Big Piney, Marbleton councils find common ground

Talk considers merging

BIG PINEY – Marbleton’s council came to Big Piney Town Hall before last Tuesday’s town council meeting and the two sets of officials worked out many events and ideas they have in common.

They talked about the July Fourth Chuckwagon Days’ pancake breakfast and rodeos, Arbor Day tree orders, mutual aid agreements for water and sewer problems and joint tourism efforts between the two towns – which are so close together visitors are sometimes not sure if they’re in Marbleton or Big Piney.

And the suggestion to merge the two towns only came up once.

Marbleton Mayor Jim Robinson had proposed the “casual meeting” at his council’s Feb. 12 meeting. Councilmembers Jeff McCormick, BJ Meador and Roger McMannis came with consultant Sam Bixler, town clerk Anita Boehm and public works manager Todd Brown.

Mayor Michelle Hymas, councilmembers Sherri Redden and Aimee Davison and deputy town clerk Linda Morton, represented Big Piney before their Feb. 20 council meeting

“Do you think we need to start working on our tourism,” Hymas asked. “We have three hotels here.”

Suggestions included photos of local landscapes and activities, banners, sandwich boards and websites. They talked about using a Forest Service kiosk to be at Marbleton’s statues park, where public restrooms are being built.

Marbleton also brought up having a more formal water/sewer mutual aid agreement with Big Piney. The Wyoming Water and Wastewater Agency Response Network (WYOWARN) provides training, coverage and compensation for equipment and labor

among municipalities in case of natural disasters.

“It probably would be good for the two towns to just have something in writing,” Robinson said.

Bixler said Federal Emergency Management Agency doesn’t reimburse towns for helping each other without being enrolled.

“What about LaBarge,” Hymas asked. “We help them out a lot.”

Brown noted all three towns have “handshake agreements.”

“If we have mutual aid agreements, we need to start somewhere,” he said. “This costs nothing and you get reimbursed. It’s really simple.”

Hymas asked him to drop off information.

“We’ve discussed doing a lot of things together,” said Robinson.

They agreed to meet again in June with for more conversations.

You decided not to annex, huh?” asked Big Piney councilmember Scott Scherbel as he took his seat.

“I’m for it,” Robinson said. “I don’t care; we can call it ‘Big Piney Marbleton’ – whatever you guys want to do would be fine with me.”

With the arrival of councilmember Tyler Maxfield, Big Piney then called its meeting to order.

Sheriff KC Lehr and Deputy Josh Peterson attended to give updates.

“I appreciate your service, I appreciate your presence in town,” said Redden. “Coming down Main Street the other day and one of your officers was helping a lady into her car.”

“That sounds like Josh,” the sheriff said. “I am very proud of our deputies and how they treat our citizens.”

Next, new Bank of the West manager Joanie Christie invited everyone to the bank’s March 15 Chamber mixer. The council thanked her for introducing herself around town and attending local events such as the Welcome Mushers dinner for the Pedigree Sled Dog Race.

The sled dog race committee of Dr. Bob Beiermann and Redden presented the Town of Big Piney with its Pedigree Sled Dog Race banner. Beiermann said Mars, Inc., and race directors like to highlight the Big Piney/ Marbleton stage. A veterinarian from Italy helping this year had heard about the dinner’s Dutch oven desserts.

“It’s a great event and it helps our towns,” Davison said.

Next up, Hymas and the council talked about large amounts of excess water running into the sewer system, which the town pays to pump to Marbleton . Hymas said 19 letters went out – to EOG Resources, Pedens and 17 residential water/sewer customers with high water output into the sewer system. A number of them contacted Town Hall, she said.

“The ones with the extra $11 charge would like to see our files and pictures so Joe’s been meeting with them,” she said. “So far, so good.”

“If people are willing to fix their lines, I’m willing to work with the rates,” said Davison.

Recreation manager Darren Davison informed the council as many as 350 Tour de Wyoming bicyclists are coming through July 17-18.

Kara Losik, parks/ streets manager, returned to tourism with the reminder she only has one poster left for the highway billboard. She suggested creating new posters to promote the towns.

“We had that discussion earlier with Marbleton,” Redden said. “They’re on board with working together.”

Losik also reported costs to rebuild the bike path between the towns have increased to $67,000 each if split three ways with Big Piney, Marbleton and the county.

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