The County Commissioners’ meeting was called to order on November 2, 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. Andrew Peterson with The Lusk Herald was also present.
Chairman Wade led in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Road & Bridge- Foreman Fred Thomas met with the Commissioners and discussed road and bridge business.
The group discussed the best option when bidding out roadwork on approximately 5.5 miles on North Lance Creek Road. Foreman Thomas thought the project would be expensive because of the distance from the pits to the project and the price of gravel most likely increasing. He said if they were considering breaking the project into phases, they could start with the worst 4.1 miles and then do a change order if needed.
He will contact the engineers to try to get the project finalized by the next meeting. He would like to start the project towards the middle of January 2022.
Commissioner Griffith said landowners had contacted her about the condition of the railroad crossing on N. Jireh Road. She asked Mr. Thomas if he could contact the railroad supervisor to see if the railroad could do anything to smooth out the crossing, as the landowners did not have any success in their discussions with the individual.
Lastly, Mr. Thomas said that road and bridge should be done working on Spanish Diggings Road sometime this week.
Public Health- Dr. Melanie Pearce, Regional Public Health Nurse Supervisor, joined the meeting via telephone to discuss public health and hiring a public health response coordinator (PHRC) for Niobrara County.
She said she had discussed hiring a PHRC with the state and they told her that they would cover the cost to hire someone and would provide benefits; there would be no cost to the county. The state will draft a contract with the county.
The group discussed starting wages and the number of hours per week the person would work. Dr. Pearce said she wanted the individual to be an hourly employee starting at 32 hours per week with the ability to go to 40 hours should the need arise. She said the person does not have to be a nurse.
The group discussed a starting wage and Commissioner Griffith suggested $17 to $19 per hour. Dr. Pearce stressed that the grant will pay for the salary and benefits and suggested a higher starting wage.
Commissioner Griffith moved to authorize Dr. Pearce to advertise for a public health response coordinator to work 32 hours per week at $19 per hour plus benefits. Vice-Chairman Midkiff seconded, and the motion carried.
The second item she wished to discuss was having another county manager supervise the public health nurse and carry out the duties she currently performs. She said she needed to focus on being a regional nurse supervisor and not concentrate all of her efforts on a single county. She would like to have the individual take over on December 1, 2021 and come up one day a week to work in the office until a public health nurse is hired.
The Commissioners agreed to this suggestion and understood her reasoning, but were sad to see her leave.
Lastly, she said that she would have Katie Krein take over invoicing for the prevention grant.
Elected Officials and Department Heads- Emergency Management Coordinator James Santistevan discussed the recent snowstorm. He said there were many power outages and it was difficult get to some areas because of wind and blowing snow.
Sheriff Cary Gill said they are currently housing seven inmates at the jail. He said that they would most likely need a new DVR and camera system for dispatch, which should cost approximately $2500.00.
He said that he is sending three staff members to a Next Generation 911 (NG 911) class in Casper on November 3-4.
Clerk of Court Chrisanna Lund said her recent jury trial went well. She said it was the first time using the Clearview jury program and she felt it was a success. She asked Sheriff Gill to let her know when they replaced their cameras in case she needed to update hers as they feed directly in to dispatch.
She said there are more jury trials scheduled.
County Clerk Becky Freeman discussed redistricting, a process that occurs every ten years, after each census. She explained that redistricting is the process of redrawing the legislative districts from which people are elected. The Wyoming Constitution requires that the legislature complete this redistricting effort prior to the first budget session following the most recent U.S. Census.
4-H/Youth Development Extension Educator Kellie Chichester discussed the 4-H Carnival. She said it went very well, however, attendance was down a bit. They are continuing with 4-H Fridays and usually have 30 – 35 kids attend each week.
Assessor Teri Stephens said her staff is continuing to input fieldwork information.
Dr. Melanie Pearce said there were 13 COVID cases in the community with seven of those coming from the prison.
She noted that the cases were less than the previous week, but there have been quite a few “breakthrough” cases- vaccinated individuals getting COVID.
FEMA has been here the last two weeks giving vaccinations and over 50 individuals received boosters last week.
She said that the Moderna booster vaccines were cleared for individuals 65 and older and for those at higher risk, as well as for healthcare workers. The Pfizer vaccine was approved for pediatrics- those age five to eleven, and she noted that the Rawhide Clinic is approved to give the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
Chairman Wade said that the Joint Commissioners’ meeting held at the fairgrounds on October 19, 2021 went very well. Goshen, Niobrara, and Weston County Commissioners met to appoint an individual to fill the vacancy in the House District 2 Representative seat.
Vice-Chairman Midkiff and Commissioner Griffith congratulated Chairman Wade on the job he did as Chairman of the joint meeting.
