Volume 4, Number 43 - January 20, 2005
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The commission also heard an update on its courthouse complex construction project, which should be completed this summer. While members of the public have expressed frustration at how long the project has taken, the commission noted that the project was slated to take place in phases over several years, in order for the county to have the money to complete the entire job.
Sublette County Commissioner Bill Cramer was enthusiast about the possibility of legislative approval for House Bill 50, concerning the county option homestead exemption.
Cramer said Representative Monte Olsen, who sponsored the bill, spoke in favor of the bill Monday before the House Revenue Committee, as did Cramer. The committee eventually voted in favor of the bill, on a 7-2 vote, setting the stage for the bill to be considered on the House floor.
"We hope the bill passes so that we can give property owners a tax credit," Cramer said.
Bob Reese, who represents the Sublette County Commission on the Pinedale Anticline Working Group, gave commissioners an update on the PAWG's recent activities in developing monitoring plans to address effects of natural gas development along the anticline.
Commissioner John Linn warned Reese that if he isn't comfortable that the county is well represented, he may step in to represent the county.
Linn said that he feels that there is strong opposition on the group when it comes to certain issues he feels are important to the county's interests.
"We have to make a stand, somebody is going to have to have that authority," Linn said.
Commission Chair Betty Fear cautioned that no one of the three county commissioners can go to the PAWG meetings and make declarations without the other commissioners' agreement.
Linn said while that may be true, "The person that we send to the meeting has to be authorized to make a fight."
Linn's major area of concern is that socio-economic issues be addressed, an area he said has been on the back burner with the Bureau of Land Management for far too long.
Linn said that in order to keep this county working and keep the county taxpayers paying taxes, the commission needs to "mind the store."
Linn and Reese plan to meet to discuss upcoming work of the PAWG.
Sublette County Undersheriff Henry Schmidt gave the commission an update on the work of the county's oversight committee, which was organized to provide guidance for dealing with the creation of mancamps in the county. He said that in addition to developing a list of policy considerations, the group discussed the traffic problem at the junction of Highway 191 and County Road 136, the Paradise Road. Schmidt said that vehicles coming from the north are stacking up on the highway to turn onto Paradise Road, causing a hazard. Schmidt said the group would like the county to discuss the possibility of installing a turning lane at this road junction.
Linn said he was hesitant for the county to spend several hundred thousand dollars on installation of a turning lane, when the better option would be to have a bridge placed over the New Fork River to get the traffic off Paradise Road as much as possible. Linn indicated he plans to aggressively pursue this option to connect North Jonah Road with the Pinedale Anticline Crest Road.
The commission agreed to look into improving access along that stretch of road, from highway onto county road. One option will be to develop a wider spot on the highway to allow traffic to go around vehicles attempting to turn off highway.
Museum of the Mountain Man
Museum of the Mountain Man director Laurie Hartwig gave the commission an update on water damage to the building resulting from broken water lines on Sunday, Jan. 9. Not a single artifact was touched, Hartwig said, but four to five inches of water concentrated in the downstairs part of the building and through the electrical ducts and heating vents. The museum's business office has been completely gutted as well.
As for the downstairs part of the building, Hartwig said: "We're pretty much starting over. It's like a bomb went off down there."
Hartwig said because of the extent of the damage, she's not sure if the museum will be open by May 1.
Commission Chair Betty Fear suggested that the county attorney review the museum's insurance policy to help the museum board with any dispute with the insurance company.
County commission to pursue PDR
Sublette County Clerk Mary Lankford said in an interview Wednesday that the Sublette County Commission has formally voted to pursue its purchase of development rights program, dependent upon the outcome of the district court's decision in the pending litigation.
The vote was 2-1 in favor of the motion, with Commissioner John Linn in the minority. Commissioner Bill Cramer made the motion, that the county proceed with the program, because money had been budgeted for a pilot program. Commission Chair Betty Fear seconded the motion.
Linn spoke against the PDR program. He later made a motion to kill the pilot program and to discontinue the work of the county PDR committee. Although Cramer seconded the motion to allow further discussion, the motion failed, with only Linn voting in favor.
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