BY BARBARA ANNE GREENE
Nurse Manager Bobbie Jenks informed the Big Horn County Commissioners on June 21 that Public Health’s grant application to the State of Wyoming to pay for an additional nurse had been approved.
The county and state will each pay a portion of the salary for the new position. The additional nurse will allow the Lovell office to be open five days a week. She has had three applicants and will be running an ad in the paper to get more.
Public Health saw an increase in visits from April to May. The office also experienced an increase in revenue, said Jenks. “We’ve increased our immunizations by 20 percent. We know what to focus on adult ones.” Those would include diphtheria, hepatitis, tetanus, pneumonia, etc
Kristie Stevens has been hired at the Greybull office as an administrative assistant.
Jenks shared all the training the staff has gone through and is certified for. She will be doing Tia Chi training which will be used to help seniors. Public Health will work with the two senior centers in the county once she is trained.
She is also reaching out to her contacts to find a new county health doctor since the current one is moving away. “If we still don’t get any interest, I was going to see if we could split and borrow from Washakie and Park County.” The Washakie County doctor would cover south Big Horn County and the Park County one would cover the north end of the county. She is researching to find out if this is possible since the counties already share so many services.
Jenks will be attending a meeting regarding a county health risk assessment. There will be a community stakeholders meeting in July. Two of the risks identified in the assessment were diabetes and pregnancy education for those under the 12th grade. She said she was surprised that mental health didn’t make the top three.
A Paint Wyoming Pink event was discussed.
Jenks hopes to have public health notes in the papers regularly.
Nine to 10 flu clinics have been scheduled.
Big Horn County is going to be a pilot program for STEADI -Senior Health Care.
Commission Felix Carrizales asked Jenks if Public Health has funds to help mental health organizations with medicine for clients. Jenks said, “We have no medication funds but we do have a Wyoming donation program.” As a donation site, people may bring in non-narcotic drugs in, too.
County Engineer Willie Bridges discussed a Charter Communications franchise agreement. He said he had modified a portion titled “General street use and construction.” It discusses the method of construction, how they need to do it, what they need to do, that they need to maintain the streets, etc. He emailed a copy to the commissioners and was also be sent to the county attorney for review.
Another topic of discussion was the Eagle Pass permit. The discussion had to do with the sharing of a gravel pit at that location. The contract would be between Big Horn County, Park County and the Bureau of Land Management.
Chairman Jerry Ewen asked about a water point that had been set up where Beaver Creek Road meets the old highway in Shell. Bridges indicated that the country road foreman was aware of the situation and was keeping an eye on it.
Commissioner Felix Carrizales said he would like some discussion regarding pivots and county roads. “It’s kind of getting a little questionable with the right-of-ways on the county roads.” He asked if there was a policy about who is responsible for the right of ways on the county roads. “With the pivots on the right of ways what is our legal limitation? I have found that some are under 13 feet from the center of the access/county roads.” He said that some people have changed their entryways.
Bridges said he can give him the policy but there is nothing specific that addresses the issue of entryways having to be so many feet off the road. “We do have that by state statute, a county road has to have 60 foot of right of way — 30 foot each side of center line. That is the minimum.” He added that when anything new comes along, they try to follow that statute. “It doesn’t mean there isn’t encroachments all over the county because over the years that has happened. People have done things that we were not aware of until they were already done. Then a year down the road we realize we might have an issue with that.” He said since he has been around, his office has tried to keep the right of ways clear.
Carrizales asked if a county policy should be made. He said he had been getting some flak from people regarding the county taking a stand that landowners whose pivots are hitting the county road are being held responsible to stop it from happening. “Well if you are going to make us do this, why aren’t you doing this or this?”
“We’ve always tried to work with landowners” Bridges replied. “In helping them to recognize the importance of keeping the right of way clear for maintenance and safety purposes.” He said the biggest problem is enforcement.
