Rec board will be asked to maintain paths

PINEDALE – Done with county employees street-sweeping pathways, Sublette County Commissioners are directing the Sublette County Recreation Board to add a line item to its budget to include gravel sweeping and snow removal for bike trails.

During the May 14 Sublette County Commission meeting, Assistant Superintendent Billy Pape presented an accounting for hours county employees have worked to sweep the many paths in the Pinedale area.

“It’s not an afternoon job,” Pape said. Through the previous week, 29.5 employee-hours had been racked up.

During the last budgeting period, all departments were asked to cut budget requests. One recommendation by the Sublette County Commissioners was that the Sublette County Recreation Board reduce plowing.

In December, the Pinedale Recreation Center hosted the Frosty 5K Family Fun Run and asked to have the route plowed. The town of Pinedale did not have the correct equipment to plow the trails, the county did not have the proper equipment and the recreation board had cut the funds to hire an outside contractor. The route had to be changed.

Pape said one of the recreation board members was passionate and “had gotten in his face” about sweeping the paths. “We’ve always taken care of the ones next to the roads we maintain,” Pape said. However, the others not adjacent to roads are time-consuming and dirt blows in with the wind.

Commissioner Andy Nelson asked County Clerk Mary Lankford to write a letter to the recreation board, directing them to add sweeping and plowing to their budget.

Pape said the board needs a plan or a regular schedule. He said the county could still clear paths attached to the roads. He added Marbleton and Big Piney help tremendously with maintenance.

“It’s just over here,” Pape said of the Pinedale area.

“They can have it done at their convenience, if they’re paying for it,” Nelson said.

“We give them a budget, it’s up to them; boards have line-item approval,” Nelson said. “It behooves them to spend their money the way they direct it.”

Commissioners also discussed a plan proposed by the Wyoming County Commissioners Association to hire an administrator to handle all 23 counties workers compensation claims and risk assessments.

Lankford, who serves on a WCCA committee, said the plan would cost more and not do anything more. She said the department heads in Sublette County handle workers compensation claims at this time. She said the majority of claims come through the Sheriff’s Office and Road and Bridge Department.

She added the county’s insurance company is proactive in providing information to minimize risks.

“I find it interesting that Sublette and Campbell counties were the two counties that would see increased costs,” Lankford said. “Wealthier counties would pay more.”

Lankford said she understands that smaller counties are struggling and may not have the expertise, and she doesn’t mind helping them out.

“It’s all or nothing,” Lankford said. “If we pitch a fit, then nobody participates.”

Nelson said it’s a case of Sublette County again subsidizing the rest of the state and getting nothing for it.

In other actions:

• A contract was approved designating J. Thomas Johnston as the County Health Officer.

• Commissioners approved closing the Marbleton landfill on Saturdays, but keeping the landfill open during the week until 5.p.m. Pape said they run with only one person on Saturdays and typically only have three to five loads. The employee works alone and it could become a safety issue, he said. It also leaves them short-handed on Mondays.

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