Public Notice No. 5681

The  County Commissioners’ meeting was called to order on October 5, 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. Tyler Martineau with The Lusk Herald also attended.

Chairman Wade led in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Road & Bridge- Foreman Fred Thomas met with the Commissioners and discussed road and bridge business. He said they are gravelling approximately two miles of Muddy Draw on Spanish Diggings Road. He said there is essentially no material left on the road.  

He said he tried to order truck tires and the prices have increased about $50.00 per tire. He was able to purchase some for under $400.00, but he is having difficulty getting blade tires. He said the orders were about 30 days out. 

Mr. Thomas said he had completed the pit report and the storm water pollution prevention plan. Both the report and plan were submitted to and accepted by DEQ. 

Josh Harkins with BenchMark of Torrington joined the meeting and updated the Commissioners on the status of the state land easements. He said that a former employee from BenchMark had told the engineers that the easements had been mailed to the State Lands and Investments (SLIB) Office, when in fact they had not. He assured the Commissioners and Mr. Thomas that he mailed the paperwork to the SLIB office.

The group went on to discuss plans for a winter road project. The Commissioners and Thomas agreed that approximately 4.1 miles on the west end of N. Lance Creek Road would be a good project. Mr. Thomas said that the project probably could not begin until after January or possibly February of 2022.  

Chairman Wade discussed the County Road Fund account and said that the gravel purchased last year should have been put out to bid, per County Road Fund standards, because we exceeded the $50,000.00 bid threshold. He went on to say that the County Road Fund committee is considering raising the bid threshold because not much can be done for under $50,000.00.

Mr. Thomas explained that he had a verbal bid with each of the companies simply because our options are limited.  

Elected Officials and Department Heads- James Santistevan, Emergency Management Coordinator informed the Commissioners that the THIRA plan is finished. It will have to be reviewed again in 2022, however.  

He also stated that FEMA will be here next Thursday from 3:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. at the shooting sports building to conduct COVID-19 vaccine clinics.  

Kellie Chichester, 4-H Extension Educator told the Commissioners that the week of October 4 – 8 is national 4-H week. She noted that 4-H Fridays are in full swing and the 4-H achievement day will be held on October 17, 2021 at 1:00 p.m. 

She said the Halloween carnival is October 31, and the health situation will determine how they set up the carnival. 

Keri Thompson, Treasurer said they had a great tax collection month and the auditors will be starting the audit in a few weeks. 

Chrisanna Lund, Clerk of District Court said she has a jury trial scheduled for October 18th and 19th.   

Commissioner Griffith discussed the upcoming open house celebration and courthouse dedication.  

Chairman Wade noted the biggest item coming up is the appointment of a Representative for House District 2. He said the meeting will be October 19, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. most likely at the fairgrounds. 

The Commissioners will hold their regular meeting on Monday, October 18, 2021. 

Mr. Santistevan said that the State Homeland Security Grants have not come in yet. Chairman Wade asked how much the county would receive and Mr. Santistevan said approximately $30,000.00. If the County were to purchase a backup generator, we would have to contribute $30,000.00 in order to purchase the $60,000.00 generator. 

Chairman Wade asked Mr. Santistevan to consider grants he could apply for that would help defray costs for repairs to the fairgrounds roof since it is our emergency shelter. 

Commissioner Griffith discussed tree trimming at the courthouse. There are several dead branches, which pose a hazard and need to be removed. Vice-Chairman Midkiff will contact contractors for bids. 

Chairman Wade said he had a conversation with Connor Nicklas from Budd Falen Law regarding the Natural Resource Management Plan update. The costs have exceeded the budget of $48,000.00 by $5,324.25 and Mr. Nicklas said the Commissioners could request additional funds.  

Commissioner Griffith moved to request additional funds from the Governor’s Office for the Natural Resource Management Plan for $7,500.00. Vice-Chairman Midkiff seconded, motion carried. This request will cover existing project overages and plan for any contingencies.

Chairman Wade discussed meetings he and Vice-Chairman Midkiff attended in Gillette and one topic of discussion was Congressional Aide tours. Converse, Campbell and other counties invite congressional aides to their counties and take them on tours of their counties and show natural resources and present concerns, etc. The Wyoming County Commissioners Association is considering doing something similar. There was discussion about fees being assessed and WCCA allocating funds to assist each county with costs. He said Niobrara County is included with Goshen, Platte, and Laramie Counties. He thought that this may occur in 2022 and would entail a three to four day tour. WCCA suggested the Commissioners be involved to some extent.

County Attorney- Attorney Ann Wasserburger met with the Commissioners to discuss county business. Also in attendance were Undersheriff Kelly Dean and Detention Lieutenant Jim Frye. Sheriff Cary Gill joined the meeting by phone.   

Attorney Wasserburger voiced concerns over problems with random drug testing protocols in the Detention Center.  She said individuals that have court orders to be randomly tested are not being tested. She also said there are issues with individuals being booked into the jail with drugs on their person. Chairman Wade asked if there was any kind of written policy regarding testing procedures and booking and Lieutenant Frye said he was unsure and would look into it.  Chairman Wade said if there was one, the Commissioners want to see it. 

The reason this is an issue, according to Wasserburger, is that a defense attorney had mentioned it to her. She said this creates a liability for detention if nothing is being done to ensure the inmates aren’t high. She asked what is done with an inmate when drugs are found on them or they are believed to be high. She asked if the inmate is sent to general population.    

