Commissioners disband Fair Board

BY BARBARA ANNE GREENE

The Big Horn County commissioners, at their Sept. 20 meeting, disbanded the county fair board, effective that same day.

“It was a difficult decision,” Commission Chairman Jerry Ewen said, “but it was made a little easier by the fact that two fair board members recently resigned and we did not receive the hoped-for response to our request for applicants to fill those positions, as it is getting more difficult all the time to find people who have the time and desire to serve on volunteer boards.”

“Our thinking is that since we now have a facilities manager with direct responsibility for the county fair, the multi-purpose building program, the associated personnel and all the grounds and buildings, operations under one manager will be more streamlined and efficient for the various programs and activities associated with the fair and facilities. It will also provide more financial transparency and will help to make budgets easier to track and manage.”

Commissioner John Hyde struck a similar tone. “Over the past while, the relationship between the commission and the fair board has been tenuous at best. After this year’s fair, several fair board members resigned. The commission advertised for replacements and did not receive enough applications to fill the vacant positions.

“These circumstances, along with the hiring of a multi-purpose building manager, who could also manage the fair, caused me to re-evaluate the importance of the board. These decisions are not easy, but I came to the determination that a change was needed and replacing the board with a fair manager would serve the best interest of the public regarding the Big Horn County Fair.”

Commissioner Felix Carrizales volunteered to notify fair board chair Andy Perkins of the commissioner’s decision. In addition to calling Perkins, Carrizales said that letters would be mailed to the rest of the board members as well as to the two applicants who filed for the vacancies on the fair board.

It wasn’t an easy decision, said Carrizales, but that because only two applicants applied the commissioners felt like there just wasn’t as much interest in the fair as there had been in the past.

Carrizales said he and Perkins had a “good discussion.” Perkins said, “That I wish them well and I hope it is not the commissioners first step in getting rid of the fair. It would have been nice if all three commissioners showed their interest in the fair prior to this.” Perkins singled out John Hyde for his lack of participation.

Carrizales that the performance of Sheila Paumer this past fair made him more comfortable with the decision. “She showed us that one person could do the job of fair manager and facilities manager and do it well. This will save the county money having to pay for only one employee.”

DEPARTMENT HEAD REPORTS

  • Airport Manager Carl Meyer’s report discussed the WYDOT Aeronautics inspections done at both airports. The south end runway was inspected for damage from the drag racing earlier this summer and none was found. Other items discussed were fueling stations inspections and the Sept. 17 drag race.
  • Joy Hill, Land Planning Department/GIS Manager, updated the commissioners about three subdivisions, the new mapping system for 911, floodplain developments, repealing the Zoning Resolution for Shell Valley and address verification with the towns and TCT.
  • Fair Manager Sheila Paumer told the commission that 20 loads of sand had been put in the outdoor arena and she was looking for a rock picker to use on a skid steer. Paumer said she had also sent out letters to other fairs throughout the state to get more information on how they market/charge for their indoor arenas. It was decided that the rental fee for the indoor arena would now be $10 an hour per person.

OTHER BUSINESS

  • Sheriff Ken Blackburn discussed Text-to-911
  • Big Horn County Health Manager Bobbie Jenks gave her department report, which included upcoming flu clinics. She will be introducing new staff at the next commission meeting.