Big Piney ends fiscal year, begins next with new council
SUBLETTE COUNTY – This was the last meeting of the Big Piney Town Council for the fiscal year, with the new 2023-2024 fiscal year (FY) budget approved and a new mayor sworn in.
As councilmembers Sherri Redden, Stafford Polk IV and Mayor Tyler Maxfield departed, Tawnya Miller and Sierra Banks will be joined by new Mayor Shane Voss and councilmembers Dalin Hughes and Kinsey Voss.
First, though, the council, with Miller absent, approved the proposed FY 2023-’24 budget, with high and low numbers for revenues and expenses to make sure the town departments have cushions.
The General Fund’s property tax revenues for 2022-2023 were budgeted at $20,000 and the same for the coming fiscal year, with the town actually receiving $29,453 in this fiscal year. The town is budgeted to transfer $674,045 from Wyo-Star accounts.
Total General Fund revenues budgeted for the coming year, including $99,000 in direct distribution licenses and permit fees, liquor licenses, leases and miscellaneous, total $538,560.
Big Piney leases an office to SAFV Task Force for $300 a year and part of its recreation building to Children’s Learning Center for $5,600 a year. It pays $10,000 each year to the Big Piney Airport Joint Powers Board.
General Fund total forthcoming revenues are budgeted at $1,217,605 to match the total expenses of the same amount in FY 23-24. At the end of FY 22-23, the General Fund had a net total of $125,032.
Administrative expenses including salaries, benefits, office supplies, computers, legal services and audit were budgeted for $269,250 in FY22-23, actual expenses were $202,336 and the FY 23-24 budget plans for $292,300.
Contracts for social services budgeted at $31,060 will include the billboard, community cleanup day, senior citizens, SAFV, Chuckwagon Days, Fourth of July fireworks, Big Piney Gun Club, Green River Valley Museum, Pedigree Stage Stop Race, Visitor Center, scholarships, parade floats and other holiday decorations.
Sublette County Sheriff’s Office and Sublette County Unified Fire are contracted at $10 each per year, a great deal for the county’s municipalities of Big Piney, Marbleton and Pinedale.
The Parks budget anticipates $42,000 more coming in for improvements, bringing the department’s budget to $116,000 compared to $66,350 for FY 22-23. Health and Safety, including $16,600 set aside for three summer mosquito sprayings, is budgeted at $43,500.
The Streets total budget for the coming fiscal year is $140,550 including salaries, benefits, street, equipment and sidewalk maintenance and repairs, banners and street sweeping.
Maintenance Shop costs are budgeted at $16,400 to include equipment, supplies, repairs, summer help supplies and utilities.
Big Piney’s Capital Expenditures’ upcoming budget is totaled at $531,000 with $130,000 for paving/ infrastructure, $90,000 for potential land acquisition, $222,000 for the Nichols water and sewer line project and $89,000 for the Big Piney Rec Center’s roof.
Rec, water, sewer
The town has three separate fund for recreation, water services and sewer services, so that each of these facilities operate to pay their ways.
The Big Piney Rec Center is forecasted to bring in $669,010 from the Big Piney school district, fees, Friends of Big Piney Rec, county funding and Wyo-Star transfers
It then spends the same in the next fiscal year on repairs, payroll, training, offices and computers, coaches, equipment, cleaning, bleachers and peewee and community program supplies.
State funding requires water and sewer rates to be sufficient to pay their own administration, operation and expenses. New water and sewer rates take effect next month to start building up reserves.
The Water Fund was budgeted in FY 22-23 to bring in and expend $173,900, while FY 23-24 anticipates additional SLIB revenue of $1.06 million. It did not have any cash carry-over for this fiscal year. The Water Fund expects a net total of $913,700 in the next fiscal year.
The Sewer Fund is budgeted for $167,300 with expenditures of the same amount and a net total for FY22-23 of $2,196.
New W/S rates
After approving the new budget, the Big Piney Town Council passed Resolution #2023-02, “Resolution Setting Water & Sewer Rates For Certain Municipal Consumers.”
“Big Piney has to break even,” said water-sewer superintendent Mike Wagstaff.
The resolution says it is “mutually beneficial” for many residents and commercial users run a steady stream from a faucet from Dec. 1 to April 30 to prevent frozen pipes. The resolution lists different monthly water and sewer service charges based on water meter sizes.
Wagstaff studied numbers and revamped monthly rates for an “all encompassing rate structure for commercial, multifamily, residential customers,” he said.
The resolution sets “special winter water rate” of a monthly service charge for each hookup – plus prices per gallon sold with a .25-gallon bleed rate Dec. 1 through April 30.
The winter rate allows to 10,000 gallons a month.
Summer water rates are lower per gallon from June 1 through Sept. 30 and summer sewer will be billed at 70 percent of actual usage “to account for lawn maintenance.”
Rec manager Eddy Delgado said five food vendors and 14 floats have signed up for the July 4 Chuckwagon Days Parade with more expected.
Code enforcer Greg Eiden reported he okayed an owner’s permit to move a duplex 20 feet. He and a deputy also gathered five “neglected” puppies and took them to Dr. Bob Beiermann’s clinic. “They were starving to death,” Eiden said.
He also set a live trap for a reported feral cat that was bothering a resident’s cat and caught a raccoon.
Parks-streets supervisor Kara Losik reported first for Wagstaff, who was called away to check water pressure and flow from an existing leak under asphalt that was uncovered when the pavement was pulled up for the Nichols Street project.
(NOTE: When the town’s water pressure dropped with potential to contaminate municipal drinking water, the town shut off its system until EPA reviewed samples and gave the okay at 4 p.m. Friday to start using it for drinking. Earlier Big Piney advised a 3-minute boil before drinking the water.).
Losik said her summer crew is doing “a phenomenal job” and keeping up with chores despite the gray and wet weather. She said residents can sign up at Big Piney Town Hall for Sublette County Weed & Pest to spray for weeds.
“I appreciated the final project with our Big Piney mural,” Redden told her. “It’s all finished, the wrinkles are out, it looks great.”
Mayor Shane and Councilmember Kinsey Voss have lived in Sublette County since 2009 and moved to Big Piney four years ago.
“We both love it here and want to contribute all we can,” he said. “We love the town of Big Piney and I want to see it continue in the right direction. I want positive growth and stability for the town.
Kinsey Voss said she already has a good knowledge of the town’s ordinances.
“I love rules, and to follow the rules,” she said. “I’d like to part of something bigger than myself.”
Chlorinated water was what prompted multigenerational lifelong native Dalin Hughes to came to several meetings “and learned a lot about water.”
With two seats up this election, people pressured Hughes to register as a candidate and of course, the town has worked out its chlorine-water balance.
He didn’t expect to be elected but Hughes is taking it in stride. “I have a lot to learn and see what things are about before I try to fix anything. It’s good to be involved.”