Commissioners move forward on contracts

Heather Goddard
Posted 10/4/23

LUSK - Many hours of discussion and planning came to fruition with the approval of several contracts during the Niobrara county commissioners’ meeting on October 3

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Commissioners move forward on contracts


LUSK - Many hours of discussion and planning came to fruition with the approval of several contracts during the Niobrara county commissioners’ meeting on October 3. The commissioners approved the contractors proposal for the roofing project on the justice center. They also approved the Rapid Fire contract for the renovation on the alarm project at the fair grounds. The approval of the alarm system contract was conditional on the agreement of Rapid Fire to several changes recommended by attorney Anne Wasserburger. The estimates from Wyatt Electric for several projects was also accepted by the commissioners.

Mike Mayville was selected to continue with snow removal at the court house, library and public health building for the winter of 23-24.

Extensive discussion regarding road condition of Divide Road was held. This road has received significant damage from fracking traffic, mainly those trucks hauling the fracking sand. It has created, according to superintendent Fred Thomas, soft spots up to a foot deep between the highway and Ivan Eddy’s ranch. The road was originally 18-20 feed wide and now, in some spots it is almost 30 feet wide with no shoulders and no gravel left. In attendance was Kurt Gaukel who commented that several trucks that have come through the port have been grossly overweight. Thomas has tried to get in touch with the company that is doing the work but has had no luck in getting a hold of them or trying to see if they will help with the cost of fixing the road. He deems it unlikely that the company will want to help the county out given the cost of fuel and other operating costs.

Thomas anticipates the majority of the fracking traffic will be gone by the end of the week and then the county will begin trying to rectify the damage however, if a good well is found on the current sight Thomas anticipates that traffic will be ongoing for the additional permitted wells. Thomas also expressed concern since the county does not have enough of the type of gravel he needs for extensive road rebuilds stockpiled. He is working to try and find a source fo the exact type of gravel needed.

He is also expecting similar traffic and problems out on the Cheyenne River starting next spring as another 22 permits were granted out that direction with perhaps 20 that will be drilled along with increased traffic into Weston county (87).

Almost all the washouts have been fixed and the new cattle guards and culverts will begin going in. C commissioners want to encourage individuals to mow right-of-ways along county roads to assist with visibility and snow problems later in the year. The county road department just doesn’t have the time or man power to mow along every road. Commissioners also recommended that additional signage go up on the county roads that may seen increased traffic over the winter warning individuals of “No regular maintenance” to try and alleviate drivers being stuck on those roads this winter. Any rescue and recovering on those roads will be at the expense of the driver.

Three Sisters was approved for a 24-hour catering permit at the fairgrounds for the Bruegger wedding and the Son of a Gun Banquet.

The fair board is looking for another member following Drew Hester’s resignation. Katie Krein has also resigned as the prevention specialist effective the end of October and commissioners will be seeking a new specialist.

The bond and oath for Keri Thompson, County Treasurer was approved.