Big Piney approves ‘codified’ ordinance review

By Joy Ufford, jufford@pinedaleroundup.com
Posted 8/23/23

“I think parts of our code need to be updated, Mason said. “Some (ordinances and changes) are not in my book. Things where the ‘practice’ doesn’t match the code.”

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Big Piney approves ‘codified’ ordinance review

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SUBLETTE COUNTY – Listening to the advice of the town’s attorney, the Big Piney Town Council approved a motion “to codify its codes.”

Town Attorney Doug Mason informed Mayor Shane Voss and councilmembers Dalen Hughes, Tawnya Miller, Kindsey Voss and Sierra Banks that he received an email from American Legal Publishing about its 6-month process to review all ordinances.

“I think parts of our code need to be updated, Mason said. “Some (ordinances and changes) are not in my book. Things where the ‘practice’ doesn’t match the code.”

Some ordinances have been changed by motions and those aren’t all in “the books.”

Also, some small rural towns post ordinances on their official websites and some don’t even have websites, he said.

The council approved beginning the codification process.

Deer crossing

Dawn Moody spoke during citizen comments, asking if the town council has any influence to request “deer crossing” signs on stretches of Piney Drive by open fields.

“I’m not sure I’m in the right place,” she said.

She identified several points where deer often cross and are being struck by vehicles and thought signs would help – “Something so people not from here know where they cross.”

Parks-streets manager Kara Losik said she would contact WYDOT about installing signs.

Rec Center

Big Piney Rec Center employee Misty Reed reported on maintenance and repairs, including a new light pole. A consultant checked the facility’s boiler system and estimated $30,000 for three pipe couplings and three fittings – but added that if he delved into the system he might be required to do an entire replacement for $200,000 to $300,000.

He noted that past repairs covered only certain sections and stopped, she said.

“I would rather save the $30,000, honestly, to hold off and look at some grants.”

Rec manager Eddy Delgado said sports camps are filling up before school starts its sports seasons. He’s also getting requests for another round of pickleball.

Codes

Gary Eiden reported on his efforts to enforce existing codes, mainly addressing weeds and “nuisance” properties. He said Sublette County deputies haven’t been able to help much.

“People have been notified of these ordinances two or three times, he said. “I’m at a standstill.”

He asked if the council wants to write citations that could carry up to $750 in fines “or just use (the ordinances) as guidelines?”

Mason said if the council wants to go for citations, the town needs to be prepared for the time and expense for the judicial process. He suggested issuing “pay or appear” fines, adding ordinance enforcement could be updated in the code review.

Banks suggested the town “pause” enforcement while redoing the code and “get it on the books.”

Eiden said he’ll explain that is what’s currently under way. Mason said a warning and resulting fine can be added as the ordinances are reviewed.

In other business, Voss – who was recently elected in Big Piney’s municipal election – asked for motions to nominate and approve the mayor pro tem (tempore). That person acts in the absence of the elected mayor.

Hughes nominated Banks, who then nominated Hughes. All but Banks voted in favor of her appointment.

Water, sewer

The council approved Resolution 2023-03 to set Big Piney municipal water rates for certain consumers, such as multifamily structures. The resolution is otherwise identical to the town’s previous rate-setting resolution.

Water-sewer manager Mike Wagstaff reported “fairly high (water) usage this month and “a lot of water loss on Nichols (Street)” during its reconstruction.

Big Piney pumped 11.6 million gallons of water in the past month and sent 12.2 million gallons of wastewater, 5 million gallons to the Marbleton Wastewater Treatment Plant and 7.2 million to the town’s sewer lagoons. The town sold 4.9 million gallons of water.

Earlier, Jorgensen’s engineer Luke Barron reported on the Nichols Street project.

The road project is proceeding faster than scheduled, Wagstaff said, with paving set for Aug. 22 and school starting Aug. 28. A portion by the school property was done earlier to avoid construction conflicts with school buses.

Miller asked Wagstaff about alerting people when town water would be shut off. He said the shutoffs aren’t planned in advance and only as needed. She said a resident complained about her water being off for several days. Wagstaff said he can let town hall staff know when it’s going to be off.

Parks, streets

Losik reported that windstorms have knocked around old trees in town but one particular corner is “a WYDOT issue. It’s on our radar.”

Her summer crew is down to one teen who is going back to school.

She ordered new flags and poles to replace ones damaged or destroyed by the serious storms and hopes they will be in place for the next “flag holiday” – Labor Day.

If not, she has “just enough flags to do Budd Avenue.”

She said several businesses might be interested in estimates and bids to install a new sprinkler system in Centennial Park.