Big Piney district asked to help with county disposal bill

PINEDALE – Spring cleaning has a new meaning for Sublette County School District No. 9 – and a huge price tag.

Every year, the solid waste department for Sublette County has a free dump day. This year Sublette County School District No. 9 asked the county to take “a few” chemicals that had been stored in cupboards of a science lab. The solid waste department accepts chemicals from anyone residing in Sublette County and contracts with an agency to pick them up and dispose them safely following all regulations.

According to supervisor Billy Pape, who was advising Sublette County Commissioners at the June 19 meeting, what was a little cleanup turned out to be three pickup loads of chemicals. After completing an inventory and sending the five-page list of chemicals to the contracted company, the county was billed more than $11,000.

Pape said the dates on some of the chemicals went back to the 1960s.

Commission chairman Andy Nelson laughed, saying this was all done on a free dump day so the county didn’t even get the typical $7 per load. He asked Pape to contact the school district and request splitting the bill.

“I don’t mind helping them out but maybe since we shared, they’ll share part of the bill,” Nelson said.

Other references were made to an incident in past years when the entire school was contaminated with mercury.

In other Sublette County action:

• Commissioner Tom Noble said he participated in interviews of three applicants for the University of Wyoming/Sublette County Extension and 4-H youth director’s position, currently filled by Robin Schamber. Schamber announced her resignation immediately following the Sublette County Fair in August.

• Commissioners gave County Clerk Mary Lankford direction for the upcoming budget. The actual budget numbers will not be approved until after a hearing in July.

While the budget is very similar to last year, commissioners directed Lankford to remove the $30,000 previously given to Big Brothers/ Big Sisters. Commissioners agreed the newly appointed director might improve the program and the goal of pairing adults as mentors for children is a great mission. However, commissioners were discouraged that the price over the past two years at $30,000 a year or $60,000 total had generated only one match.

• Funding for county prevention services also changed. In the past, those services were paid by the Wyoming Department of Health, which contracted with a service. The state department is now paying the county about $115,000 to provide those services. Sublette County Commissioners elected to have services provided through the Public Health Office.

Lankford said there was some confusion how the services were changed, but most counties are electing to administer the funds through their public health offices.

Commissioner David Burnett said the Public Health Office can determine if another

individual would be hired to provide services that had been performed by Wyoming Prevention Management Organization community specialist Ranae Pape.

• Commissioners approved a payment from reserves to the museum and library boards.

• Vanguard has been sued for unpaid taxes of nearly $2.1 million. Since budgets were set when the revenue was expected but not collected, all what kind of districts received less money than originally anticipated. Lankford said most districts have enough reserves to cover expenses to get by until the money is collected. The exceptions were the library and museum boards, which needed advances to pay bills at the end of this fiscal year. An advance was made, but the money will be withheld if and when the taxes are collected.

• A resolution passed reducing the speed on Big Piney Calpet Road, CR No. 23-134, from 55 miles an hour to 40, following the request of a resident.

• Commissioners approved the renewal of 14 scholarships – three seniors, two juniors and eight sophomores. One scholarship was not renewed because the recipient missed the renewal deadline by several days.

• Commissioners did not take any action on a proposal by the Wyoming County Commissioners Association to join a program managing workers’ compensation for counties. County Clerk Mary Lankford said Sublette County is one of three counties that would have to pay more. She added, the county currently manages the program and the county’s insurance carrier also does a risk assessment to make sure problems are identified and remedied.

Lankford said the program would benefit small counties and help them navigate paperwork.

Since none of the counties would have a program unless all participated, commissioners agreed to take no action until possibly other counties object.

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