The group discussed plans to review and revise the Management Policy Plan. This plan works in conjunction with the employee handbook.
Chairman Wade asked Sheriff Gill to remain and discuss the policies the sheriff, undersheriff and detention lieutenant developed pertaining to court ordered random testing and inmate search procedures. Chairman Wade said he would like to see an additional procedure in the policy stating that someone who currently has a random drug testing order be tested immediately if they are arrested for another offense.
Chairman Wade wanted to stress that these policies not only protect the county, but the sheriff and jailer as well. He wants to make sure these procedures are followed. Sheriff Gill stated that Lieutenant Frye has reviewed the policies with his staff.
There was nothing new to report on the post construction reports for easements crossing State Lands.
The Commissioners received an estimate from Miller Construction for $375,000.00 for repairs on the roofs, gutters, and stucco at the fairgrounds auditorium and concession stand.
Catering Permit- Vice-Chairman Midkiff moved to approve a 24-Hour Catering permit for Paleo Park to sell alcoholic beverages at the Boots and Bling banquet on November 13, 2021 at the Niobrara County Fairgrounds. Commissioner Griffith seconded, and the motion carried.
County Attorney- Attorney Anne Wasserburger met with the Commissioners and discussed county business. She said the Homeland Security grant appeared to be in order and was ready to sign.
Executive Session- Commissioner Griffith moved to enter into executive session at 11:10 a.m. to discuss possible litigation. Vice-Chairman Midkiff seconded, and the motion carried.
Vice-Chairman Midkiff moved to leave executive session at 11:52 a.m. Commissioner Griffith seconded, and the motion carried. There was no action taken.
The Commissioners met with Niobrara County Planning and Zoning board members Sena Pearson, Brian Zerbe, Dan Henry Hanson, Rick Bridge, and James Kruse to discuss revising the existing planning and zoning manual.
The group reviewed another county’s plan because of the wind development occurring in that county and wanted to model portions of the revised plan using similar language.
The group had several concerns about updating the manual themselves and thought it would be a good idea to visit with other counties to see if they would assist with an update or put out a Request for Proposal.
There was discussion about only updating the commercial and industrial sections of the plan at this time. Commissioner Griffith said it would be best to update the entire plan all at once.
Mr. Kruse said he could reach out to his counterparts and ask for suggestions and Chairman Wade said he would contact the attorney with the Wyoming County Commissioners’ Association and ask for suggestions as well.
Chairman Wade asked everyone to meet with them at the next Commissioner meeting on November 16, 2021 at 1:30 p.m.
Homeland Security Grant- Commissioner Griffith moved to sign Homeland Security Grant 21-SHSP-NIO-CRP for $30,000.00 with a performance period of September 1, 2021 through August 31, 2023. 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 18, 2021 regular meeting and minutes of the October 19, 2021 Joint Commissioners’ special meeting. Also included were receipts for October from the county clerk -$5,507.73, the clerk of court- $869.00, the public health nurse- $845.06 and a tax roll supplement for $975.25 from Wesco Operating, LLC. for the tax year 2019.
Payroll and the following vouchers were approved for payment: Bills are listed in the following format: Vendor – Department – Description – Amount:
Aflac- Various- Supplemental insurance- $6889.26, Allbright’s True Value- Various- supplies, bldg. maintenance- $53.96, Alsco- Road & Bridge- Shop towels & coveralls- $339.46, Anne Wasserburger- County Attorney- Supplies- $44.00, ArcaSearch Corporation- County Clerk- Annual license fee for digitized records- $5907.00, Becky Blackburn- County Attorney- Supplies- $62.53, Black Hills Chemical & Janitorial- Various- Cleaning & maintenance supplies- $432.56 , Black Hills Energy- Various- Utilities- $505.29, Blue Cross Blue Shield of WY- Co admin- Health insurance- $21206.00, Canon Financial Services, Inc.,- Various- Copier service agreement- $190.00, Century Link- Various- Telephones- $1414.26, Century Link Business Services- Various- Telephone- $96.88, Chrisanna Lund- Clerk of Court- Jury Fees- $199.90, Communication Technologies, Inc.