County considering security upgrades on fairgrounds

by tammy thornberry

Big Horn County Maintenance Supervisor Fred Werner discussed security issues at the fairgrounds with the county commissioners at their regular monthly meeting Nov. 17.

Werner reported a new system is being installed that requires people to use programmable cards that look much like credit cards or motel room keys, that contain pertinent information needed to gain entrance into the new fairground building. The card swipers can be used to set the time and date of access anywhere from one to 14 hours or so, Werner explained. He added that if a card is given to another person or is lost, the county could charge $10 to $15 to replace it. But, in the meantime, the original owner can also be held responsible for any damage to the building.

A video camera system is also being considered to provide extra security. Werner said the camera footage could be viewed on a computer or smart phone should it be needed during or after an incident. “I’ve been checking on bids for this for both buildings and they are not cheap.” Werner stated, estimating the cost between $7,000 and $8,000.

Things at the Lovell Annex Building are going well, he reported. He said he had recently been up there to replace some light bulbs. “They just need to get used to calling me instead of the Town of Lovell but it’s been going pretty well up there. It’s probably the cleanest I’ve ever seen it,” Werner added. “We need new light fixtures and the roof needs to be replaced. It’s been a busy summer. There are a lot of projects I want to work on.”

“I want to commend you for making it through the summer,” 
Chairman Jerry Ewen stated.

County commissioners had been working with the Lovell Town Council to negotiate a contract for care and maintenance of the building for quite some time.

In other Nov. 17 business:

  • County Land Planner Joy Hill stated there are over 6,000 addresses in the county BUT barely a handful need to be fixed and only for emergency services. She said a perfect example is what happened with her office. An employee accidently called 911. When the sheriff’s office dispatch answered, the address came up as 420-1/2 C St. Had there been an actual emergency, officers and EMS wouldn’t have known where to go.
  • The commissioners went into executive session to discuss an employee matter.
  • Bill Crampton of the state public health department spoke to the board concerning the nurse management position in Big Horn County. He said state officials in Cheyenne have yet to address the issue, possibly because they feel the grant money currently received is going to be cut. He feels if someone is hired, there are no guarantees the position will exist anymore.

Crampton said 65 percent of the wages for this position is paid by the state and 35 percent is paid by the county. An official on a conference call attending the meeting stated she feels assessments of maternal and child health was the bigger issue.

Ewen thought it would be helpful to know if or when someone was going to be appointed to the position. He also asked if it could be stated in the contract that the person be a county or state employee. He said if it was under HIPPA rules, the county doesn’t have to be responsible and that it’ll be between the county attorney and the state.

Speaking to the commissioners, Crampton said he doesn’t think the county would be liable for the public health department. “I encourage you to talk to the state and I would encourage someone to handle both the north and south ends of the county,” he said.