From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 3, Number 42 - January 15, 2004
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Eiden awarded contract

by Cat Urbigkit

Sublette County Commissioners met for their regular business session last Friday, with Commission Chairman Gordon Johnston noting that it was the first meeting of his 12th year as a county commissioner. He added that this would probably be his last year serving on the commission, although he has not made a firm decision on that yet.

The meeting also served to mark Commissioner Bill Cramer's 10th year and Commissioner Betty Fear's sixth year. Beating everyone out on longevity, Sublette County Clerk Mary Lankford noted the meeting marked her 17th year.

Interim county road superintendent Travis Sour told the commission, "Everything is just cruising right along," with county road crews keeping busy plowing snow.

Sour also noted that the county plowed a parking lot for Doc Jensen to assist in loading and transporting his herd out of the area as part of the federal "de-population" of his herd due to brucellosis.

Sour warned the commission that his department might need part-time help during weekend snowstorms to plow snow, a project for which the commission agreed to provide funding.

Commissioners discussed plans to depart on Sunday for what could be an extended stay in Cheyenne. On Monday, the State Board of Equalization is slated to begin a hearing regarding the county's tax dispute with Exxon, now MobilExxon. The BOE has set aside three full weeks for the hearing.

"I hope that we don't spend much time down there," Johnston said.

Eric and Kathy Sechrist introduced themselves to the county commissioners as the new directors of both the Sublette County Joint Tourism Promotion Board and the Pinedale Area Chamber of Commerce. They spoke with enthusiasm about promoting the county and its abundant resources.

The Sechrists also presented the commission with copies of their new marketing plans for the tourism promotion board. With less than a year before the county's voters will decide whether the renew the promotion board's tax, the Sechrists expressed excitement about making a positive impact for the county and giving the voters reasons to support the tax.

"We're going to give it everything we've got for the next 10 months," Kathy Sechrist told the commissioners.

The commission opened the bids for operating the Pinedale Trash Transfer Station and hauling refuse from there to the Marbleton landfill and was surprised at the large differences in bid price. Eiden Construction won the five-year contract with a bid of $6,800 per month or $81,600 per year. M&M Transfer submitted a bid of $267,520 per year with additional fees, while West Bank Sanitation of Jackson submitted a bid ringing in at $162,000 per year.

Eiden has held the transfer station contract for the past five years, and is currently paid $52,800 per year. The company's bid was an increase of $2,400 per month, but was substantially less than the other bids. The winner of the contract also receives all the gate fees at the transfer station as a supplemental revenue source.

The Eidens also noted that scrap metal and tires can be disposed of at their company's expense, costing the county nothing, since the company is also in the recycling/scrap business.

In other business, the commission made several appointments to county boards. Dan Bates was re-appointed to a five-year term on the fair board. Four appointments were made to the recreation board: Jeff Lewis, JT Reese, Dave Bell and Sam McKee. Ann Noble and Clint Gilchrist were re-appointed to the local historic preservation board called the Certified Local Government Board. Richard Kail was appointed to fill a short term on the county lodging tax joint powers board.

Robin Clover of the Sublette County Sexual Assault and Family Violence Task Force spoke with the commission about the possibility of establishing a safe house in Pinedale.

"I truly believe that if we had a safe house over here ... we would serve more people better," Clover said.

Big Piney currently has a safe house, Clover said, but with many people knowing its location, its effectiveness is somewhat doubtful. Clover said her agency often houses victims in motels rather than using the safe house.

Clover told the commission that because of the expense, SAFV would not be able to operate two safe houses in the county. Instead, Clover asked the commission to consider turning the Big Piney safe house into transitional housing, charging a minimal rental to pay for upkeep on the house and to help pay rental expenses for SAFV to operate a Big Piney office. Clover said the transitional housing could be made available to clients who need to relocate.

Commissioner Betty Fear said, "I really like the idea of the transitional place. You can only keep them safe for so long, and then what?"

Clover said the safe house is a three-bedroom and could be rented out for transitional housing for $400-500 per month, but Fear asked for the rental fee to be carefully considered, adding, "I think that's way high" for someone trying to get back on their feet and into society.

Clover said the details are "very much open for discussion." She said true transitional housing is usually for at least a one-year term, to which Commission Chairman Gordon Johnston said, "That would put the county in the welfare business in my opinion."

Lankford suggested that a three-month renewable lease could be an option.

Clover said she wasn't looking for an answer at that time, but simply wanted the commission's initial reaction to the entire idea.

Johnston said, "I'm thinking that this board should not get into the nuts and bolts of it," including setting the time limits. Instead, SAFV would hold a lease for the house from the county, and the SAFV board would make decisions on rental issues.

"We don't want to get involved," Johnston said, with Fear adding, "If we did, we would get on the board."

Johnston suggested Clover take the issue to her board, but keep the commission informed. Clover thanked the commission, expressing interest in continuing a dialog on the issue.

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