Marbleton renews Chamber membership

By Joy Ufford,
Posted 1/10/24

Longtime Mayor Jim Robinson led the meeting until just before 6 p.m. when he planned to meet with the Sublette County Strategic Planning Committee at the Big Piney Town Hall the same night.

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Marbleton renews Chamber membership


SUBLETTE COUNTY – Marbleton had two mayors run the town council’s Monday, Jan. 8, meeting.

Longtime Mayor Jim Robinson led the meeting until just before 6 p.m. when he planned to meet with the Sublette County Strategic Planning Committee at the Big Piney Town Hall the same night.

After he left, Mayor Pro Tem B.J. Meador took over with councilmembers Jeff McCormick and Karen Wenz present. The meeting ended shortly after the council adjourned into executive session with town attorney Thayne Peterson for contract negotiation and legal advice.

Before Robinson left, the council approved renewal of the Youngs’ multiple-animal permit for four dogs, heard an update from the Union Wireless team and tabled a zone change request for a small commercial rezone near its entertainment facility Flicks ‘N Pins.

The Union team included director of engineering Ryan Schmidt, director of operations Justin Haws and marketing director Tressa Barnes. Union is in the middle of boring and some light excavations to connect the town on a different “loop” than its Pinedale service.

“Our objective is to provide fiber internet to all of the residents of Marbleton,” Schmidt said, anticipating their project will be completed this year, weather dependent.

He noted the town’s no-dig restrictions and asked the council if there might be some leeway in Union’s late winter and early spring digging plans.

The first phase is “early deployment through parts of town” and using the current infrastructure to develop nearby customers, he said.

“Where it exists today, more structures in town can connect off existing infrastructure,” he said. Union needs to add phone-style pedestals and connect to fiber and cable already in the ground.

The second phase is to “get everything in the ground and built out for all residents,” he said. Union plans to expand to the east, west and north – “a lot of ground to cover,” he said.

Robinson had questions.

“What does ‘active and available to residents’ mean?” he asked.

That means the buried cable – 32 inches down – is complete throughout a zone and a crew can install a “dropline” to the customer’s home or business, Barnes said.

Would that mean running the connections down the town’s alleys?

Schmidt said Union would use “a combination of side streets and alleys where we can capture the most structures,” whatever makes sense, and will work with the town through its permitting process.

The Union pedestals, slightly larger than telephone pedestals, will follow the existing phone and cable “as best they can,” he said.

Robinson asked also asked about the footprint for the boring machine, which will stop every 300 feet for a little pit. The machine itself is 8 by 15 feet with a truck beside it.

McCormick asked if customers will have to pay for installation.

Barnes said it will depend on which plan a customer chooses from numerous options. “Some plans have a connection charge; some don’t.”

Union will repair any damages caused by its crew and will do its utility “locates” several blocks at a time, Hays said. He will work closely with town public works supervisor Todd Brown, who wasn’t at this meeting.

“We won’t do a whole zone at a time,” Hays said, “just a couple blocks at a time and he can follow us and bring any fixes to our attention; we’ll grab those as they surface. We’ll work with him as closely as we can.”

Robinson asked if Union would want to start digging in March “or even April with frost?”

“Yes, we would like to get started as soon as possible,” Hays said, adding the exact timing is “a moving target.”

The mayor advised the team to use the rest of January and February to plan. “We’ve seen frozen ground 7, 8, 9 feet down before. I have seen lines even in the first part of May that caused us some havoc.”

McCormick said he supported an early start “if we get a warm snap.”

Meador agreed, saying a warm snap could be followed by another cold snap with an open trench.

Wenz also supported an early start if possible. “If this was last year, we wouldn’t have been open for business at all.”

Hays said the company will probably submit three applications, one per zone, before the council’s Feb. 13 meeting.

Rezone request

On Dec. 11, Rose Oleyar talked to the council about possibly rezoning her and another lot as commercial, so she could open a beauty shop.

The mayor asked Oleyar for “a little bit more time” to see if owners of the other lots for sale are interested in commercial zoning.

Meador pointed out a beauty shop could also benefit Marbleton seniors living nearby.

Wenz, McCormick and McMannis agreed it could be “advantageous to make the other lots commercial.”

The council approved tabling Oleyar’s zone-change application until the next meeting. It was tabled again that night to Feb. 13, due to her absence and lack of feedback from the other lot’s owners.

The council next voted to purchase a quarter-page promotion ad in the next Sublette County Magazine.

Meador brought up the next item, renewing membership in the Sublette County Chamber of Commerce. He said he was at a meeting when chamber director Kaddy Ffye Shivers asked him if he knew Marbleton’s mayor.

The council approved renewal, 4-0.

The council also discussed a $1,000 grant from Rocky Mountain Power and future applications to its foundation, with Sam Bixler. They decided to get “a thousand dollars’ worth of propane heaters.”

Meador took over the meeting, hearing Flicks manager Mike Orham’s reports – “More sales than expenses so that’s good.”

Water-sewer manager Josh Rogers reported that he was adjusting storage water levels in the municipal tanks to keep water moving and avoid ringing them with ice.

The council took no action after its executive session.