From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 3, Number 14 - July 3, 2003
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

County proposes town "horse trade"

by Cat Urbigkit

The Sublette County Commission met for a full day of business Tuesday in the courthouse. One of the first orders of business involved passing a resolution setting forth the structure and duties of a new county citizen's review committee to oversee the county's purchase of development rights program.

Commissioners made the five appointments to the PDR committee: Max Boroff, Rita Donham, Tim Thompson, Bill Kellen and Travis Bing. Bernie Holz withdrew his application to serve.

Pinedale Mayor Rose Skinner asked the commission to help fund the Tyler Street Reconstruction Project, which has a total cost of $1.3 million. Skinner said the town has allocated $600,000 for the project, which would result in sidewalks, valley pans and paving along the length of Tyler Street.

Skinner said the project proposal was a result of citizen concern for the safety of children walking from the Pinedale Elementary School to the Sublette County Library.

"This is a matter of health and safety," Skinner said.

Commissioner Betty Fear said, "I don't think it's our responsibility."

Commission Chairman Gordon Johnston suggested a type of "horse trade" with the county providing some support for the project if the town would agree to give the county a deed to Mill Street near the courthouse for the price of $216,000. The town owns Mill Street, so the county had to get the council's permission to use the center of the street for parking, while allowing two-way thru traffic.

Skinner said the town council has already agreed to grant the county's request for center parking in the street, to which Commissioner Bill Cramer said: "If we owned it, we wouldn't have to get anybody's agreement ... That way we'd be getting something for our money."

"I'd like to know if your council would go along with this horse trade," Johnston said.

Fear said she wanted to hear the council's decision on Mill Street before she considers or commits to the Tyler Street project.

Cramer said he would also consider using state industrial road funds that are available to the county, but Fear expressed reservations about the idea.

Skinner said she will talk to the town council about the Mill Street proposal.

Eric Peterson and Stella McKinstry spoke to the commission about their budget request for the county extension service program. This is the county's first budget with the reorganized extension service and it includes a $24,500 increase.

Fear said she felt if there is one good thing the commission could do for Sublette County's youth, it's supporting the 4H program through the extension service.

The budget includes the creation of one full-time employee position to handle Sublette County's 4H program, with the county paying half the cost of the salary and all the travel and associated costs.

"Whatever we can do to keep our 4H program going, I'm in favor of," Fear said.

Johnston told Peterson and McKinstry that it appears the county will be able to fund the budget, but noted the county won't finalize budget numbers until the entire county budget is adopted on July 22.

The commission voted to grant the Pinedale Roundup status as the county's official newspaper for the next year. The Roundup's bid of $1.75 per column inch beat out the Examiner's $2 per column inch for legal advertising.

Sublette County Undersheriff Henry Schmidt updated the commission about the county's requested $153,000 Homeland Security grant. Since federal officials have sent word out that Al-Queda is now targeting domestic water systems as a national security threat, the grant would pay for fencing the water systems for Pinedale, Marbleton and Big Piney.

Although funds were to be made available to help local communities fund these security needs, Schmidt said the red tape is horrible and said he was recently told that if there was something a local community needed in next year, don't count on the Homeland Security funding to fill the need.

"The money that's supposed to be available to communities ... is a bunch of b.s.," Schmidt said. "It's worthless."

In other budget business, Schmidt also brought forth a proposal to get the detention officers' salaries closer in line with patrol officers' salaries. The difference is about $3,600 per person, but Schmidt said his proposal would account for half of this amount, with the cost to the county a $37,000 increase. Schmidt said the county does lose detention officers to patrol because of the compensation difference. The commission seemed open to the suggestion, but final approval of the budget will come later this month.

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