by nathan oster
The Greybull Town Council on March 11 took two significant steps last week toward expanding the town’s horizons.
The council approved the specifics of a cover letter to the Office of State Lands and Investments regarding the acquisition of land east of town in what is commonly known as Tin Can Alley.
The town is interested in a small piece of the state-owned parcel, seeing it as a potential site for residential expansion.
Later in the meeting, another letter came up — and again, the council signed off on it. This one was a letter of support for the USDA Forest Service proposed for Greybull.
Sell-Well Investments, Inc., is considering constructing a new facility that would house the USDA Forest Service, and the site it is pursuing is just south of town, east of U.S. Highway 16-20 and adjacent to land owned by Murdoch Oil.
In the letter to Sell-Well, the town expresses interest in annexing the proposed area into town limits. By doing so, it could provide sewer, sanitation, water, fire and police protection to the proposed building site.
“The town’s main concern is routing sewer to the location,” the council writes in the letter. “However, after reviewing and discussing this concern with our public works department and engineers, we are optimistic that the town will be able to provide sewer services before occupancy to Sell-Well’s proposed location.
“We also recognize that providing town services will be contingent upon Sell-Well receiving successful award from the USDA Forest Service and annexation of the proposed site.”
Council members approved the letter of support after Town Attorney Scott McColloch assured them that the letter wasn’t binding them to anything and was just a statement of support for the project.
The town has two options when it comes to annexation. One is by petition from a landowner who is already bordered by land considered part of the town, while the other is without landowner permission — i.e., a “hostile takeover.”
Council members and one notable member of the audience, Ron Fiene of Ron’s Food Farm, expressed support for the idea of attracting the Forest Service headquarters.
“I’d rather see our efforts go toward enticing something like this,” said Councilor Bob McGuire, who has been lukewarm on the need for a town economic development committee. “This is how a government can extend itself to create a new economy … a way we can support the community economically. I feel very comfortable backing these people.”
Progress was reported on talks between the Town of Greybull and the Big Horn Regional Water joint powers board over the proposed route of a transmission line that would tie a new well into the regional water system.
The issue of contention has been the alignment from the joint powers board’s second well to the town’s transmission line, which carries water from Shell into Greybull. But at the Feb. 20 meeting, an alternative more to the town’s liking was presented.
The new alignment would bring water from the well almost straight north to intersect the Greybull line above the Lucas PRV, then continue north to U.S. Highway 14. At the point where it reaches U.S. Highway 14, it would turn west inside the right-of-way fence and follow the highway toward Greybull. According to a town memo, the two connections to the Greybull line would be made at the point where the regional line crosses Greybull’s line north of the Lucas PRV.
Big Horn Regional officials ultimately agreed to the alternate alignment, which pleased Greybull council members Clay Collingwood and Mayor Bob Graham.
The proposed alignement of the transmission line calls for it to turn south at a point 1 1/2 miles east of town and proceed south along Basin Gardens Road.
“I thought it was a real positive step,” said Graham.
Added Collingwood: “It’s not everything that we wanted, but it’s better.”
In other town business Monday night:
• Police Chief Bill Brenner said the town’s new animal control officer, Doug Youngerman, has been “extremely busy.” To date, 40 cats have been removed from the town. “He’s not euthanizing them; he’s taking them to ranches that will accept them” he said.
Youngerman has been focusing on ferille cats, but has also been catching a lot that belong to local residents. In those instances, they are being returned to their owner. But Youngerman asked Brenner to make a public appeal for cat owners to either get collars or their pets “chipped” by a local vet.
“We have a chip scanner, so when (Doug) catches a cat, he can scan it, and if it shows up he can take it right to its owner,” said Brenner.
Bev Jacobs, who works in the town office, said cat owners can also register their pets for just $5.
Brenner said first-year officer Sean Alquist heads to the police academy April 15 and will be there for approximately 14 weeks.
• Mayor Bob Graham said the only news from the Economic Development Committee is that Carl Meyer, who manages the South Big Horn County Airport, has been chosen to chair the committee.
* On the subject of the levee certification, Mayor Bob Graham said the town was waiting on confirmation from the company that will do the recertification work, AMEC, on the date for a site survey.
* The council approved a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Town of Basin regarding the operation and maintenance of its cardboard baling facility. Dalen Davis, the town foreman, said he’s been trained on using the baler and that it produces “night, tight bales.”
Ron Fiene, owner of Ron’s Food Farm, said the town should consider buying its own baler, noting that the price of cardboard has gone up. “This is a good time to get into cardboard,” he said.
“I think this will be a good trial program,” said Collingwood.
* The council authorized Mayor Bob Graham to cast a vote in the election for two seats on the Shell Valley Watershed Improvement District. The names of John Ed Anderson and Mike Whaley were the only two that appear on the ballot.