The County Commissioners’ meeting was called to order on December 7, 2021, at 9:00 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 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.
He said that he had received a verbal quote from Westco for diesel fuel prices with a contract date of January 1, 2022 through June 30, 2022. Mr. Thomas said he would like to investigate other options before committing to this contract price.
He informed the Board that he had ordered approximately $20,000.00 worth of cutting edges because he was completely out. He noted that there was a significant price increase from past purchases and difficulty in obtaining the product and that is why he ordered so many.
He updated them on work they have performed on west end of North Lance Creek Road.
Josh Harkins with BenchMark of Torrington joined the meeting and the group discussed the proposed 2022 Winter Road Rehabilitation project on west end of North Lance Creek Road. He presented two bid schedules, one with the contractor completing the project without the use of county equipment and labor, and the second schedule using county equipment and labor. The bid using county equipment and labor would cost the contractor approximately $325,000 for 130 days.
Mr. Harkins suggested reducing the project to 100 days, which would be the equivalent of approximately 83 working days.
Chairman Wade was in favor of reducing the time from 130 days to 100 days. Mr. Harkins noted that by using county equipment and labor, the cost to the contractor would still be approximately $150,000 even with the reduction in number of days.
Bob Bonsell stopped in and asked if there was any product or material that road and bridge could place on Quigley Road to reduce the dust.
Old Business- SLIB Easements- Mr. Harkins said he is waiting on the state to report to him on the matter.
Chairman Wade discussed an invitation from the Bureau of Land Management to participate as a cooperating agency in the preparation and development of the Newcastle and Nebraska Resource Management Plans Revision and associated environmental impact statement.
County Attorney- Attorney Anne Wasserburger met with the Commissioners and discussed county business. She asked the Commissioners if they would consider participating in the National Opioid Settlement. States and counties that participate will receive money from the settlement to use to fight the opioid crisis and to develop resources to aid in the treatment of mental health and addiction issues.
National Opioid Settlement- Commissioner Griffith moved to participate in the National Opioid Settlement. Vice-Chairman Midkiff seconded, and the motion carried.
Executive Session- Commissioner Griffith moved to enter into executive session at 11:34 a.m. with Attorney Wasserburger to discuss potential litigation. Vice-Chairman Midkiff seconded, and the motion carried. Commissioner Griffith moved to leave executive session at 11:41 a.m. Vice-Chairman Midkiff seconded and the motion carried. There was no action taken.
Executive Session- Commissioner Griffith moved to enter into executive session at 11:42 a.m. with Attorney Wasserburger to discuss personnel matters. Vice-Chairman Midkiff seconded, and the motion carried.
Vice-Chairman Midkiff moved to leave executive session at 12:05 p.m. Commissioner Griffith seconded, and the motion carried. There was no action taken.
Mike Noonan, consultant with Aspen Consulting, met with the Commissioners and several interested landowners and special district board members to present updated information and answer questions on the green hydrogen project proposed in Niobrara County. A list of attendees is attached to these minutes.
Mr. Noonan spoke on behalf of his client, Nordex Acciona, and said that Wyoming’s wind is what attracted them to this state.
Mr. Noonan said he has been in contact with state and local officials including the Governor’s Office, Wyoming Game and Fish, DEQ and the State Engineer’s Office because the project will be driven by the use of renewable energy and will require wind turbines and industrial wells. He also noted that they are looking at large land ownerships, potentially in the northwest of the county.
Major concerns of the attendees were the complete consumptive use of water to produce the hydrogen, which would requiring 700 gallons of water per minute from industrial wells, drilling into aquifers, and how the turbines would affect the view shed.
Mr. Noonan was asked how large the project would be and he said 80,000 to 100,000 acres.
People asked about the transportation of the product and Mr. Noonan said they could transport it via truck, pipeline or by rail.
He also stated the project could last between 30-50 years and will create many jobs.
Many more questions were asked and Mr. Noonan said anyone may contact him at the following email address: [email protected], or telephone: 970.443.0164.
Chairman Wade thanked him for coming to the meeting.
Redistricting- House District 2 Representative JD Williams and Niobrara County Republican Chairman Jeb Hanson met with the Commissioners and the group discussed redistricting matters.
24-Hour Catering Permit- Vice-Chairman Midkiff moved to approve a 24-Hour Catering Permit for 3 Sisters’ Truck Stop to sell alcoholic beverages at Chris Smith’s Retirement Party being held December 18, 2021 at the fairgrounds. Commissioner Griffith seconded, and the motion carried.
24-Hour Malt Beverage Permit- Vice-Chairman Midkiff moved to approve a 24-Hour Malt Beverage Permit for Carla Stroh to give away malt beverages at her Sip and Paint workshop being held December 16, 2021 at the fairgrounds. Commissioner Griffith seconded and the motion carried.
Consent Agenda- Commissioner Griffith moved to approve the consent agenda. Vice-Chairman Midkiff seconded, and the motion carried. Items on the consent agenda were the minutes of the November 16, 2021, receipts for November for the County Clerk- $2,992.50, the Clerk of District Court- $538.00, the Public Health Nurse- $260.02, and a tax roll supplement from Thunder Basin Resources, LLC., for $503.01 from the 2021 tax year.