- Emergency Management- Equipment repairs- $120.00, Connecting Point Computer Centers- Various- Copier service agreements- $242.00, Cory Wilcox- Coroner- Deputy coroner stipend- $120.00, County Clerks’ Association of Wyoming- County Clerk- Dues- $300.00, Dale’s Tire & Retreading, Inc.- Road & Bridge- Tires- $6984.70, Darcy Cowardin- COVID Vaccine Efforts- Supplies- $61.60, Decker’s Market- Sheriff’s Dept. Supplies, inmate meds- $31.44, Delta Dental of WY- Various- Insurance- $1151.70, Dennis C. Meier- Circuit Court Magistrate- Rent- $1000.00, Department of Health- Public Health Nurse- County’s quarterly share of Public Health Nurse Salary- $4163.59, Double A Properties, LLC.- County Attorney- Rent- $1000.00, Floyd’s Truck Center, Inc.- Road & Bridge- Parts- $88.39, Frank Parts Co.- Road & Bridge- Parts- $669.58, Fusion Cloud Services, LLC.- Various- Telephone- $847.45, Geographic Innovations- Various- Professional mapping- $1300.00, Great-West Trust Co., LLC.- Various- Deferred compensation contribution- $17950.00, Goshen County Detention Center- Detention- Inmate Housing- $770.00, Great Western Tire Company- Road & Bridge- Tires- $3087.60, GreatAmerica Financial Services- Sheriff- monthly copier service agreement- $103.00, H & H Electric, LLC.- Facilities- Building mtnc- $230.20, High Country Behavioral Health- General County- Annual Mental Health Support- $1500.00, Honnen Equipment Company- Road & Bridge- Parts- $616.18, Hospital Auxiliary- General County- Supplies- $60.00, Jameson Cleaning & Maintenance- Fairgrounds- FG cleaning contract- $6800.00, Jordan Automotive- Sheriff- Abandoned Vehicle- $292.50, Katie Krein- Prevention Grant- Operational supports, telephone & prevention service implementation- $108.68, Ken Brown- District Court- Court appointed attorney- $760.00, Long Building Technologies, Inc.- Facilities- Maintenance- $1820.70, Lusk Herald- Various- Publications, subscription- $2475.50 Lusk State Bank- Co admin- Payroll taxes- $32787.40, MasterCard- Various- Supplies, travel, postage, prevention grant, transports, IT expense, uniforms, schools, telephone- $2307.56, Miller Construction- Courthouse- Exterior repairs- $13,503.00, Motorola Solutions, Inc.- Communications- Annual WYOLink Astro System Maintenance Agreement & Network Monitoring- $35,733.14, NCIC Inmate Communications- Detention- Inmate calling cards- $60.00, Nebraska Safety & Fire Equipment, Inc.- Justice Center- Fire alarm & sprinkler system inspection- $720.00, New Jersey Family Support Payment Center- Payroll- Child support- $862.33, Niobrara Clerk of District Court Jury Account- Clerk of Court- Jury fees- $2438.32, Niobrara County Hospital District- 1% Option Tax - $16586.02, Niobrara County Library- General County- Library deferred compensation- $1725.00, Niobrara County Public Health- Prevention Grant- Grant admin- $260.02, Niobrara Electric Association- Various- Radio tower electricity- $53.85, Palen Law Offices, LLP.- Clerk of Court- Court appointed attorney- $860.00, Print Express, Inc.- Assessor- Supplies- $366.46, Quadient Leasing USA, Inc.- General County- Quarterly postage meter lease payment- $1197.00, Rawhide Drug Company- Detention Center- Inmate medical- $103.01, Regional West Medical Center- Coroner- Autopsy- $413.30, Safe Line Defense- Sheriff- New equipment- $1673.10, Swanson Services Corp.- Detention Center- Inmate Commissary- $380.60, Team Laboratory Chemical, LLC. – Facilities- Fairgrounds supplies- $179.00, Thomson Reuters-West- County Attorney- Law library- $159.14, Torrington Office Supply- Various- Supplies- $176.52, Town of Lusk- Various- Utilities- $2346.31, Traci Bruegger- Facilities- Cleaning contract- $4500.00, Tyler Technologies- Treasurer- Computer expense- $82.69, Valley Motor Supply- Road & Bridge- Parts- $719.85, Verizon Wireless- Various- Cell phones, computer expense & base fee- $279.82, Vision Service Plan- Various- Insurance- $410.16, WEBT- Co admin- Life insurance- $211.50, WEAFCS- Extension Office- Dues- $120.00, Westco- Road & Bridge- Dyed diesel- $3513.62, Whitaker Oil- Various- Fuel- $1574.95, Wyoming Child Support- Payroll- Child Support- $766.04, Wyoming Enterprise Technology Services- Various- Computer expense- $8.61, Wyoming Lawn Sprinklers- Fairgrounds- Maintenance- $452.70, Wyoming State 4-H Foundation- Extension Office- Dues- $100.00, Xerox Corp.- Co admin- Copier service agreement- $132.27, Y2 Consultants- General County- Socioeconomic study- $6966.75. Grand total- $226725.95
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned.
NIOBRARA COUNTY COMMISSIONER
Patrick Wade, Chairman
Becky L. Freeman, County Clerk
Public Notice No. 5691. Published in The Lusk Herald on November 24, 2021.