Attorney Wasserburger asked Sheriff Gill if he was aware that an inmate had been booked into jail with meth and marijuana on them. Sheriff Gill said he was not aware of that situation, but has had conversations with Lieutenant Frye instructing him to have someone else in the jail trained on booking procedures.    

The Commissioners said that the sheriff’s leadership should sit down with the detention staff and develop a plan. This issue needs addressed.

Commissioner Griffith moved to enter into Executive Session at 11:23 a.m. with Attorney Wasserburger, Sheriff Gill, Undersheriff  Dean and Lieutenant Frye to discuss personnel matters.  Vice-Chairman Midkiff seconded, motion carried. 

Commissioner Griffith moved to leave executive session. Vice-Chairman Midkiff seconded, motion carried. The following action was taken: The Commissioners directed Sheriff Gill, Undersheriff Dean, and Lieutenant Frye to develop a written policy for booking procedures and random drug testing protocols and have it available for the Commissioners to review at their meeting on October 18, 2021.    

The Commissioners and Attorney Wasserburger discussed the agreement with Y2 Consultants. Mrs. Wasserburger said the agreement appeared to be in order, but Chairman Wade noted there was no price cap in the contract.  Chairman Wade will request a revised contract showing a price cap for the plan.  

Commissioner Griffith moved to change the next commissioner meeting from October 19, 2021 to October 18, 2021 due to a joint meeting being held with the Goshen and Weston County Commissioners to reappoint a representative to House District 2 on Oct. 19, 2021. Vice-Chairman Midkiff seconded, 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 17, 2021 meeting and receipts for September from the County Clerk for $3063.50, from the Clerk of Court for $403.00 and for August from the Sheriff for 271.25. 

Payroll and the following vouchers were approved for payment:

77.46 3 Sister’s Truck Stop; 6889.26 Aflac Insurance; 328.94 Alsco; 192.56 Anne Wasserburger; 130.00 Barnes Law, LLC.; 78.45 Becky Blackburn; 456.74 Becky L. Freeman; 89.02 Benzel Pest Control, Inc.; 486.25  Black Hills Chemical & Janitorial; 250.82 Black Hills Energy; 19927.00 Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wyoming; 350.63 C & H Tire & Trailer Repair, LLC.; 520.00 Canon Financial Services, Inc.; 1417.15 Century Link; 84.44 Century Link Business Services; 102.84 Connecting Point Computer Centers; 70.00 Converse County Public Health; 120.00 Cory Wilcox; 4005.00 Crook County; 61.96  Decker’s Market; 1241.60 Delta Dental of Wyoming; 1000.00 Dennis C. Meier; 1000.00 Double A Properties, LLC.; 80.00 Drug; 1967.80 Falen Law Offices, LLC.; 52.95 Frank Parts Company; 859.03 Fusion Cloud Services, LLC.; 1300.00 Geographic Innovations; 110.00 Goshen County Detention Center; 17920.00 Great-West Trust Company, LLC.; 103.00 GreatAmerica Financial Svcs.; 142.70 Hiway Brake & Alignment; 6845.05 Jameson Cleaning & Maintenance, LLC.; 90.00 Jub Jub, Inc.; 129.55 Katie Krein; 1979.99 Lusk Herald; 2261.00 MasterCard; 103.78 McKesson Medical Surgical; 60.00 NCIC Inmate Communications; 819.00 New Jersey Family Support Payment Center; 29.70 Niobrara County Assessor; 15710.41 Niobrara County Hospital District; 1725.00 Niobrara County Library; 318.94 Niobrara County Public Health; 48.87 Niobrara County Sheriff’s Office; 54.17 Niobrara Electric Association; 2662.50 Onsolve, LLC.; 600.00 Rancher’s Feed & Supply, Inc.; 50.00 Rapp’s Maps; 338.42 Safety-Kleen Systems, Inc.; 800.00 Smith Psychological Services; 195.00 Summit Fire & Security; 300.66 Swanson Services Corp.; 159.14  Thomson Reuters-West; 76.26 Torrington Office Supply; 2652.00 Town Of Lusk;  4500.00 Traci Bruegger; 82.69 Tyler Technologies; 6205.50 UW Extension; 1163.71 

Valley Motor Supply; 240.02 Verizon Wireless; 460.50 Vision Service Plan - (WY); 104.05 Visionary Broadband; 211.50 WEBT; 5598.55 Westco; 1000.00 Western Pathology Consultants, P.C.; 3999.58 Whitaker Oil; 8.59 WY Enterprise Technology Services; 725.00 Wyoming Assoc. Of Co. Officers; 870.00 Wyoming Child Support; 5461.00 Wyoming County Commissioners Association; 13060.88 Wyoming Dept. Of Workforce Services; 1057.00 Wyoming Law Enforcement Academy; 400.00 Wyoming Network, Inc.; 3760.59 Wyoming Women’s Center; 132.89 Xerox Corporation;                                                              



There being no further business, the meeting adjourned. NIOBRARA COUNTY COMMISSIONERS Patrick Wade, Chairman


Becky L. Freeman, County Clerk 

Public Notice No. 5681. Published in The Lusk Herald on October 27, 2021.