High country in Hanna
Hanna Town Council hears update from HCJPB Chairman
March 18, 2020
The Hanna Town Council met at 6 p.m. on March 10 at the Hanna Town Hall. The agenda and minutes from February 11 were quickly approved and the council went into board and department reports.
The first report was from the chairman of the High Country Joint Powers Board (HCJPB). Toby Smith said that, after the regularly scheduled meeting on March 5, it was realized that the cost of the convenience center at the landfill in Hanna was going to cost approximately $420,000 versus the anticipated cost of a little over $150,000. This meant that Hanna had two choices; continue with the plan to build the convenience center as designed and have residents pay a much steeper price on their bill or go with the model that the towns of Elk Mountain and Medicine Bow use currently. Both towns have dumpsters throughout the town for residents to put their garbage in.
Councilmember Linda Schisel asked when the landfill was slated to close.
“It will be closed on July 1,” Smith said. “The last days it will take trash from residents will be June 27.”
Public works director Larry Korkow said the month was focused on snow removal.
Mayor Lois Buchanan said she wanted to address rumors about the budget for snow removal.
“I have been hearing from a lot of residents that they are worried that our budget for snow removal was over budget and any more snow removal would be stopped,” Buchanan said.
“Well if that were the case, we would have stopped plowing in December,” Korkow replied.
Laughter erupted from the audience.
Buchanan said funds would be transferred to cover the shortage.
Jon Nelson from North Fork Engineering told the council that the final revisions on the rehabilitation project of fixing the Old Town water system were being completed. He said bids on the project would be advertised in the Saratoga Sun on March 25. The bids opening will start on April 30 and go for 45 days. He is hopeful to have a contractor picked in mid June.
Hanna Marshal Jeff Neimark said there were three hit-and-runs during the month. He said damage was in the thousands of dollars. But suspects had been apprehended.
Neimark said he had heard a rumor that he was leaving Hanna to take the job as town marshal in Medicine Bow. He said it was not true.
Hanna Recreation Center Director Vivian Gonzales said the construction was almost complete from the flood damage that had occurred in December. Gonzales said she was pleased with work done. She said a backup generator was needed for the center. It became apparent when the power went out March 9. She said it caused the boilers to go down. The center will look for grants to help with the purchase.
Councilmember Sammy Sykes said South Central Wyoming Emergency Medical Services (SCWEMS) now had an ambulance in Medicine Bow. He said there was an opening in that town with Jim Colman’s resignation.
Carbon County Visitor Council Representative Mike Armstrong told the council about the Governor’s Conference February 23-25. He said the Five Percent Lodging Tax was passed after the conference.
“One thing I would like to go on record to tell the council is that there were 10 Carbon County residents that asked to see Senator Hicks and he did not come out to see them,” Armstrong said. “All of the other legislators found time to see their constituents except Hicks. This was also the largest group led by the new Chairman of the Board for Tourism, C.J. Box. Hicks said he came out later after everyone had left. As a community, we should be aware of his priorities.”
Pam Paulson, board member of the Hanna Basin Museum said photographs from the turn of the 20th century had been donated. The photographs were taken professionally in a studio that had once been in Hanna. She said resident Bob Leathers had donated funds to scan in photographs of the collection and other documents. Paulson said the museum board meetings will follow on the Friday after the town council meetings instead of the first Friday of each month.
After the board and department reports were approved, the financials were approved immediately after.
Craig McOmie, from the Department of Environmental Quality, who is in charge of landfill closures and Smith were slated as visitors. They were there to talk about options to keep costs down once the landfill was closed that Smith had alluded to in the HCJPB report.
“About four years ago we came to the town of Hanna and asked what do you want to do once the landfill closes,” Smith said. “There was a lot conjecture that the landfill wouldn’t close until 2025. We got together with all towns involved and said there was going to be no extension. At the time, the Hanna mayor was not interested in the model of having dumpsters, so the idea of the convenience center was put forth.”
Smith said he has been recently asked by Hanna residents why the town never got a choice about the dumpsters and he has explained they did.
“We have been working on this for four years,” McOmie said. “HCJPB has received $800,000 grant for closure and so far a truck has been purchased.”
He applauded the town of Hanna for raising its rates over the past year to get residents ready for when the landfill closes. McOmie noted when he drove around the town on March 5 he noticed that there was a trash service available. He then asked at the HCJPB why people wanted a convenience center when trash cans were being used by residents already. He found out that many residents didn’t want the convenience center given how much their bill would go up.
His recommendation was to go with the model of putting dumpsters throughout town like Elk Mountain and Medicine Bow. McOmie said there was no penalty for the grant to change from the large convenience center to a smaller one and placing dumpsters throughout town.
“We just want what is best for your citizens,” McOmie concluded.
The town will have a public hearing on changing from the large convenience center option to the dumpster model.
The council thanked McOmie and Smith for coming to explain the situation.
The first reading of Ordinance 387 was approved. This an ordinance designating the amount of general tax to be assessed, levied and collected for the fiscal year 2020-2021 on all taxable real and personal property within the town of Hanna.
The council approved the advertisement for bid of the Old Town water system rehabilitation project.
Linda Goodrich was approved to the Cemetery Board. The council then approved the resignation of Vivian Gonzales and announced a vacancy on the board.
The council accepted the resignation of Amber Claspell from the Parks and Recreation board and announced a vacancy on the board.
The council approved $3500 for equipment for the Carbon County Fire Department Hanna Division Volunteer Fire Department. Buchanan suggested instituting an annual fundraiser at the Hanna recreation center to help the Hanna Fire Department.
The next scheduled meeting is at 6 p.m. on April 14 at the Hanna Town Hall.