Volume 7, Number 26 - September 20, 2007
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Partnership Forms To Aid Countywide Impacts
Living in a growing county such as Sublette, one may realize that programs and services need improvement or simply must be brought into existence due to the influx of families and companies.
A group started in 2006 has taken on the task of helping community members accomplish the different improvements needed due to the socioeconomic changes in the county.
The Sublette Community Partnership (SCP), an organization that includes local government and industry leaders, recently finished their first year working in unison to improve the county and the services it provides. The partners in this endeavor include the Big Piney, Marbleton, LaBarge, Sublette County and Pinedale governments, BP America, Encana Oil & Gas, Questar Exploration and Production, Shell Rocky Mountain, Ultra Resources and the Cooperative Extension Service of the University of Wyoming (UWCES).
“All of these partners kicked in money and that is where we get our funding,” SCP Chair Betty Fear said.
The only paid position in the organization is that of Coordinator Laurie Latta,whose responsibilities include serving as the general spokesperson for the group, conferring with the chair to implement priorities, keeping the community and committee members informed of activites and opportunities and ensuring that proper funding is available.
“When the Pinedale Anticline Working Group (PAWG) was meeting several years ago and trying to look at the socioeconomics and dealing with the impacts because the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) wanted input, the BLM followed up saying ‘we can’t help you folks,’” Latta said.
Latta explained the BLM justified their inability to participate by stating to the group that socioeconomic impacts did not occur on public lands and therefore were not within BLM jurisdiction.
The need for this type of information, however, had been realized, Latta said. “We wanted to have someone documenting as to what these issue are,” she said.
The SCP and Latta’s position came out of the need to make the community realize that the group was both legitimate and authoritative.
Having a board and a coordinator allowed their group to function within the confines provided by the community government and have a face for the community.
“We were all just getting really dismayed,” Fear said of the socioeconomic PAWG group that had been discussing the issues and then been unable to take action upon them.
According to Latta, this is when the county hired Jeffrey Jacquet to take on these studies on the impacts around the county and the SCP was formed.
“He is not in the partnership, but we work hand in hand,”Fear said.
Soon after the founding of the SCP, UWCES entered the mix offering a plethora of knowledge and experience, Latta said.
“We do have a lot of oversight,”Fear said of the UWCES addition to the partnership.
“The hope is that this second year...we can bring (UWCES’s) expertise to Sublette County,”Latta said. “We want to engage them more as we go along.”
The partners have recently been focusing their efforts on affordable workforce housing (not industry housing) and after school/early child care programs.
“We help facilitate the possibility,” Latta said.
“We’re trying to help them on getting to the place they need to be information-wise,” Fear added. “We’re like a facilitator of change in the community.”
Latta stated that she has met with individuals and UWCES and though of possible solutions for increasing housing and childcare.
One solution for the town, Latta feels, is working with UWCES to develop more workforce education opportunities. This would include more vocational opportunities at the highschools and the county.
“We would like to put something together that will benefit both ends of the county,” Latta said.
Latta and Fear agreed that goal-setting sessions and relationship building have been successful.
“The community has been improved,”Latta said. “I think we’ve got a really large group of proactive people that really care about what happens.”
“The facilitating goes beyond the goals that we’ve set,” she added.
Latta said people have begun coming up to her and asking for help with projects because she is a face they recognize.
“Laurie is received as someone who can help with the problems,” Fear said. “If we’d accomplished nothing else, that is a big thing.”
Other items on the agenda for the SCP are volunteering in the county, vocational programs to decrease high school dropout rates in Sublette County and many others. “The lines are not drawn clearly (for what we do),” Fear said. “And that is a good thing.”
Goals Adopted by the SCP for 2007-08
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