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October 23, 2012 7:51 am

EDITORIAL: More communication needed between local leaders

Written by Tessa Schweigert

News travels fast in small towns, often through word of mouth. But it shouldn’t always be that way. Some news — especially that with broad impact — needs to be communicated directly.

Take the garbage situation.

About a month ago, the city of Powell started hauling loads of trash to the Cowley landfill in test runs aimed at finding the cheapest solution for city residents. Based on current fees, Big Horn County stands to gain roughly $450,000 per year in revenue if Powell takes its trash there permanently. On the flip side, Park County stands to lose $450,000. Whichever landfill gets the trash will likely bring lower rates for that county’s residents.

News of Powell beginning to haul trash to Cowley — and of Big Horn County seeking state permission to potentially take Powell’s waste permanently — was announced at a Powell City Council meeting earlier this month.

But the Park County Commission first heard about these developments from a Tribune reporter — not from city leaders. When he heard about it, Commissioner Loren Grosskopf said, “I was surprised it went that fast, that quick, because I thought we were going to talk to Powell before it ever got to that.” City of Cody officials reportedly then heard about it from county officials.

We’re disappointed there hasn’t been more public dialogue among local leaders — a responsibility that lies not just with Powell officials, but with everyone involved.

There was talk years ago about how best to share landfill costs fairly across Park County and possibly reduce rates for Powell as it starts to haul trash, but the discussions didn’t progress. An agreement never transpired and there’s been little public discussion of the issue between Park County, Powell and Cody over the past two years.

City officials from Powell and Cody recently met to discuss landfill issues. We’re glad to see communication starting again after a very long pause in landfill conversations, and we hope this is the start of more regular communication between Powell, Cody, Meeteetse and Park County.

Landfill issues have long infuriated and isolated local leaders at every level. We understand that and why each side is frustrated, but at some point, everyone must push forward.

Regardless of where Powell’s trash ends up, we’re all part of communities within Park County that must work with and rely on each other on many other issues. So going forward, let’s work together to keep those lines of communication open.

2 comments

  • Comment Link October 23, 2012 2:54 pm posted by WEarewatchingYOU

    Amen Tessa, thank you for pointing this out. If everyone was to read David Decker's letter to the editor in this issue they would find his points nail it. I wish all of Powell's resident could have signed his letter. I feel he said what we all want to say.

  • Comment Link October 25, 2012 7:57 am posted by grandsdad1

    Isn't this typical

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