County buys $1M plot for gravel pit

PINEDALE – While the fire mill levy discussion during Tuesday’s Board of Sublette County Commissioners’ meeting took up the most time of any item, commissioners also tackled a varied agenda throughout the meeting in the their chambers.

Following an executive session, commissioners agreed to purchase a parcel of land adjacent to Pole Creek Road for $1 million by a 3-2 vote. This is near the existing plot the county owns. The board stated intent of using all those parcels to crush gravel.

Commissioners Vickrey and Stephens voted against the measure. Vickrey said it was a large chunk of money while the county had done nothing with the existing plot it owns for the same purpose. Commissioners Bousman, Noble and White voted in favor. Bousman said he believes the purchase could save the county money in the long run, which White said held an estimated $18 million return. 

Health-care update

Deputy county attorney Clayton Melinkovich informed commissioners the transfer agreement between the county and Sublette County Hospital District is being finalized. Public Health nurse manager Janna Lee wanted to make sure the specific square footage requirement remained in writing and the owners’ representative is welcoming to the county and hospital district’s concerns of a local person at the building site more often for safeguard measures, should the district’s loan application receive approval from the USDA.

Hospital district administrator Dave Doorn told the board he’d talked with USDA agent Lorraine Werner earlier that day to confirm all information submitted is at the national level. Answering a question about timeframe, Doorn said the hospital district’s construction manager wants to get started this fall if given the green light. In order to do so, the project would go out to bid upon USDA approval.

Lee later joined the board of commissioners to present an updated approval of contracts. Commissioners agreed to extend contracts with the Wyoming Department of Health following a presentation from the Prevention Coalition.

County maintenance supervisor Andre Irey later brought up an issue with the Pinedale Clinic roof. While working on the roof, crews found a soft spot that was likely due to the accumulation of snow and pooling of melt. Irey asked how much the board wanted to commit to the building and reiterated it definitely would need repair. It was estimated to cost between $30,000 and $40,000 to do it “the right way,” as referred to by Irey and Commissioner Doug Vickrey. Doorn said the potential work of a critical access hospital would not impact roof repairs. 

Connecting through Union

Representatives from Union Wireless gave the board an update on implementing its broadband coverage throughout Sublette County. Those representatives said Pinedale’s instillation was around 41 percent while work through Marbleton and Big Piney increases. While going through each area, Union is installing higher-speed services in the schools that should improve speeds by up to tenfold.

Union continues to seek grant funding for the project and is being approached by new customers as trucks are seen installing infrastructure.

Representatives also reported no issues with Pinedale Natural Gas. Officials with PNG proposed a “no dig” order to commissioners in the winter because of issues with Union. The two discussed issues after that meeting and no further problems have been reported.

Summer ice

Sublette County Ice Arena Manager Grant Golden reiterated he anticipated a 22-increase in utility costs that were reflected in his proposed budget. Hourly ice time rental rates are set to increase (from $10 to $15) but commissioners wanted to make sure they stayed well below nearby ice arenas.

Commissioners agreed to maintain summer ice to see how it goes. A new position for ice rink personnel was created and will be advertised. Golden said he wanted to make sure they get the right fit for that position. Commissioners also instructed Golden to keep tabs on visitor numbers months at a time in order to get a better idea of peak and lull times.

The ice arena’s preferred maintenance contact is scheduled to work on the compressor and fix underlying issues early next month.

Other issues:

  • Mike Henn gave a brief presentation of the water rights project he’s working on. He’s currently in the draft stages of mapping points for diversion, along with other issues, related to water rights in the Hoback Watershed. Commissioners saw the benefit in this new mapping project, done along with Greenwood, which will be available to the public.
  • Commissioners agreed to extend its cooperative agreement for child support through district court.
  • Sublette County Planner Dennis Fornstrom said he’s continuing to work on regulations. A special meeting was scheduled to discuss them so a complete draft could be made to the county planning and zoning board in July and be taken before commissioners in August.


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