From the pages of
Pinedale Roundup
Volume 104, Number 35 - August 30, 2007
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Town Council returns fire

by Jennie Oemig

In addition to concerns over his position on the Planning and Zoning board, Robert Brito expressed his thoughts about several other issues at Monday’s Town Council meeting.

Brito started out by informing the council of the problems he had regarding P&Z Administrator Meghan Jacquet, only to be shut down by council members.

After bringing up the last P&Z meeting during which Union Telephone Company requested a variance and the amount of time it took for Jacquet to get information returned, council member Gary Heuck interrupted. “We’re not going to listen to this,” Heuck said. “We’ve already discussed it and we’ve already acted on it.”

Brito then said that he merely wanted to inform the council of what was going on at the P&Z meetings. “I find it insulting that you don’t think we know what’s going on,” council member Chris House said.

Insistent that he be heard, Brito continued on with his presentation. “I just assume you resign,” Heuck interjected. “We’ve already passed on it.”

Moving on to another of his concerns, Brito questioned the council about an advertisement that was placed in the newspaper stipulating that residents living within a fivemile radius of town could apply to be on the Master Plan steering committee. Brito said residents who could be on the committee had to live within one mile of town. Town Attorney Ed Wood clarified that an inconsistency was found when it came to determining the qualifications for committee members.

“There is a discrepancy between the ordinance and the Master Plan,” he said. Brito continued to press the issue, saying that something needed to be done so as not to cause confusion.

“What do you have to do with it anyway?” Heuck asked. Though he was unsure of his standing on the P&Z board at the time, Brito said he was concerned as a citizen of Pinedale. Council member Nylla Kunard said she would prefer to have someone living in town make decisions for her.

“Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I don’t want someone who lives five miles out dictating what we’re taxed for …,” she said. “I just don’t think it’s right.” Council member Dave Hohl then said that having someone who did not live in the town on the steering committee would give them a broader perspective. “They don’t care what happens in here,” Kunard responded.

The council then voted on the issue of whether to change the ordinance to allow people who live in a five-mile radius to apply for positions on the steering committee. The motion was denied with a 3-to-1 vote. Continuing on with his concerns, Brito returned to the topic of the zoning administrator and complaints he has been receiving. Referring back to the Aug. 9 P&Z meeting when Jacquet approached the board with a zoning request from the Pinedale Bible Church, Brito said no one from the church was present because Jacquet neglected to inform them.

Brito said Jacquet demanded the board listen to the request when it wasn’t necessary and without being properly advertised to the public.

Mayor Steve Smith then asked Brito if the board heard the request regardless. “We made the decision to hear it,” Brito confirmed. “But it was a decision we didn’t have to make.”

Jacquet was misinformed as to when the county P&Z board was to hear the same request and pushed the town P&Z board to comment on it, Brito said. “I was there at that meeting,” Town Engineer Eugene Ninnie said. “Sometimes things do get mis-advertised.” Ninnie then clarified that the P&Z board was only asked to comment on the request and the recommendations would be given to the county P&Z board. The town P&Z board was not asked to take any action.

• Anne Joseph expressed her concern over numerous feral cats in town. Having taken it upon herself to help out with some of the animal control issues, Joseph said she has begun trapping cats, fixing the adults and adopting out the kittens. Noticing close to 100 felines in one area of town, Joseph said she asked Animal Control Officer Julie Early about it. Joseph said Early was aware of the issue though it appears as though nothing is being done to quell the problem.

Being advised to come before the council with her problems, Joseph asked if it would be possible for the town to foot the bill to have the cats euthanized. “There’s an immediate crisis,” she said. “It needs to happen now.” Smith, acknowledging his awareness of the issue, said Early has been doing as much as she possibly can to control the problem, trapping a significant amount of cats in that area.

“Something bigger and better needs to happen,” Joseph insisted. “It’s out of control.”

• During the department head reports, Sheriff Bardy Bardin reported that the Sublette County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) received 388 calls, issued 46 citations and arrested 21 individuals.

Bardin also asked that the police department channel, defunct for two years, be re-licensed in the town’s name so that the SCSO could use it for emergency services. The new town enforcer could use the channel as well. Bardin said the channel was taken offline when the SCSO went to a digital system. There would be no cost to get the channel back online, Bardin said.

Seeing a need for a helicopter in the area for search and rescue efforts, as well as other law enforcement needs, Bardin said Fremont, Teton, Park and Sublette counties have been in talks with the state to get a statefunded pilot project started.

• Early said she picked up 12 dogs during the month of July. Five of the dogs that were reported lost between the Fourth of July and Rendezvous weekend were returned to theirowners. Six were claimed and one was not. Early reported that she received $105 off of impoundments, $104.50 off of licensing and $10 from adoptions. Putting 585 miles on her truck during the month of July, Early said she spent $146.91 on gas.

Early informed the council that she, along with Ninnie, had found a suitable heater that would work well in the dog pound. “Nights are starting to get a little cool in my tin shack,” Early said of the necessity to get the heater as soon as possible. The estimated cost of the heater would be $350, she said.

Electrical wires are also being put in at the pound, Early said. Early also brought up two ordinances she was concerned with regarding restraint and barking dogs.

Asking for the council’s permission to change the wording on the restraint ordinance, Early suggested that all dogs being walked up and down Main Street be required to be on leashes.

“If you’re going to do part of it, you might as well do the whole thing,” Heuck said, suggesting the ordinance be changed and applied to the whole town.

The second ordinance Early brought up was in regards to barking dogs, which is not considered to be a misdemeanor. She said the current citation for barking dog complaints is $25 and requested to have an escalated fine structure put in place. “They think it’s kind of funny when two weeks later they get another fine for the same amount,” Early said of people she has cited. “I think it needs to be stricter.”

The council suggested this particular ordinance be tied into the dogs-at-large ordinance, which has an escalated fine scale. It was also suggested that barking dog violations be considered a misdemeanor and the judge can determine the cost of the fine.

• The Public Works department requested approval from the council to purchase a plow and sander truck from Mountain West Truck Center in Salt Lake City. The council unanimously approved the request, adding the stipulation that the cost shall not exceed $95,000.

• Ninnie informed the council that the traffic study is ready to begin. He also said he would like to get the town-wide drainage study project moving forward. Commenting on the water usage of Pinedale residents, Ninnie said he would like to get meters installed and monitor them closely. The current consumption in town is 2.15 million gallons a day, which Ninnie said is five to six times the average consumption rate.

With so many new projects being brought up, Heuck suggested Ninnie focus on some of the projects that are already in the work. “The stuff you’re talking about is down the road,” Heuck said. “… We’ve gotta get the street and water projects done.”

• Mayor’s assistant Lauren McKeever said she and the mayor met with Sen. Mike Enzi when he was in town to discuss the growth impacts to the town. She said Enzi is working on the issue at the federal level and is assisting the town with funding requests. McKeever said it is important for such representatives to be continually informed of this information.

• Pinedale Airport Manager Jim Parker reported that one of the hangars on Lot 1 was sold. The airport board had already approved the lease and Parker said the council needed to approve the lease as well in order for it to switch hands.

The council approved the lease unanimously. Parker also reported that HK Contractors had begun construction on the runway extension.

• Mary Ann Minster, representing the Split Diamond Meadows Subdivision, said the process of annexation has fallen behind a month. She asked the council if it would be possible to get the subdivision hooked up to the town’s water supply.

“I’m asking that you give us the in-town rate rather than the county rate,” she said. Right now, the subdivision is not part of the town so they are being charged at the county rate. The property is expected to be annexed to the town next month, Minster said.

The next Town Council meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 10 at the Town Hall.

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