Citing new information,
an extended deadline and a desire to help
Hoback Ranches residents, Sublette County
Commissioners called a special meeting
Friday, April 19, and voted to take over and
manage a grant.
The $562,000 grant, if received, will
pay for the costs of installing culverts and
other infrastructure needed to mitigate potential
flooding and landslides following
last September’s Roosevelt Fire. As part of
the grant, the county will be responsible for
$144,000 or 25 percent of the funds. Commission
Chairman David Burnett and commissioners
Doug Vickrey, Tom Noble, Joel
Bousman and Mack Rawhouser were all in
attendance at the special meeting.
Absent from the April 2 meeting, representatives
from Hoback Ranches as well as
Sen. Dan Dockstader and Reps. Jim Roscoe
and Albert Sommers attended the special
April 12 meeting.
The special meeting was called after
commissioners refused to sign “assurances”
demanded by the federal Homeland
Security agency during their regular April 2
meeting. At that point, it appeared the grant
would fall through.
The Hoback Ranches Special Improvement
District was not eligible to apply for
the grant because the entity has not signed
on to the Sublette County Hazardous
Mitigation Plan that was approved by the
county and all three municipalities about a
When commissioners discussed taking
over the grant application and management,
they questioned why the district had
not signed on to the Hazardous Mitigation
Plan when it was offered.
Hoback Ranches representative Dave
Nemetz said perhaps it was due to the revolving
nature of the district’s board, but
members did not remember being offered
Sam Sumrall, also on the improvement
district’s board, said that after some discussion,
the board would consider signing
onto the plan when it comes up again for
approval in two or three years.
Another concern was that other special
improvement districts in Sublette County
should get an opportunity to sign on to the
plan in the future.
Burnett explained when opening the
meeting that the commissioners had agreed
to support the grant application back in November,
but thought it would be a “passthrough
grant” with the county receiving
funds and Hoback Ranches administering
the grant. However, after the initial application
was turned in, the county was asked to
make more assurances, including a requirement
for a full-time engineer be on site. It
appeared other requirements could obligate
Sublette County taxpayers if the grant was
not properly administered.
Burnett said after refusing to sign the
document, a phone conference call took
place among Homeland Security representatives
and Deputy County Attorney Matt
From that he said there were three options:
not participating, signing the grant
with a memorandum of understanding between
the county and Hoback Ranches or
taking over the entire grant to ensure it is
Bousman added, at the last meeting the
commission was under the impression that
April 1 was the “drop dead” deadline. In
fact, that was the “soft” deadline and May 1
the true deadline, which gave commissioners
an opportunity to respond.
Rawhouser explained, “If we take option
number three, I want the taxpayers to understand
the money, except for the 25 percent,
comes back to the county – if we do
Following the brief meeting, four motions
The first made by Bousman and seconded
by Rawhouser was to submit all necessary
documentation to apply for the grant.
The motion passed, 4-0, with Burnett abstaining
from the vote since he is a property
owner in the Hoback Ranches subdivision.
The second motion was to have Sublette
County take sole financial responsibility for
the grant. That also passed, 4-0, with Burnett
A third motion designated Sublette
County to administer all aspects of the
grant, which passed, 5-0.
A fourth motion designated Sublette
County Clerk Carrie Long as the point of
contact for the grant and distribution of
fund. That also passed unanimously.
When opened to the public, legislators in
attendance said they were pleased everyone
was able to work together.