Commissioner John Hyde then stated, “We made a decision several months ago to look at those right of way issues based upon public safety and maintenance concerns. You are right, Felix. The time is now to do a policy to clarify all of it. I’m just thinking of the repercussions of doing a policy. In the progression of county government and encroachment of government, one thing or another. That is what they do. They write policies. Are we ready in this county? It’s a step toward more zoning.”
Carrizales said there are pivot owners calling him turning in other pivot owners regarding the water from the pivots hitting the county roads. Hyde said that if damage is being done to the county roads, he doesn’t see any question there. There are ways to handle that, including shutting their water off. “That is a simple issue. It is costing every resident money to fix the county roads.”
Bridges told the commissioners that the county could start working on more detailed policies, but that the enforcement issue would be even greater with a set policy and that it does bring the county one step closer to zoning and ordinances including building codes and permits. “I think center pivots are a whole different issue that encroachments in right-a-ways.”
Carl Meyer’s report for the airport discussed a WYDOT workshop he attended regarding capital improvements to discuss further funding for aeronautics programs. “With all the state agencies starting to hurt for money, it is going to start affecting some of our projects. We are in a pretty good position because the Cowley and Greybull projects are pretty well going to finish us out on capital improvement projects for the next couple of years.” He added that some of the other airports around the state are going to feel the pinch.
“One thing that was noted at the meeting: They had their representative that was talking about their loan program. We used it for our fuel station and the Russell Hanger. They have a little over $5 million sitting in the loan fund for airport projects. We will continue to visit with them knowing that the money is sitting out there. It is one of the few money pools that has money in it”
The Cowley Main Apron project had a pre-construction meeting on June 16 to discuss the construction schedule and airport safety. The construction started on June 20. All the EMS services were notified how to approach the runway. Meyer thanked Carrizales for his assistance in getting a mower for the Cowley airport. Carrizales brought the mower up from Colorado at no cost to the county.
Another discussion point regarding the apron had to do with the paving of the apron up to 15 feet of the hanger row. The county received funding from FAA and WYDOT grants to pay for 25 feet of the paving. Century Construction will be giving the county a cost estimate for the additional 15 feet of paving.
As of the day of the meeting the letter from the FAA had not arrived regarding the drag racing event on July 16. The FAA has indicated they have no objection regarding the race but the letter itself has not been received by the county.
Hyde asked about a lease at the airport that is in the rears. He indicated that the county has been working with the lessee for the last two years and kept hearing that money was forthcoming. The commissioners had heard that the lessee was receiving money from plane owners to store the planes in the leased area. Hyde said he feels like if the lessee is receiving money from subleases he should be able to pay the county some money. “The airport museum was here and told us they tried to buy some of the planes and were told the planes weren’t his.”
Meyer responded that he thought all the planes belonged to the lessee but that he would follow up on it.
Ewen stated that the FAA should have the info on the planes. If they are subleasing the plane owners should be contacted and told they are in danger of being evicted.
- Treasurer Becky Lindsey had the commissioners sign contracts for SHADCO Royalty.
- A contract from DFS and District Court was approved and signed.
- Twenty-four hour permits for Horseshoe Bend Marina were approved.
- Margaret Byfield-American Stewards of Liberty gave the Commission an update on the Planning 2.0 Coalition activities and planned next steps based on the BLM’s response to multiple requests for coordination
- Sheriff Ken Blackburn discussed vehicle rotation and his concerns about possible changes to the beer garden at fair.
- Keith Grant discusses the Federal Natural Resources Policy Account.
- Land Planning gave updates on subdivision, flood plan development, the forest address sign project, Shell Valley zoniong, Map Server Hosting and information about a WYGEO meeting.
- Cynthia Johnson, South Big Horn County Senior Center, stated that the Komen Foundation had not yet sent a second installment of grant funds. The commissioners drafted a letter asking for the additional funds.
- Fair Manager Sheila Paumer gave a fair update.