From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 4, Number 17 - July 22, 2004
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Commission discusses Sylvan Bay road upkeep

by Casey Dean

The Sublette County Board of Commissioners met Tuesday, July 20, at 9 a.m. They approved the minutes of the two previous meetings, as well as the budget for the fiscal year 2005, totalling $4,091,314.

Travis Sour of the Sublette County Road and Bridge Department presented the board with information gathered by a new computer program, which tracks employee and equipment hours, as well as material pertaining to discussion at the last meeting about the cost difference in maintaining dirt and paved roads. He affirmed Commissioner Betty Fear's statement about paved roads costing a great deal more to maintain than dirt roads with research dating back to the 1970s. He invited the commissioners to visit and look into the new program, as the department is still learning the entirety of its capabilities.

"This is great," said Fear as she reviewed the material. Sour also discussed plans for a study on snow capture and disturbance of archaeological artifacts on the surface of the earth. Of the areas to be studied, nine are public, more than 10 are on Bureau of Land Management-adminstered land, and a few are located on private property. The road and bridge department has one road remaining to receive soil stabilizer, which they hope to complete this week.

Two members of the Sylvan Bay Homeowners Association approached the commissioners with a request for road maintenance on the 1.1 miles of Forest Service road from the Fremont Lake Campground turnout to the subdivision of 45 homes.

The two hoped the county would be willing to take part in the upkeep of the road, after the homeowners paid for the clearing of the road. The Sylvan Bay property owners stated that, were the road to be graded once a year, they would be satisfied. Apparently the Forest Service has not graded the road in four years. As the road in question is "our lifeline," according to one of the men, and the only way for emergency vehicles to access the Sylvan Bay area, the commissioners decided to talk to the Forest Service about an agreement.

"It doesn't sound like you're asking a lot," Commission Bill Cramer said, "considering it's a public safety issue."

While all members agreed to keep an open mind, Fear and Commission Chairman Gordon Johnston expressed a concern about opening a door to special requests across the county.

"There are citizens who believe we should use all the loose change we have to pave all 475 miles of road in the county," Johnston said.

As the road to the Sylvan Bay subdivision is not a county road, and is not adjacent to a Forest Service road, Johnston questioned the feasibility of the agreement. The commissioners will discuss the topic with the Forest Service at their next meeting.

Bob Reese, the new co-chairperson of the Pinedale Anticline Working Group, gave a report on the progress the committee is making. They held their first meeting July 12, and voted Linda Baker and Reese co-chairpersons.

Reese discussed the practicality of the new working group monitoring socioeconomics of Sublette County. Although he expressed concern about spending money to gather information in and out of the county without a specific direction to take the research, Fear commented, "I think it's a good idea though ... to have that information."

At the next PAWG meeting, the staffing of the task groups will be finalized, and the commissioners offered to recommend local specialists for the groups.

Rick Hoffman and Frank Grimes presented progress made on the landfill project currently in progress. Hoffman plans to report back to the commission with prices for paving, and informed the board that foundation, concrete and dirt work should be complete in two weeks, weather permitting.

The commissioners asked Hoffman to inform companies that new transportation of waste will be required before the completion of the landfill project, as the concrete will not stand the battering of the winch trucks with wire cages. Hoffman believes about 75 percent of the trucks coming into the landfill use these trucks. The companies will be given four to five months to consider alternatives.

"So all in all, things are coming right along," Cramer concluded. Hoffman reported that the project should be completed around the end of December, and within contract time.

The commissioners approved three requests presented by Sublette County Planning and Zoning, and discussed two in great detail before moving on.

Jim Linebarger purchased a 20-acre tract of land in Hoback Ranches about two years ago, and in response to a request from an out-of-state friend, attempted to split the property in order to sell 10 acres to this friend. Because the property was not exactly 20 acres and, according to Hoback Ranches protection covenants, no land shall be less than 10 acres, he was seeking the approval of P&Z, which classifies anything above 9.5 acres as 10 acres. However, the planning and zoning vote was split, and sent to the county commissioners. Although the majority of the tracts in the area are less than 10 acres, Cramer pointed out that the county commissioners cannot knowingly violate private easements. The board denied the request because the minimum of 10 acres is stated specifically in the protection covenants and property deeds of Hoback Ranches.

Sublette County Sheriff Hank Ruland reported that the sheriff's office was working on a contract to accept federal prisoners. Ruland stressed that these prisoners would have committed misdemeanor crimes only on federal property, such as driving under the influence.

There are currently 411 federal prisoners in Wyoming, and SCSO will soon have a contract to bring before the county commissioners. SCSO will have the right to refuse prisoners based on their crimes, and the jail will accommodate local prisoners first. Ruland looks to bring in $75 to $80 per day under this contract.

The next Sublette County Commissioners meeting will be Aug. 3.

See The Archives for past articles.

Copyright © 2002, 2003, 2004 Sublette Examiner
All rights reserved. Reproduction by any means must have permission of the Publisher.
Sublette Examiner, PO Box 1539, Pinedale, WY 82941   Phone 307-367-3203