From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 6, Number 13 - June 22, 2006
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Budget request season

by Cat Urbigkit

With it being county budget season, the Sublette County Commission has been busy hearing requests from various county departments and organizations. After spending three days earlier this month fielding requests, on Tuesday the commission heard even more requests in between taking care of regular monthly business for the county.

Randy Belton and Steve James of the Sublette County Fair Board presented their budget request to the commission on Tuesday.

With the proposed budget of $516,860, which is $112,000 over the current year’s budget, Belton said that figure is based on modest increases in line items in the proposed budget.

The total budget request includes $336,213 in cash reserves, $40,000 in emergency reserves and $154,5000 for the 2006 fair. The fair board’s administrative expenses, including manager salary and benefits, total $53,760.

In other budget requests, High Country Counseling asked for $15,000.

Veterans Services requested about $25,000 for the new fiscal year. The commission was told of the extraordinary amount of VietNam vets in this area (especially pilots), as well as a former prisoner of war in the LaBarge area.

Wyoming Veterans Commission Board Member Jim Washam told the commission that since the two veterans services representatives began coming to the county to provide help, there have been more services provided to the 800 veterans in Sublette County “than has ever been done before.”

There is also a movement afoot for a stand-alone veterans clinic in Sublette County, the commission learned. Currently the nearest veterans clinic is Rock Springs, which can make for difficult travel.

Public health nurse Annie Sondgeroth asked the commission to consider subsidizing the county’s public health nurses’s alaries. She told the commission that the raise instituted at the state level is less than $1 per hour. She noted that although she is a department head, she does not receive a salary comparable to other department heads. The commission said they are not opposed to the idea and requested that Sondgeroth bring numbers for the commission to consider as the budget process proceeds.

The commission is considering funding a half-time position for Tip Top Search and Rescue.

The Pinedale Airport Board requested $100,000 for its cash reserve account to serve as the local match for grant projects.

Representatives of the Sublette County Library Board and architect John Carney met with commissioners about constructing an addition to the Pinedale Library. The proposal calls for 8,000-square-feet of new program space added to the existing 13,000-square-foot structure. Draft plans for the addition call for a new 3,000-square-foot meeting room that can be divided into two rooms. The existing large meeting room would become the children’s library, while the existing children’s section would become available for the teen library.

Plans call for a courtyard between the two building wings with a new public entrance. The addition would be energy efficient and would include provisions for green design and construction, possibly with solar panels. It’s too early in the planning process for predictive cost information, Carney said, but an updated model and cost analysis should be ready in about three months. Construction could begin as soon as next spring.

Members of the Sand Draw Committee, consisting of natural gas industry representatives and emergency medical service technicians, spoke with the commission about contributing to a fund to locate an ambulance and ambulance facility at Sand Draw. Wendy Boman of Ultra Resources said the cost would be about $1.3 million, and the Sublette County Rural Health Care District has pledged to fully staff the facility around the clock.

The committee has received firm commitments from industry for $750,000, which Boman said more than covers the industry portion of the ambulance runs being generated in the area.

The commission will firm up its budget numbers at its meeting on Monday, July 3, in preparation for its July 17 official budget hearing.

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