Commissioners start 2022 with project updates

PINEDALE – The Sublette County Board of Commissioners welcomed the new year with its first meeting of 2022 on Tuesday morning. While planning holidays and schedules this year were among the first action items, the majority of the meeting was spent bringing old business into the new year.

Todd Hurd of Forsgren Associates braved deteriorating road conditions to update commissioners on the county’s various ongoing projects.

After asking the state fire marshal for occupancy at the Daniel fire station, getting initial approval and then denial, construction on the station remains at a standstill. The county is still waiting on the arrival of the water pumps. That wait could potentially cost the county. He said that he’s stood firm on grounds that waiting on water pumps, which would replace the initial ill-fitting set the county was delivered, was not the county’s financial burden.

“We’re still battling but it’s worth battling,” Hurd said.

Commissioner Doug Vickrey asked why three-phase electronics were implemented at the building even after Rocky Mountain Power officials confirmed they did not have three-phase capabilities in Daniel. Hurd said he wanted an answer to that question as well, but said they’d been working with converters and alternatives to come up with a solution.

The major issue, however, remains the occupancy. State officials would not allow Sublette County Unified Fire or Road and Bridge personnel in the building as it stands now. That includes the portion of the building reserved for Road and Bridge.

Vickrey brought up the harsh financials of the situation. The building – a huge project for the county and will likely cost nearly $4 million on its current trajectory – is not currently fit to house people.

Commission chair Joel Bousman and commissioner Tom Noble both said a water pump for the building could be found and ordered online to prevent further delays on the project. Hurd said he’d find a solution.

Hurd said he’s received quotes to remove the cupulas at the Sublette County Fairgrounds. Because one quote received for just the exterior work was more than the quote from the other company working on both interior and exterior, commissioners agreed upon which one they’d rather pursue.

Then came some of the complications. Because removing the cupulas would also include removing and lowering the sprinkler system at the fairgrounds, the state fire marshal would have to be consulted. That could potentially mean the building would be deemed “non-occupant” and wouldn’t allow people inside during construction. Because construction is planned for the summer months, an alternative was explored. Commissioners were open to pursuing those alternatives.

Ultimately, commissioners agreed to pursue Premiere’s bid of $66,730 to work on both the interior and exterior of the building pending clarification and approval that any work done by Premiere would not void any manufacturer warranties.

Hurd said construction at the Big Piney Library is moving forward after an extended hiatus. He said the second floor of the building was being framed as of the Dec. 4 update.

County administrator Matt Gaffney asked about the trusses on the Rendezvous Pointe building that burned in a fire last year. Hurd said that’s proceeding, as crews had the wrong measurements at first. They will not replace the roof itself and instead fuse the working trusses together.

Reaffirming support

Gaffney approached the board of commissioners about reiterating its letter of support towards the Sublette County Hospital District. Twice previously the county voted in favor of pledging up to $20 million towards the $52 million for construction of a critical access hospital.

Gaffney said the letter was “short and sweet,” just reiterating the county’s support as the final steps towards a loan decision from the USDA approached.

Vickrey said he wanted to make sure the county’s pledge of up to $20 million went towards the long-term care facility. He previously made that comment and wording was included in a previous letter to accommodate his request. Commissioner Tom Noble said he thought the letter reflected Vickrey’s request. Vickrey also said USDA loan officer Lorraine Werner made assurances to him that the county’s money could be watched and applied only to certain allocations.

County clerk Carrie Long said the treasurer’s office is well aware of the financial intents of the county relating to construction of the critical access hospital. Multiple parties are also keeping an eye on the county’s pledge to ensure the county gets the largest return on investment from its pledge.

Commissioners unanimously approved to sign the letter of support.

Tonia Hoffman, chair of the Sublette County Hospital District, thanked the board for its continued support.

“I think we’ll be successful in this endeavor, eventually,” she said with a laugh.

Hoffman also said they’re awaiting final approval from the USDA and then the Sublette Center would officially become part of the Sublette County Hospital District in the eyes of the federal government.

Road & Bridge

Commissioners heard a request from Frank Sansone regarding his home on 627 Ryegrass Rd. for the county to plow a non-maintained county road. Bousman said he was worried it would open a can of worms that would lead to plowing and work on non-maintained roads throughout the county.

This led into discussions on the new county road index, which needs to be updated, Rich Greenwood said.

There were a multitude of possibilities brought up, but commissioners agreed to update its current county road index and give Greenwood additional information so he could update the GIS system. This would help residents find easements and county property via the county’s website. More detailed map possibilities, showing far more information, were discussed but not pursued at the time in order to get current maps up to date. It was said the current maps available were last updated in 2017.

Other items:

  • Commissioners approved vacation of the second lot in the Stepp Minor Subdivision, the Crossfire Arena, following the county planning and zoning board’s unanimous vote to approve.
  • Planning and zoning administrator Dennis Fornstrom said all zoning would stay in place. Commissioner Noble then raised his issue that the driveway to Bomgaars was zoned as agriculture, and not commercial. He said he’d like to see that changed.
  • Fornstrom also presented the building permits of 2021. He said most of the activity came in the Bondurant and Hoback Ranches area, as some were rebuilding efforts related to the Roosevelt Fire and some were new construction.
  • Commissioners reappointed Kevin Hughes to the fair board for another five-year term. Eddie Delgado and Tami Crosson were both appointed to the county’s rec board. Dave Vlcek and Dawn Ballou were both reappointed to the historic preservation board. There were no applicants to fill the opening on the county’s ag center board.
  • Commissioners approved a donation of sick leave inside the Sublette County Sheriff’s Office following an executive session.