Biden’s mandates are unconstitutional.

2. The Niobrara County Commissioners oppose the implementation of any and all COVID-19 vaccination requirements or mandatory COVID-19 testing for any citizen of the United States, regardless of their employment.

3. The Niobrara County Commissioners believe that the taking of a vaccine is a personal choice, and the right of refusal, as well as the right to accept a vaccination, should be fiercely protected. 

4. The Niobrara County Commissioners encourage Governor Mark Gordon, Wyoming Attorney General Bridget Hill, and the Wyoming Legislature to prevent these mandates from being implemented or enforced in the great State of Wyoming. 

  READ, PASSED, AND ADOPTED this 17th day of September 2021.

BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS

NIOBRARA COUNTY, WYOMING /s/ Patrick Wade, Chairman /s/ John Midkiff, Vice-Chairman /s/ Elaine Griffith, Commissioner

ATTEST:

/s/ Becky L. Freeman, County Clerk

Commissioner Griffith seconded and the motion carried.

Consent Agenda- Vice-Chairman Midkiff moved to approve the consent agenda. Commissioner Griffith seconded and the motion carried. Items on the consent agenda were the minutes of the September 7, 2021 meeting. 

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned.

NIOBRARA COUNTY COMMISSIONERS Patrick Wade, Chairman

Attest:

Becky L. Freeman, County Clerk

Public Notice No. 5678. Published in The Lusk Herald on October 13, 2021.

 

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