Outgoing mayor proud of town’s accomplishments on his watch

by nathan oster

When Bob Graham checks out of the mayor’s office at the end of the year, he’ll do so with a sense of pride about what the Town of Greybull was able to accomplish during his watch.

“The focus for much of the past two years has been on the controversy, I guess you could call it, over the police department, and there are people out there who think we haven’t done anything except argue about that.

“No matter how dysfunctional we may have seemed, we have accomplished a heck of a lot.”

One by one, Graham listed some of the major ones:

  • Final 24 blocks of water distribution line replacement and to bid without a rate increase;
  • Update of the Greybull community assessment;
  • Water master plan for Town of Greybull and Big Horn County tank study, to be completed in July;
  • Hiring and completing levee certification engineer and moving for funding of Phase 1 (levee closure upgrades and 30 percent design on north end levee raise);
  • Secured funding for and moving forward on a housing study;
  • Greybull moved to Phase II of land acquisition for state of Wyoming;
  • Secured funding for Herb Asp Community Center renovation;
  • Air conditioning and outside repainting of Herb Asp Community Center;
  • Annexation of Overland property;
  • South-end water and sewer extension project;
  • BP/AR land donation of south-end riverbend at Greybull levee;
  • Surveying of lots and application for a planning grant for Greybull Business Park;
  • Moving forward with zoning of land annexation for business park;
  • New gateway signs at Greybull’s highway entrances;
  • Pressuring WYDEQ and BP/AR on a remedy agreement for business park;
  • Establishment of an ordinance agreement and ordinance boundary for business park;
  • Reduced power bills from REA and Rocky Mountain Power by a couple of hundred dollars by ending contracts on old buildings and facilities that Greybull no longer uses or owns;
  • A proposed resolution through WAM to increase the WYDOT maintenance fund to towns over 1,500 but less than 5,000 in population;
  • Secured emergency funding from SLIB to move lagoon building and electrical panel out of the flood plain;
  • Formed Greybull Economic Development and contracted with Grow Big Horn County for economic development purposes;
  • Pushed to develop the Museum of Flight and Aerial Firefighting;
  • Supported the renewing of the Greybull lodging tax;
  • Moved forward with relocation of U.S. Forest Service to Greybull;
  • Supporting Greybull Public Library on a design and cost estimate grant for expansion;
  • Relocation of Greybull water fill station;
  • Coodinated two different entry points and pipe upsizing for Big Horn Regional Joint Powers Board line to the Greybull/Shell water transmission line;
  • Family Dollar store;
  • Security Bank expansion at Ron’s;
  • Encouraged and funding the caboose project by the Greybull Lions Club;
  • Lighting and repair of the buffalo at the library;
  • Purchase and set up cardboard baler and started recycling program;
  • Built up reserves from $1.2 million in January 2013 to $1.7 million at the end of this month.

When taken as a whole, these projects “speak highly of the council” and what has been accomplished. “It’s a shame that the police department issue is probably what we’ll be most remembered for, because we’ve truly accomplished some great things. I hope that progressive attitude in moving this town forward continues.”

Graham will leave office at the end of this month.

Myles Foley is scheduled to take the oath of office at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 2 at Town Hall, which will mark the beginning of the four-year term he was elected to serve.

Graham has been appointed to serve on the landfill board. He’ll be one of five voices on that body. It’ll mark the first time, he said, that a Greybull man has served on the landfill board — and the timing couldn’t have been better. Some significant changes are on the horizon, including the development of a transfer station at the south-end landfill. What that will mean down the road, he said, is that “we’ll probably need to be more cognizant of what we throw away … grass, leaves, etc. … because they are going to have to sort that stuff out there.”

Graham said he will ask the questions that need to be asked and when rate proposals are on the table, “I’ll make sure they are being done responsibly, not just to raise money and add to the coffers.”

When his current term as mayor is up, Graham will have served eight years on the council, including the past two as mayor, to go along with the 15 years he served previously in the town’s public works department.

After 22 years he said he’s ready to turn the page.

“I haven’t picked up a fishing pole in a couple of years,” he said. “This spring, that should be a priority.”