BIG PINEY – Speeding on town streets is a growing complaint heard by Big Piney Town Council members, they said at Tuesday’s meeting.
The problem happens on streets where speed limits and “children at play” signs are already posted, they added.
“We’ve been getting a lot of comments on people speeding,” mayor Ben Jenkins told town attorney Scott Sargent. “Would it be right for us to request (county deputies) give tickets instead of warnings?”
Sargent said officer discretion is an important element of their job.
“For law enforcement officers of any kind to do their job they have to have discretion, let’s say, to stop them and then discretion on what action to take,” he explained.
Councilmember Scott Scherbel related residents’ concerns to him about the noise and speeds of people driving on residential side streets and lanes.
He said he spoke about the problem with Sublette County Sheriff KC Lehr, who said he would ask his deputies to step up patrols in Big Piney.
Sargent said perhaps deputies, knowing who they have stopped before for speeding, might write tickets the second time.
“The neighbors put up signs but that’s not going to stop anyone from speeding if they’re not conscientious,” Jenkins said. “It takes a conscious effort.”
Councilmember Michelle Hymas asked town employee Kara Losik if streets in question have “children at play” signs posted.
“Most have at least two,” Losik replied. “Any time I put in a new sign I put one up. But I do have some extras.”
Councilmember Aimee Davison commented that school will be starting again soon and more kids will be out walking.
Jenkins said he and his neighbor have set out green “kid-alert” bodies with “slow” warnings but with little effect.
“I think a policeman issuing citations is the only thing that’s going to help,” Scherbel said. “I asked them to patrol more side streets and be more aggressive about issuing citations.”
In new business, the council discussed options to replace or remove a partly broken cattleguard on a Milleg Heights’ road where the town’s ownership ends. The town can only work on its public streets.
“The conclusion I came to was that all of those people in lots 1 through 9 have the right to use that (Milleg Lane); before it was deeded to the town there were right-of-ways,” Sargent said. “They do have some sort of property interest in it.”
The portion deeded to the town must be maintained by the town, he added, and it is up to the council to decide if it wants to dead-end the road and fence it off after removing the cattleguard or ask property owners if they want to replace it.
Scherbel noted that under the Wyoming Constitution, municipalities are barred from spending funds on private roads. Also, the original nine lots have been divided up over the years resulting in “12 or 13 owners along there now that would have rights to go on that road,” he said.
“If you get all the neighbors to agree with (ending the town road at the cattleguard) you could vacate that easement and put a fence across it that ends it there,” Sargent said, “but they all have a right to use it.”
If all of the residents there “choose to repair and replace the cattleguard,” Scherbel said, the town could help by sending Big Piney equipment and labor to assist with it.
“We could send a letter out to the Milleges and homeowners about the situation,” he suggested. “If they want to keep it as is (with the cattleguard and lane) we’ll help with half; we’ll put together the options and one would be to dedicate it to the town, one would be shutting it off; the Milleges could deed it to the town without the other owners and it would become a public road.”
Jenkins and the council supported sending letters out to those involved.
Town employee Joe Dankelman asked if they needed his help now with the cattleguard.
“We’ll band-aid it until we get the letter out,” Jenkins said.
Davison asked if copies of the town’s weed ordinance could be sent to property owners with the next water bills – “There are some places around town that are looking pretty bad.”
Losik reported that she will run the street-sweeper before the eclipse and commended the summer crew of kids that worked with her raking, painting, cleaning and other assorted jobs.
“They’re learning they can do it,” she said. “They cleaned the park and painted the fence. … They all did a fantastic job. I was pretty happy, and they all were appreciative of the job.”
Councilmember Sherri Redden complimented their work as well – “Town looks really good this year. They’ve been out working hard.”
Losik said Bank of the West asked about designating a handicapped parking space; if they approved, she could put in the sign and post and paint the curb.
“No reason not to,” said Scherbel, although the council wasn’t sure whose responsibility it was.
She will install a 20-mph speed sign on PL Lane with another “children at play” sign at the head of the street. Councilmembers Hymas and Davison asked her if she could put up the town’s set of flags.
She also gave an update on the WYDOT pathway grant with “lots of hoops,” including the need for “five heartbeats” to score why they choose Jorgensen Engineering to work on the pathway. Then more formal emails need to be exchanged between the town and Jorgensen officially for the project, which “won’t be this year,” said Jorgensen’s Brian Gray.
Big Piney Rec Center manager Darren Davison said if the council can wait until spring, the parking lot will get hot mix. “It’s a challenge right now getting anybody to do that.”
Robinson asked about progress to rebuild the pathway between Big Piney and Marbleton; Losik said the county recreation board “won’t commit” to reappropriate the funds. As for Marbleton, she said, there is no commitment but the town seems “willing.”