BOCC minds river


At the Carbon County Board of County Commissioner’s (BOCC) meeting on May 3, possible flooding in the North Platte Valley was front and center among the many topics discussed.

During the meeting, the commissioners spent a significant amount of time discussing the possibility of flooding and how the county would act, should flooding happen. The BOCC’s chair, John Espy was given authority to declare a flood zone without consulting the other BOCC members, and emergency managers detailed plans to have inmate crews remove old sandbags from the banks of the Platte River in Saratoga. The board also debated whether or not to hire a benefits consultant.

The BOCC acted to retain Cobecon, a Colorado-based benefits consulting firm. The firm will continue to provide benefits consultation for the county, despite the fact that several board members were concerned with the expense of hiring a benefits consultant during a time of economic uncertainty in the county, and that another firm, USI, would have cost less.

Several members were impressed with Cobecon’s performance in saving the county money, pointing out that the company has saved the county over $1 million over the last several years. The board voted to retain Cobecon’s services on a one-year contract, choosing the company over USI.

The BOCC also spent time discussing the potential for flooding in the Platte River Valley this spring.

John Zeiger, Carbon County emergency manager asked the BOCC to grant authority to Chairman Espy to sign a flood declaration in the event of flooding during the upcoming mountain runoff season. The main reason for this request is to speed up the process of declaring a flood and getting needed resources without having to convene the entire board, Zeiger said.

The declaration would only be signed in the event of a flood, the board said.

Zeiger also informed the BOCC that Department of Homeland Security Director Guy Cameron would be appearing before the Governor to ask that the Smokebusters, an inmate crew, be deployed to Saratoga during the week of May 16. The crew would be put to work removing sandbags from the banks of the North Platte River in the town. Many of the bags date back to the flood of 2011, and are severely deteriorated.

Removal of these old sandbags would give emergency responders such as the National Guard a clean slate from which to work this spring in the event of a flood, Zeiger said, adding the town’s mayor, Ed Glode, has been briefed on the project and agreed with it.

The project would take the inmate crew about three to five days, Zeiger said, and there would be about 35 people deployed to the town, including the inmates and their Department of Corrections supervisory personnel.

The board also made a proclamation recognizing National Travel and Tourism week, and recognized the importance of tourism to Wyoming’s economy where it is the number two industry in the state. The BOCC also acted to recognize National Economic Development Week and National Arson Awareness Week.

The next meeting of the BOCC is 2 p.m., June 7 at the courthouse in Rawlins.


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