Bridging a gap


Commissioners encourage improvement district to seek state funds

Despite aging bridges

that could leave residents high and stranded,

Sublette County Commissioners didn’t

commit funds to help an improvement

district.

Residents in the Redstone Upper Green

River Improvement District requested

help from the county to replace two aging

bridges during the Aug. 21 Sublette County

Commissioners’ meeting. The bridges

provide access to the property owners in

their area and also to the Bridger-Teton

National Forest.

All five commissioners David Burnett,

Joel Bousman, Tom Noble, Mack

Rawhouser and Doug Vickrey attended

and elected commissioner Sam White also

attended in the audience.

One bridge is made out of a large 120-

foot span of timbers; a second shorter bridge

is also made of timbers and both need

repairs and are losing supports.

Even replacing the planking is a problem,

sending the district out of state in search

of timbers long enough and big enough to

cover the span.

All five commissioners said they had

traveled to see the bridge and all agreed it

needs replaced.

Since the district only has 30 lots with

private property owners and one business in

the Kendall Valley Lodge, even collecting 8

mils, the highest allowed by statute, would

generate about $10,000 in revenue a year.

The cost to replace the bridges is estimated

at $400,000.

It is unknown if the bridges could support

a fire truck in an emergency, one resident

said.

Burnett encouraged the homeowners

to look at state grant programs with lowinterest

loans. The district’s representatives

said they looked at some and were told

that the county must be included in the

partnership at different levels depending on

the programs or grants.

There is also the dilemma of spending to

repair the bridges when a new bridge could

be installed for $400,000.

Bousman cautioned when looking for

grants, the standards become so high that

the cost could increase to $4 million, leaving

property owners in the district socked with

long-term bills.

“We don’t have 10 to 15 years to do this,”

one resident said, estimating the existing

bridges could be serviceable only two or

three years, making it impossible to get

children to town for school.

Commissioners committed to additional

discussion and helping the district find

grants program.

In other actions:

• Commissioners went into a closed

executive session for personnel that was

added to the agenda after the meeting

opened. Once they returned from the

40-minute executive session, commissioners

came back into session and voted to elevate

Road Bridge Supervisor Billy Pape’s salary

to $92,000. For a complete list of county

employee salaries, see the legal notices in

today’s Pinedale Roundup. The motion

passed, 4-0, with Noble abstaining from

voting.

• The purchase of a tractor with a boom

mower was approved from Alamo Group,

Inc., for $291,617, under the budgeted

$293,314. A second bid for a John Deere

mower was submitted for $279,000 but

adding a boom mower would have cost an

additional $64,000.

• A bid from Westate Machinery for a

radial stacking conveyor was approved

for $158,000 with additional options

for $33,150. A second bid by Holland

Equipment Company for a telescoping

stacker for $246,900 was not accepted.

• A bid for a transport truck, primarily

used for recycling, was accepted. The

current 1994 vehicle being replaced has

more than 888,000 miles.

• Commissioners approved moving

forward with a request for proposal for

remodeling the Big Piney Library after

director Sukey Hohl and library board

members submitted a proposal cutting about

10 percent off the initial $2-million cost.

• Following a review of the past year’s

health insurance claims and industry trends,

it was estimated the county’s health-care

plan costs could increase 9 percent. The

county is partially self-funded, paying the

first $90,000 in claims. Tiffany Monk with

Tegeler & Associates was given approval to

go forward and solicit bids from different

companies before the renewal period

in September. She said even though the

county’s claims had decreased over the

past year, the rising costs of health care

contribute to increases.

• Commissioners accepted a bid of

$8,500 to sell a 1964 wildland fire truck.

The vehicle is part of an ongoing effort to

reduce older vehicles from the fleet and to

ensure compatibility between equipment.

• Commissioners agreed to apply for

COVID-19-related reimbursements under

the CARES Act for $263,373. County

Administrator Matt Gaffney said $194,000

is for general fund expenditures including

equipment, personal protective equipment

and tests. The rest was for overtime and

added salaries, which he added are unlikely

to be reimbursed.

A recent release from the state of

Wyoming said funding will be distributed

by the state based on the number of cases

in an area.

• A policy memo was approved dictating

conditions employees need to meet if they

test positive for COVID-19.

• A plat was approved to expand the

Cora Cemetery by 20 to 30 lots. The lots

were included in the original cemetery

but the layout did not list them as lots.

Commissioner Noble abstained form the

vote.

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