Public Notice No. 5686

The  County Commissioners’ meeting was called to order on October 18, 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.

Bree Burton, Range Scientist and Reid Hensen, Agricultural Economist, with Y2 Consultants  joined the meeting via telephone to discuss the Socio-Economic report for Niobrara County that would work in conjunction with the County’s recently updated Natural Resource Management Plan.  

Road & Bridge- Foreman Fred Thomas met with the Commissioners and discussed road and bridge business. He said they had to plow quite a bit of snow after the recent storm. He said they would do blade work on roads and widen out some trouble spots in case the storm hits again.

He said he received an email from Centennial Woods, the company who builds snow fence, and they said that due to supply chain shortages and volume of existing work, it would likely be another year before they can do any work in Niobrara County. 

Chairman Wade inquired whether there was any news regarding a new winter road project. Foreman Thomas said not at this time.  

Mr. Thomas said 28 and Kirtley Roads were rough and they did blade work on them after the moisture. He said they are working on N. Van Tassell Road now and are trying to smooth it out a bit, because a large number of cattle pots will be traveling on the road.

Lastly, Mr. Thomas updated the group on the tires he was able to acquire for the blades, trucks, and pickups. 

Emergency Management- James Santistevan- Emergency Management Coordinator discussed the State Homeland Security Grant the county received. He said it is for $30,000 and the initial plan was to use this funding to purchase a backup generator for the courthouse. Based upon a quote he received, the cost of a new generator is approximately $60,000. He said we could do one of two things with this grant. The county could sign this grant and not expend the funds right away. He said that there will be another grant available in February of 2022, and the county could apply for additional funding and call it Phase 2. The other option would be to try to rewrite this grant and use the money for repairs to the fairgrounds auditorium roof and gutters, since it is the County’s Emergency Operation Center and emergency shelter. He said if this option were selected, there was no guarantee that we would be awarded funding and we could lose the $30,000 we were awarded for the generator.

Commissioner Griffith moved to set aside using the grant funding at this time, move forward with Phase 2, and apply for a second grant in the amount of $50,000 to pay for the generator. Vice-Chairman Midkiff seconded, and the motion carried. 

Dr. Melanie Pearce, Regional Supervisor for Public Health Nursing, joined the meeting via telephone. She asked for the Commissioners’ permission to move forward to fill the current public health nurse position, which will become vacant November 30.  Anna Foreman, the current public health nurse, submitted her formal resignation letter stating she will be leaving November 30.

In order for Dr. Pearce to begin the process of filing the position, she has to have the Commissioners’ approval. She cannot have someone in place until December 1.

Commissioner Griffith moved to authorize Dr. Pearce to begin advertisement for the public health nurse position for Niobrara County. Vice-Chairman Midkiff seconded, and the motion carried.

Next, Dr. Pearce discussed the Public Health Preparedness position. She said there was a lot of work and she would like to have someone in Niobrara County to fill the position. She needs to let the State Preparedness program know so they can move forward.  

She is unsure of the number of hours per week someone would work; it would probably be 30-32 hours, but in some instances, it could go to 40 hours per week. 

She said that FEMA would be at the fairgrounds on Thursdays from 3:30 to 7:00 p.m.  

Y2 Consultants Contract for Socioeconomic Plan- Vice-Chairman Midkiff moved to sign the contract between Y2 Consultants and Niobrara County for the socioeconomic plan.  Commissioner Griffith seconded, motion carried. 

Tree Trimming- Patrone’s Landscaping and Tree Care and Mountain Diversified Services, LLC., submitted bids for tree trimming and/or removal at the courthouse. After reviewing the bids, Vice-Chairman Midkiff moved to authorize Mountain Diversified Services, LLC., to remove four trees and prune five others at the courthouse for $4,400.00. Commissioner Griffith seconded, and the motion carried. 

Commissioner Griffith updated the Commissioners on a Zoom meeting, which she attended with Commissioners from several other counties regarding congressional aide tours. The purpose of these tours is to present information to congressional staffers highlighting counties, and Wyoming industries.

The Commissioners meeting adjourned at 1:30 p.m. for a Local Emergency Planning Committee Meeting.  The regular meeting reconvened at 2:30 p.m.

Sheriff’s Office- Sheriff Cary Gill, Undersheriff Kelly Dean, and Detention Lieutenant Jim Frye met with the Commissioners and submitted their policies and procedures for searches and court ordered random testing of breath or urine. Deputy County Attorney Doyle Davies attended the meeting by phone.  

Undersheriff Dean and Lieutenant Frye noted that we are the only county allowing jailers to do this. Most counties have designated people conducting the testing.  

Mr. Davies wanted to stress that individuals on probation have rules to follow and consequences when those rules are broken.   

Chairman Wade said he did not necessarily have a concern whether a jailer or patrol officer performs the tests; he just wants to see it to happen. 

Catering Permit- Vice-Chairman Midkiff moved to approve a 24-Hour Catering Permit for the Silver Dollar Bar to sell alcoholic beverages at the Son of a Gun Banquet being held on October 23, 2021.  Commissioner Griffith seconded, and the motion carried.  

Commissioner Griffith moved to ratify the Proclamation celebrating the 101st anniversary of the Niobrara County Courthouse and dedication of the historical marker. Vice-Chairman Midkiff 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 October 5, 2021 meeting.  

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned.


Patrick Wade, Chairman


Becky L. Freeman, County Clerk 

Public Notice No. 5686. Published in The Lusk Herald on November 10, 2021.