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- $169.27, Alsco- Road & Bridge- Shop towels & coveralls- $404.99, BAM Document Destruction & Recycling, LLC.- Various- Document shredding- $304.00 Barnes Law, LLC.- Clerk of Court- Court appt’d. attorney- $560.00, Becky Blackburn- County Attorney- Supplies- $25.43, BenchMark of Torrington- County Road Fund- Engineering fees- $2055.20, Benzel Pest Control- Detention- Pest control- $89.02, Black Hills Chemical & Janitorial- Various- Cleaning & maintenance supplies- $1274.06, Black Hills Energy- Various- Utilities- $1618.37, Blue Cross Blue Shield of WY- Co admin- Health insurance- $19,425.00, Body Builders Body Shop- Sheriff- Vehicle repairs- $329.10, Canon Financial Services, Inc.,- Various- Copier service agreements- $545.00, Capital One Trade Credit- Road & Bridge- Parts- $39.99,Century Link- Various- Telephones- $1417.17, Century Link Business Services- Various- Telephone- $98.25, Christina Zumbrennen- Detention Center- Inmate medical- $1275.00, Computer Projects of IL, Inc.- Dispatch- Computer expense- $180.00, Connecting Point Computer Centers- Various- Copier service agreements- $341.89, Cory Wilcox- Coroner- Deputy coroner stipend- $120.00, Decker’s Market- Various- Supplies, inmate meds- $125.53, Delta Dental of WY- Various- Insurance- $1299.00, Dennis C. Meier- Circuit Court Magistrate- Rent- $1000.00, Double A Properties, LLC.- County Attorney- Rent- $1000.00, Frank Parts Co.- Sheriff- Parts- $5.54, Fusion Cloud Services, LLC.- Various (2 mos.)- Telephone- $1702.28, Geographic Innovations- Various- Professional mapping- $1300.00, Goshen County Court- Payroll- Garnishment- $584.50, Goshen County Detention Center- Detention Center- Inmate Housing- $2876.55, GreatAmerica Financial Services- Sheriff- monthly copier service agreement- $103.00, Great-West Trust Co., LLC.- Various- Deferred compensation contribution- $17925.00, Hiway Brake & Alignment- Sheriff- Vehicle repairs- $220.81, Honey Badger Towing & Recovery, LLC.- Sheriff- Abandoned vehicles- $278.00, It Starts with Me- Various- Blood draws- $196.00, Jameson Cleaning & Maintenance- Fairgrounds- FG cleaning contract- $6800.00, Katie Krein- Prevention Grant- Operational supports, telephone & prevention service implementation- $142.56, Ken Brown- District Court- Court appointed attorney- $500.00, Kit Nelson- Assessor- Mileage lister- $32.00, Lori Himes- Assessor- Mileage lister - $32.00, Lusk Herald- Various- Publications- $6431.25 Lusk State Bank- Co admin- Payroll taxes- $33,115.93, MasterCard- Various- Supplies, travel, postage, prevention grant, transports, IT expense, jury trial, schools, telephone- $3769.84, New Jersey Family Support Payment Center- Payroll- Child support- $862.33, Niobrara County Hospital District- 1% Option Tax - $10867.72, Niobrara County Library- General County- Library deferred compensation- $1725.00, Niobrara County Public Health- Prevention Grant- Grant admin- $221.40, Niobrara County Sheriff’s Office- Sheriff- Supplies- $60.00, Niobrara Electric Association- Various- Radio tower electricity- $55.76, Peterbilt of Wyoming- Road & Bridge- Parts- $427.77, Potter Electric- Facilities- Maintenance- $30.24, Rawhide Drug Company- Detention Center- Inmate medical- $521.12, Safeguard Business Systems- Treasurer- Supplies- $315.48, Schindler Elevator Corp.- Facilities- Qtrly elevator mtnc billing- $1329.69, Swanson Services Corp.- Detention Center- Inmate Commissary- $128.71, Thomson Reuters-West- County Attorney- Law library- $159.14, Torrington Office Supply- Various- Supplies- $337.22, Town of Lusk- Various- Utilities- $3393.21, Traci Bruegger- Facilities- Cleaning contract- $4500.00, TrueNorth Steel- County Road Fund- Culverts & bands- $14791.52 Tyler Technologies- Treasurer- Computer expense- $82.69, Valley Motor Supply- Road & Bridge- Parts- $577.56, Verizon Wireless- Various- Cell phones, computer expense & base fee- $359.30, Vision Service Plan- Various- Insurance- $460.50, Visionary Broadband- Various- I T expense- $1213.19, WEBT- Co admin- Life insurance- $207.00, WESTCO- Road & Bridge- Dyed diesel- $5475.76, Whitaker Oil- Various- Fuel- $4360.58, WY Assoc. of Co. Ag. Agents- Extension- Dues- $100.00, Wyoming Child Support- Payroll- Child Support- $766.04, Wyoming Enterprise Technology Services- Various- Computer expense- $8.98, Wyoming Lawn Sprinklers- Various- Maintenance- $328.00, Wyoming Machinery Co.- Road & Bridge- Parts- $204.42, Wyoming Network, Inc.- Various- I T expense- $200.00, Wyoming Women’s Center- Detention Center- Inmate meals- $4010.55, WY Woolgrower’s Auxiliary- Extension- Dues- $15.00,- Xerox Corp.- Co admin- Copier service agreement- $136.59, Y2 Consultants- General County- Socioeconomic study- $1734.00. Grand total- $176,567.56
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned.
NIOBRARA COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
Patrick Wade, Chairman
Becky L. Freeman, County Clerk
Public Notice No. 5702. Published in The Lusk Herald on December 29, 2021.