From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 5, Number 8 - May 19, 2005
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Retaining employees, visitor center discussed

by Cat Urbigkit

Sublette County Commissioners met in Marbleton Tuesday for a regular business meeting.

Butch Penton, representing the county road department, gave commissioners an update on roadwork, noting the department is waiting for things to dry out a little. Penton also presented the commission with a list of roads where mag water will be applied. The commission added two miles of the Muddy Loop Road to the list. The road is subject to controversy because residents along it are unhappy with the amount of dust kicked up by trucks hauling gravel from a nearby pit. Penton noted that crews would begin applying mag water to Paradise Road this week.

The commission agreed to write a letter to the Wyoming Department of Transportation regarding safety concerns at the junctions of Paradise Road with state highways. Plans are in the works to construct turning lanes at both junctions.

In other business, Sublette County Undersheriff Henry Schmidt told the commission that the salary and benefits package for the sheriff's department needs to be re-examined at budget time.

Schmidt said that since the first of year, the department has had 23 people quit the department to take other jobs; 15 of them entered into the natural gas industry.

Commission Chair Betty Fear said she believes the commission should look at ways to retain employees in both the sheriff and road departments.

Commissioner John Linn noted that this employment impact is one that is never examined in environmental impact statements.

"We need some kind of a solution," agreed Commissioner Bill Cramer, suggesting that rather than competing with industry for salaries, the county could provide bonuses or other incentives for retaining county employment.

Schmidt also pointed out that calls for law-enforcement activities are up. He said that since the first of the year, there have been 68 arrests, 47 of which were drug-related.

"Every day now we are finding meth out there," Schmidt said.

The commission held a public hearing for liquor license renewals and received no input from the public. The commission renewed full retail licenses for the Green River Bar, Elkhorn and The Place. County Clerk Mary Lankford said she hasn't received the renewal application from Boulder Liquors. Lankford said that Country Lane Liquor is in the process of selling, so she expects the county to have a transfer hearing before July 1.

The commission renewed the restaurant license for Lakeside Lodge. Lankford said although she has received an application from Elk Ridge Lodge, there is a sales tax hold on the license, so this application wasn't renewed. Lankford said she hasn't yet received applications from Fort William, Half Moon Lake or White Pine Resort.

Fear, said the commission is tired of babysitting those who don't file for their renewals, so they can continue to do business. The commission did not take action on these licenses.

The commission renewed the retail malt beverage licenses for Hoback Village, Lakeside beer sales and Stanley's Junction. The commission did not receive the malt beverage renewal application for White Pine, Lankford noted.

The commission also approved a limited retail license for the Pinedale Golf Committee.

Lankford also noted that the state liquor commission is currently reviewing population numbers to see if the county is eligible for another retail license. The county currently has one excess license that has not been issued.

Sublette County Tourism Board marketing director Mindi Crabb presented the county commission with a rough draft drawing for a visitor's center, with a draft price tag of $500,000.

The county purchased property at the junction of Tyler and Pine streets in Pinedale for possible location of a new visitor's center for the county.

The local lodging tax generates $140,000 per year that can be used for promotions only, but the tourism board can pay rent on office space with that money.

Fear said she was concerned about the amount of money proposed for the new building.

"I'd like to see this cut, this amount," Fear said.

Cramer said he agreed with Fear, suggesting that the size of the building proposed by the board would contribute to crowding of the area and existing parking problems.

"This is too grand of a plan for something like that, that I can see," Cramer said.

Fear suggested that the board needs to come back with a scaled-down version.

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