From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 5, Number 11 - June 9, 2005
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Ruland resigns as Sublette County Sheriff

by Cat Urbigkit

Sublette County Commissioners met in Pinedale Tuesday, June 7, for a regular business meeting, accepting Sheriff Hank Ruland’s letter of resignation, effective June 30. The commission also declared an official vacancy for the sheriff’s position. The Sublette County Republican Central Committee is slated to meet June 20 to consider applicants for the job. The committee’s recommendations will then be forwarded to the commission for consideration at its June 21 meeting.

Road Superintendent Butch Penton gave his first presentation to the commission. With the resignation of Travis Sour, Penton has taken over the reins of the department. Penton provided the board with an update on work of road crews working throughout the county.

Joel Bousman and a contingent from the East Fork area came to speak with the commission about Mathis Lane.

The road is a public road, Bousman said, but most recently hasn’t been considered a county road.

Bousman said local ranchers are very dependent upon the road and its bridge across the East Fork River for cattle movement to and from the desert.

Bousman said the property owners in the area would like to see the county re-establish the road as a county road. He noted the owners would allow public access and would be willing to give easements for that purpose.

Commissioner Bill Cramer said that if the landowners would support county road status, the commission should move forward with the suggestion.

Commission Chair Betty Fear requested county surveyor Paul Scherbel investigate the matter so the commission could take action, with the intention of designating the road to the public land a county road. Penton will investigate the possibility of replacing the bridge on the road as well.

County Sanitarian Keith Raney gave an update on the status of the Mountain Village mancamp near Big Piney. Raney said that the owners of the facility reportedly approached a private engineer to complete work on the sewage and water systems before the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality can approve the work and issue the permit to increase the capacity of the camp to handle more workers.

Fear said she has been approached by companies wanting to get into the camp. She also referred to concerns that if the camp isn’t able to increase capacity in the near future, more work trailers will be moved into residential trailer courts throughout the county, an undesirable outcome.

She suggested that the county get help for mancamp owners and “push this through.”

Fear asked Raney to learn what the county can do to resolve any permitting problems and “get this camp up and going.”

Representatives of the Pinedale Anticline Working Group socio-economic task group came to the commission about sponsoring the group’s request for an $80,000 state grant, while also requesting an allocation from the county. The group is also seeking financial assistance from each of the county’s three town councils.

Cramer suggested that since the county receives big benefits from Pinedale Anticline development, while the towns receive much of the impact, “Sublette County ought to be the one to do it.”

Commissioner John Linn said that the Council of Local Governments is working to compile much of the same data that the PAWG task force is working on. He suggested that a joint effort be undertaken, perhaps on a cost-share basis.

“My concern is that we’re duplicating things,” Linn said, suggesting that a shared result is desirable.

The task group representative informally agreed with Linn’s suggestion.

Fear said she is concerned that the best data that could be obtained would be the most localized, suggesting that the better option would be a local group gathering data, rather than a regional effort.

Fear said one thing that bothers her about the group is the possibility of it “gathering moss” and getting larger in scope rather than getting the work done.

The commission agreed to serve as the host for the grant application and requested the group submit a written funding request to the commission for a specific amount of money.

Fear suggested that if the county is going to fund the group, the towns shouldn’t be burdened with providing money for the effort as well.

Cramer agreed, stating that the county “needs to step up to the plate” with the funding.

Rose Skinner and Miriam Carlson of the Pinedale Town Council spoke with the commission about the town’s budget shortfall.

The town is about $4 million over budget on its scheduled street work, including work on Tyler Street, which receives substantial industrial and recreational use for accessing public lands south of Pinedale.

The town is overdue for a major and expensive upgrade on its municipal sewage system, Skinner said.

She asked the commission to consider helping the town fund some of these public works projects as well as asking the commission to consider absorbing the total sheriff’s budget for 2005-2006 for all three towns in the county.

Fear said since the council was asking for the commission to consider something, perhaps the council should reconsider its refusal to abandon Mill Street near the county courthouse.

Fear suggested that the county could buy Mill Street from the town, which would provide funding for the council to fund its needed projects.

Skinner didn’t appear receptive to the idea.

Fear added, “The price is negotiable.”

Skinner responded that she couldn’t speak for her council.

Cramer said personally he would be willing to consider requests from the towns for its projects, since the towns are feeling the impacts of development and town residents are county residents as well.

Fear urged cooperation between the county and town, to which Skinner said she agreed, adding that it didn’t mean she was promising the county would get Mill Street.

Fear later suggested to her fellow commissioners that they adopt a philosophy of “We do trades, not gifts.”

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