by nathan oster
Administrator/Finance Director Paul Thur reported Monday that a key component of the town’s plan to finance the construction of a new outdoor swimming pool on the lot adjacent to the Herb Asp Community Center appears to be falling into place.
Thur said the town’s application for Land and Water Conservation Fund dollars had been approved at the state level for $194,950. The grant requires a 50-percent local match, which the town envisions being in the form of in-kind contributions.
The grant application has since been forwarded to the Omaha district of the National Park Service, where it also received a thumbs-up, Thur said. “Now it has to go into the grants.gov site, where the feds in Washington, D.C., will be going through all the applications.
“We cant count our chicks before they hatch,” Thur said. “But (my contact) said (the feds) have never kicked one back by disagreeing with a lower decision. The final blessing comes in October. We should be green-lighted to spend the money after that.”
As of this past spring, the town was projecting the total cost of the project to be $800,136, with nearly half ($389,984) covered by the LWCF grant ($194,950) and matching in-kind contributions (195,034).
While there’s been little activity at the proposed site of the new pool, council members suggested Monday that it should pick up soon with the arrival of Todd Dalin, who was overseeing excavation operations.
The council agreed to spend $42,410 on the purchase of crack router and crack-sealing machine after Councilman Clay Collingwood voiced strong concerns about the deteriorating condition of the town’s streets and the slow pace of repair work.
“Why aren’t we doing more?” he asked Dalen Davis, the town foreman, while citing money in last year’s budget for street and alley repairs that was earmarked, but never spent. The direction coming from the council, Collingwood said, has been to “fix the streets.” Davis said his crew has done some repairs, but not all of them, largely due to not having the equipment and being stretched too thin to get everything else done.
Davis said he’d researched crack-sealing machines and event discussed borrowing equipment from the county to help in the short term.
“I understand why it’s taken some time,” Collingwood said. “But as far as chip sealing goes, we have to get those cracks sealed. If we don’t invest in them now, it’s going to cost us a lot more in the long run. We’ve let it go too far; it’s not acceptable anymore.”
His colleagues on the council agreed, as they voted unanimously to spend the $32,410 on the purchase of a crack-seal machine from NorMont Equipment and another $10,000 on a crack router that cuts out the crack and cleans up the edges.
Councilman Scott Mattis asked Davis if he has the manpower required to get the work done after the new equipment arrives. Davis said it’ll be a two-person job and that it should move pretty quickly. If it’s needed, he said additional employees could assist. The council also briefly discussed the hiring of temp employees.
Thur told the council he had a lengthy discussion with the Wyominig Water Development Commission about whether funding might be available to study the widespread groundwater problems this spring and summer in Greybull.
Thur said the WWDC funded two such studies in Basin, but in both instances, the source of the flooding was the Big Horn Canal, which was leaking. Several basements in Basin flooded as a result. In those two instances, “there was an end game,” Thur said. “The knew it was the canal that was leaking. The only decision to be made was who was going to pay, the Big Horn Canal or Basin?”
Thur said the WWDC views the Greybull situation differently and that the sense he got was, “We can make an application, but since there is no obvious source other than the river, no end game, and no fix, that it would highly, highly unlikely to get any money from that source.”
In other business:
- Thur said council meetings are now airing on both the Internet (accessible at townofgreybull.com) and on TCT.
- The council granted a conditional use permit to Rachel Summers, who wants to set up her clothing alterations business, Alterations & More, at 1200 N. Seventh St. in Greybull; she lives in another building on the lot, at 1208 N. Seventh St. Planning and Zoning had reviewed the request and was recommending approval.
- A recent USDA compliance review found three shortcomings in the town hall building. The town was dinged for not having a grab-handle at the required height on the exterior door and a drop box at the required height. The bathrooms were also cited because they are not handicap-accessible.
The council discussion on Monday centered on the town’s response to those findings. In it, the council pledged to address the first two concerns by no later than Sept. 30. The bathroom improvements will take longer, so they gave themselves until Feb. 28 to complete those changes.