From the pages of
Pinedale Roundup
Volume 105, Number 50 - December 11, 2008
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Q&A With Mayor Smith
Mayor proud of various Pinedale improvements
by Stephen Crane

How has the past year in Pinedale gone?

Good, productive, still busy. Still meeting challenges. Still taking advantage of some opportunities that we have out there with the industry. But yeah, busy, ongoingly busy.

Especially with the traffic, and the population.

Whatís your proudest moment or achievement of the past year?

I would have to say the acquisition of the new park, of Cooney Park, part of the Boyd Skinner Park. I think saving those 18 acres for future residents of Pinedale is probably what Iím most proud of.

You look at this piece of property, and Iím not bragging, but Iím proud of what the council did. Iím just really proud the council stepped up and made it happen. I get beat up on that from time to time. People say, ďYa know, this town already has enough parks.Ē And theyíre probably right, right now; we have enough parks. But youíve got to look 20 years down the road. When my kids come back to Pinedale, are they going to have enough parks then?

When I first took office, I wanted to get the three county in-holdings that were still in the town limits. And last night, we started the ball rolling on that with Kay Bustonís property, so thatís the third and last one. So Iím pretty proud of that too. Thatís something that I campaigned on, so Iím glad to finally have all three of those annexed.

What have been the biggest challenges of the job?

The biggest challenges are mostly based with the increase in population, maintaining infrastructure, keeping water and sewer lines up and going, traffic control, keeping enough employees in public works to keep the streets plowed and subdivisions cleared; that sort of thing.

The challenges are multi-fold, but most of them are based on just an increase in populationÖmore traffic, more people.

How are town finances?

Our sales and use tax is way up. Our sales and use tax is now over $6 million. 15 years ago, our annual budget wasnít even $6 million. But unfortunately, most of our sales and use tax is directly proportionate to the amount of people, because the people pay the tax. So the more people

paying the tax, the more services you have to provide. So unfortunately, most of the sales and use tax goes right back into town services ó hiring new staff, public works, trucks, plows, dumps, graters, backhoes, all that good stuff.

What are the townís biggest projects currently being worked on?

The new waterline going out to Ehman Lane. Thereís a big one that comes from state land money that we got. And then the other chunk of the state land money is for street rehabilitation all through the southwest part of town. So itís going to go from the Redstone area all the way back to the sewer lagoon because thatís where the new development is going.

And then of course, with the new development out on Ehman Lane, the new school and those areas out there, weíve got the waterline going that way.

The town shop is also underway and looking good. Weíve got siding going up as we speak, so thatís a big project. The previous fiasco with the town shop is sort of a nightmare that I inherited when I first came into office. But itís a blessing in disguise because even if that project had been finished on time and under budget, it would have been immediately too small for our needs. So you take what you get and make lemonade.

What future projects are lined up?

The transmission lines, weíre working on funding for that. The Wyoming Water Development Council is going to consider that next week.

Weíve already had engineering on two more water and sewer rehabilitation streets on the northside of town, some of the old neighborhoods, like we did on Tyler and Sublette two years ago. We replace water and sewer lines and then repave the streets as we go, probably with curbs, gutter and sidewalks. Itís something that the town is never actually required to do, but it sure makes the town nicer.

And the town is participating too with the county recreation board on the Pinedale Pathways Project. Weíre incorporating everything from MaryAnneís new subdivision, across the creek. So that will connect [those] subdivisions with Hennick, the shelter park area, all the way to the school. And then the new 18 acres of the park is also going to incorporate the Pinedale Pathway, so it will be a nice way to connect what is now the southern most end of the pathways project. So weíre looking at putting in some green space, a little parking and shelter to picnic, and so weíre going to continue that [pathway] all the way down south of Agate and then tie in and go all the way down through what is the New Fork Social Club and all that stuff out there at the bottom of the anticline.

And weíre keeping all this natural, sort of a wildlife habitat. So thatís another project that the townís participating in with the county rec. board Ė keep the Pathways Project going, which is great. People come to Pinedale for that sort of recreation.

With all the expansion and projects going on, are there plans to hire a new Planning and Zoning Administrator to help Town Engineer Eugene Ninnie?

He does have his hands full. Heís looking into hiring another engineering planning and zoning person. We donít know if weíre going to call that person an administrator.

Pinedaleís going to continue to grow.

Right now, everythingís just kind of not moving. Houses arenít selling. Houses arenít really being built.

So it kind of goes back to that argument we had before about, do we need a full-time planner? I think, right now, no, we donít. In five years, we might.

Geneís kind of doing it all right now, but he is looking to hire somebody to take some weight off his shoulders. But thatís just his nature. Heís a go-getter, focused guy. So he doesnít mind. He kind of enjoys being on top of everything.

And weíre lucky to have him. Heís a very good engineer. Some people get frustrated. He requires some things that the town has never required even though our ordinances required it. And all the people just kind of got away without following the ordinances or the code. So he takes the ordinances very seriously and enforces them. And that frustrates some people who never had to do it before, even though it should have been required of them.

With a year and a half left in your term, have you given any thought to your future in politics?

I didnít run for mayor to do anything else. I just wanted to be mayor. I thought it was a good time to do it. Rose was retiring and all. And I had always been interested in this town and town government, so I havenít really thought about it one way or the other. And I know itís the canned public servant answer, but I really havenít.

Right now, I think if it came up, and there was somebody else who wanted to give it a shot that I thought would do a good job, whose heart was in the right place, I might very well not run. It just depends on whoís out there.

And I think thatís what people run into when they run for office. They get into the office and then their term comes to an end and they look and say, ďWell, I donít think that guy would do such a great job, so I better run again.Ē

What are you looking forward to most about the upcoming winter?

Personally, the last couple years, weíve really enjoyed taking out the kids, be it snowshoeing or Nordic skiing or downhill. Sophiaís old enough now to downhill ski and she really enjoys that.

Frankly, thereís just so much to do, but Iím more of a quiet-sport person. And my son turned two this summer, so heís getting to the age now where he can do more. He doesnít have to be carried everywhere. He can walk. He can snowshoe.

So yeah, weíll get out and play. Weíll be going to get our Christmas tree tomorrow.

What did you ask Santa for this year?

You know, itís funny, with the children, you donít even think about that anymore. Itís kind of all about them.

My mom and dad are coming out this year, which theyíve never done before. So itíll be nice to kind of have a family Christmas in Pinedale. I guess thatís all Iím really looking forward toÖthe family getting together, Mom and Dad being out here. Thatís all I need.

Do you have any New Yearís resolutions youíve been pondering?

Not really, just keep working. Keep plugging away, just keep plugging away. Make it to the end of my termÖnot get impeached (laughing). No, but I enjoy being mayor. Thereís a lot to do, but itís good.

Photo credits:  Stephen Crane

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