Lincoln County Commissioners discuss landslide, clean-up programs at meeting

© 2018-Kemmerer Gazette

Lincoln County Commissioners Jerry Harmon, Kent Connelly and Robert King congratulate Destry Dearden on 15 years of service with the county at the May 1 meeting. Dearden is the director of Lincoln County’s department of geographical information systems and information technology. (GAZETTE PHOTO / Theresa Davis) 

On Tuesday, May 1, Lincoln County commissioners Kent Connelly, Jerry Harmon and Commision Chair Robert King held their regular commissioners meeting in the boardroom at the Lincoln County Courthouse in Kemmerer.

King and Harmon discussed the progress of a new sale barn at the Lincoln County Fairgrounds in Afton. The project is being completed in phases, with the project still in the cost and construction estimate phase.

"We're working with Shar Perry of 4-H to seek grants for completion of the project," King said.

The commissioners also discussed the Porcupine landslide in north Lincoln County.

The slide on the Bridger-Teton National Forest has already prompted a closure of Greys River Road. It could affect public lands access in the summer and could may cause flooding in areas of the town of Alpine.

BTNF representatives are working with elected officials and the public to address the issue, and the commissioners reminded the public that they will continue to stay involved in the situation.

The county heard comments from Kemmerer and Diamondville public works directors regarding the town clean-up programs, which will happen this year on June 5 through June 9.

"We're getting it back to what it was originally, which was a time to clean up yards," said Chad Nielson, Kemmerer Public Works director. "It's a great program, and we still want to provide that service to our residents." 

Nielson and Diamondville Public Works director Dave Waldner worked with Lincoln County solid waste director Mary Crosby to waive the landfill fee during the clean-up for Kemmerer and Diamondville residents. The city will still pick up yard waste from residents during those days, but all other  materials must be taken by residents to the landfill.

The fee will be waived for residents to make up to three trips to dump materials.

The meeting included a public hearing regarding a Community Service Block Grant (CSBG) program.

"This grant provides funds and services to low income individuals," Crosby said. "It's about increasing self-sufficiency, and it could mean working with lots of different agencies in Lincoln County."

Crosby said that instead of giving the money to a  non-profit, the funds will go to the county, which is reponsible for setting up a three-part board to oversee the grant program.

"The board will consist of elected officials, low income individuals and community representatives," Crosby said. "The county will need to set up this board as soon as possible."

Crosby said the grant money will provide a path working toward a seamless method to "help people get out and stay out of poverty."

"This first year I would recommend that we focus on services," Crosby said. "Those would include providing lodging, gas and food, as well as pointing people toward organizations here that can help them, like the child development programs and the senior center."

"In the future we should focus on linkages between these programs and services," Crosby continued. "That would be things like transportation and securing long-term employment."

Kipp Dana of High Country Behavioral Health was there for the public hearing.

"The resources that we offer to low-income individuals often don't stretch throughout the year, so I agree that the county should pursue this effort to help provide skills and jobs," Dana said.

Jeff Meena of the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality's Abandoned Mine Land Project addressed the commissioners about ongoing, completed and future abandoned mine reclamation work in Lincoln County.

Meena recapped the mine reclamaton work AML did on Highway 189 and County Road 108 north of Kemmerer last summer, and added that the rest of the work on those projects will finish this summer.

Residents interested in attending County Commission meetings may access the upcoming meeting dates and agendas on lcwy.org. The commission meetings rotate between Kemmerer and Afton.