The Saratoga Sun -

Carbon County Commissioners break the ceiling

First female Chairperson appointed at board meeting

 

January 12, 2023

Courtesy of Carbon County Clerk

Left to right: Carbon County Sheriff Alex Bakken, County Coroner Brittany Nyman, Clerk of District Court Mara Sanger, County Commissioner R. Travis Moore, Judge Snyder, County Commissioner Willing John Johnson, County Clerk Gwynn Bartlett, County Treasurer Lindsey West, County Assessor Renee Snider and County Attorney Sarah Chavez-Harkins.

Throughout the history of the Board of Carbon County Commissioners (BOCCC) three women sat on the board; Linda Fleming, Lindy Glode who served as vice chairman and Sue Jones. At the January 3, 2023 meeting of the commissioners, Sue Jones was named Chairperson. She is the first woman in Carbon County history to chair the BOCCC. Jones has served as a commissioner for 10 years. Jones said she is very honored and humbled to have been chosen as chairperson.

There were also nine newly elected officials sworn in by District Judge Dawnessa Snyder at this meeting.

Carbon County Clerk Gwynn Bartlett recognized several employees for their years of service: Kristy Rowan, 21 years Deputy Zoning Administrator; Kim Starr, 18 years Carbon County Sheriff Dispatcher; Tom Lakia, 15 years Carbon County Sheriff Deputy; Emily Kaluzny 8 years Public Health Response Coordinator and Sheriff Alex Bakken, 6 years Carbon County Sheriff Deputy.

Emergency Management Coordinator Lenny Layman reported on the Emergency Management Performance Grant (EMPG) Grant. This grant money in the amount of $22,917.81 is being extended to use for salary. The funds hadn't been exhausted an existing grant, so Homeland Security allowed an extension. A motion was carried to allow Chairperson Jones to sign.

Layman presented a grant application for Early Warning Enhancement Gauges money. He said the project had been in the works for about 8 months.

In addition, Layman said he's discovered they need to have early warning capabilities for water flow issues in the Mullein Burn Scar. There are a number of drainages that if they receive a pretty moderate downpour, debris flows and flashes will occur.

The process would involve deploying six to nine devices around the burn scar. They use satellite communications and information would be fed to them via the Cloud directly from the National Weather Service bolstering early warning notifications. Layman wants these to be deployable apparatus that can be used across the state. The state has found a grant that can be used for the devices, the deadline is next Wednesday. Layman asked for approval to go forward with the grant application.

The Commissioners were concerned about the monthly or annual cost to the County for the monitoring equipment.

Layman said he didn't foresee himself coming back for more money. He felt there were other avenues to pay extra expenses.

The Commissioners all agreed they need partners that will help pick up the extra expenses, but they decided to give Layman the thumbs up to apply for the grant.

Layman then updated the Commissioners on the recent snow events. He said he has spent a great deal of time working with HF Sinclair Refinery in Rawlins and on the interstate over the past few weeks helping to get critical transportation and deliveries through the closed roads.

He's also been working closely with the city of Rawlins with snow removal. The roads are clear now, but they are now preparing for the next snow event which would be six inches of snow or more which is forcasted for this week.

Layman also wanted to thank Sheriff Bakken for activating Search and Rescue to deliver meals to some senior citizens that needed food.

Commissioner Barkhurst asked if there was or could be discussion with WYDOT to help speed along the snow removal in Rawlins by using some of their snow removal equipment. Layman said the city of Rawlins and Carbon County would have to declare a disaster to use the State of Wyoming resources.

Carbon County Sheriff Bakken gave the Commissioners an update on the Sheriff's office. He said they are going to implement a quadrant system to better coverage.

In reference to criminal investigations in the jail, they are going to make some changes. In the past they've called in Wyoming Highway Patrol to conduct investigations, but from now on, they will have detention deputies conduct the investigations. This will build their experience.

Bakken also said they would be picking up the new Search and Rescue Hagglund. A Hagglund is an all terrain vehicle used in forestry, transmission line work, pipeline construction and maintenance, as well as forest fighting, search and rescue and ambulance services. It is designed to be used in road-less country, rocky outcrops, boulder-strewn terrain, swamp, marsh and water hazards. According to the Hagglund website, it is light on its tracks and easy on the ground service. It exerts minimal ground pressure–less than half the pressure exerted by a human foot. The rubber tracks are easy on road surfaces even at speeds of 55 mph. It is also amphibious, so you can drive into a pond or lake. Slopes of 60 percent or steeper are no obstacle. The load capacity is over two tons. It was used in a recent Search and Rescue and was a huge success.

Road and Bridge Kandis Fritz was granted approval to go out for bids for Magnesium Chloride. Thirty seven roads will get magnesium chloride treatment. It helps by preventing ice from bonding, allowing snow plows to clear the roads more efficiently. It also is used to control dust production. According to the Chemicals Unlimited website, the hygroscopic properties of this chloride salt allow it to absorb moisture from the air to keep road surfaces damp and form a protective barrier to trap dust particles from escaping into dust clouds. It is said to be slightly more environmentally friendly compared to Calcium Chloride and other dust control products, as it is fast to dissolve with very little residue left over.

Building and Grounds Mike Newbrough gave the Commissioners an estimate of $12,745.00 for asbestos abatement for the building at 222 W. Pine Street. The house will be torn down once this is done. The Commissioners gave him permission to let the contractor begin.

Fire Warden John Rutherford told the Commissioners the Fire District is off and running, officers have been elected. The district is requesting a physical address for their office. They reached out to Bartlett to see if it was possible. The space they want to take over is where WIC is located. WIC wants to move anyway. There will also be left over furniture when the County offices move back to the Courthouse. The Commissioners approved the Fire District to move into said office and to work with them to acquire office furniture and equipment left behind by the County. They also approved Carbon County IT to give the Fire District a used laptop for the secretary's use.

Carbon County Treasurer Lindsey West presented the commissioners with Resolution 2023-01 Carbon County Investment Policy which was approved with the Chairperson's signature.

The Commissioners approved also RNB State Bank and Bank of Commerce as the designated depository.

The next meeting of the Board of Carbon County Commissioners will be on January 17, 2023 at 9 a.m. at the Carbon Building, Courthouse Annex, Rawlins, WY.

 

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