Big Piney considers code enforcer position

Council heard a request from Mayor Michelle Hymas to consider creating a new part-time position that could be part code enforcer and part building inspector.

“I don’t feel like it needs to be full time,” she said at the Oct. 16 meeting. “I’m just asking what the council thinks of this. Maybe plan what we actually need?

The town had a part-time building inspector position in the past, with $10,000 still in the budget under “health and safety” for it. A code enforcer could work on property owners’ compliance with weeds and trash.

Councilmember Aimee Davison said combining the two sounded like a “reasonable” proposition.

“Would that be as needed, part-time?” asked councilmember Sherri Redden.

“Definitely, for $10,000,” the mayor said. “When we had a building inspector it was as needed.”

She asked them and councilmembers Scott Scherbel and Tyler Maxfield to think about a job description and everything that the position would encompass.

“I don’t really see a strong need for it,” Scherbel commented.

Hymas said she has taken care of building permits and five building inspections since becoming mayor and did not want to handle them when next summer approaches.

“Actually I’ve never liked our building inspection code,” Scherbel said. “I would like to see it changed so that (inspector) would not be the sole person. I would like people to come before the town council like Marbleton does.”

Hymas said that ordinance would need to be rewritten, as well as job descriptions, before getting someone on the staff by summer.

The council also heard from Bank of Sublette County officials who would like to add the town of Big Piney to its list of new customers. The council has not yet decided whether to move its account from Bank of the West, located in Big Piney, to another bank after its international owners proclaimed a bias against making certain oil and gas investments.

CEO Pete Lawton and Pinedale manager Pat Schwab spoke about being able to provide courier service between Big Piney and Pinedale.

“We would like to have a brick-and-mortar (bank) close to us,” Hymas said.

Lawton said he could commit to twice-weekly courier service and is considering an ATM option but having an actual bank building is more difficult.

“You can pretty much do all your banking from a phone these days,” he added.

Scherbel pointed out that the Bank of Sublette County is not actually “local,” with owners in Jackson and Tulsa, Okla.

“The uproar is that (Bank of the West) made some stupid statements,” he said. “… We don’t know anything about your philosophy. … We’re jumping ship on ‘philosophy’ right now; everybody’s trying to punish some bank for bad public relations.”

Lawton said the Tulsa bank is “aggressive in the fossil fuel industry” and that he has worked with cattle and side energy businesses but admitted BOSC doesn’t have a large investment policy directly in coal, for example.

“We have that knowledge, though,” he said. “My argument would be the family background – that’s where their history has been.”

He and Schwab outlined the benefits of doing business with the bank in Pinedale and Schwab pointed out it participates in both Pinedale and Big Piney community events.

“It’s Sublette County,” she said.

Scherbel asked how many employees they have in the county. Schwab said “five” and that she lives in Daniel, not Pinedale. “Is that close enough?”

“You must have some interesting football games,” Lawton commented.

The council did not make a banking decision at this meeting.

Redden reported on a small group meeting with engineer Todd Hurd about renovating the Marbleton-Big Piney Clinic to prepare it for emergency services.

“The stated goal is to keep the clinic open as much as possible,” said Scherbel, who is chairman of the county’s Rural Health Care District board. “… This does not mean 24/7 services will return as soon as the building is done. We’re getting it ready and will staff it (when the critical access hospital is built).”

“What is the likelihood of that happening,” asked Hymas.

Scherbel said when the projected CAH brings in enough revenues to support the clinic … or when the oilfield comes back.”

The council next unanimously approved its Oct. 9 emergency meeting motion to add $75,107.50 to the cost of the school bike path so Bennett Construction can extend farther, from PL Lane to Leslie Lane.

In other Big Piney news:

• The council approved a resolution to align the 2017-2018 fiscal year budget.

• Mayor Hymas reported that Eagle Scouts wonder if the town is interested in a small dog park that they can build as a community project

• The Pedens reported progress on finding and repairing large leaks in their RV park.

• Sheriff KC Lehr reported a couple of recent break-ins.

• Recreation director Eddie Delgado said the Christmas Parade of Lights is set for Tuesday, Dec. 18.

• Parks/streets employee Kara Losik learned that the Big Piney-Marbleton contract for their street sweeper fell through and she is getting winter equipment ready.

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