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Commission seeks another $500,000 for fairgrounds

On the heels of receiving $500,000 from the state of Wyoming for a new building at the Park County Fairgrounds, commissioners are asking the state for another $500,000.

The commission voted last week to request the grant from the Wyoming Business Council.

If approved by the Business Council later this year, the money would not go toward the planned $2.6 million multi-use facility itself, but instead pay for other parts of the project.

Commissioners specifically mentioned the costs of demolishing the exhibit halls the new building will replace, re-paving the parking lot and upgrading the electrical service.

“The scope of the project, things we’ve talked about, is bigger than the building,” said Commissioner Tim French.

The commission will hold a public hearing on its grant application at 9 a.m. Thursday.

Park County already has a plan in place for raising the $2.6 million needed for the new facility. Some $2.1 million is in-hand — including a $500,000 grant from the State Loan and Investment Board awarded Jan. 16 — and the Park County Fair Board is leading a push to raise the final $500,000 from the community.

Even though the fundraising efforts have yet to start in earnest, Fair Director Jennifer Lohrenz said Feb. 4 that potential donors had already started calling into the fair office.

“We’re just going to capitalize on that and keep going,” Lohrenz told commissioners.

An official kickoff to the fundraising is set for Feb. 24, but donations can be sent anytime to Park County Fair, Attn: Donations, P.O. Box 702, Powell, WY 82435.

Commissioners voted at their Feb. 4 meeting to provide $15,000 from county coffers to jumpstart the campaign with ads and printed materials like posters. Some radio spots have been donated by local broadcasters, Lohrenz said.

Some landfill contracts move forward

Park County continues to wait to hear whether the city of Powell will start taking its trash to the Cody landfill, but in the meantime, commissioners are moving forward on new contracts with its other customers.

“It wouldn’t be fair (to the other customers) for us to wait until after Powell, whenever they make a decision,” Commissioner Bucky Hall said, noting in part that budgets will soon be prepared.

Commissioners agreed to offer contracts to the city of Cody, town of Meeteetse, Keele Sanitation and Two Tough Guys Services with a rate of $78 a ton of trash — if they commit to eight-year contracts.

The county’s contracts include the option of a four-year commitment at $84 a ton or one year at the current rate of $90 a ton.

The county is offering the lower rates by starting to charge for items like grass and manure that have been accepted for free.

The new contracts will also include a clause saying that if Powell or another similarly-sized trash producer signs up with the county, a rate of $72 a ton would be offered over a six-year term. The trigger is if and when another 4,500 tons of trash a year is committed to Park County’s landfill system.

While the county hopes Powell’s trash will trigger the discount, it could theoretically be any entity.

“It could out of the blue be the town of Thermopolis, or it could be somebody up in Carbon County, Montana,” Hall said.

If the municipalities and private haulers just happen to pick up an extra 4,500 tons of trash in a given year, that won’t trigger the clause.

“It has to be somebody that comes in with that amount of tonnage that signs a long-term contract with us,” said landfill office manager Sandie Morris.

“The whole thing’s based on signing for the life of the (landfill) cell to get the lower rates, so I think we have to have the timeline there,” added landfill manager Tim Waddell.

Powell leaders initially indicated they’d make a decision by early February, but have since decided to wait until March so they can see whether the Legislature changes landfill rules. The city is choosing between landfills in Cody and Casper.

Clark landfill closure cost

Reclaiming old trash pits at the Clark landfill will cost Park County around $971,000. It’s some $400,000 less than the county had feared.

Commissioners accepted a bid of $850,431.56 from Nicholson Dirt Contracting of Cody to install a protective cover made of soil and plastic over the top of the Clark landfill’s now-closed household waste and animal carcass cells.

Nicholson’s bid was nearly $22,900 (2.8 percent) higher than one from Excel Industries, Inc., of Miles City, Mont. However, a state law that gives preference to Wyoming contractors required the county to choose Nicholson since the firm was within 5 percent of Excel Industries’ bid.

Seven firms from Wyoming and Montana bid on the project, ranging from the low bids up to a $1.32 million offer from a Greybull company.

Holm, Blough and Co. had estimated the work would cost around $1.26 million. Engineering on the project is expected to cost roughly $120,500 more.

Landfill staff hope to see the work start in March and finish by early summer.

Despite the reclamation of the old cells, waste continues to be accepted at the Clark site.

Bridge replacement within budget

The replacement of a “horrible” Wapiti area bridge is moving forward.

Commissioners recently accepted a low bid of $877,254.25 from Reiman Corp. of Cheyenne to build a new bridge on Road 6BU. That’s a couple hundred thousand dollars more than county consultants with Engineering Associates had expected, but the overall project remains below the projected budget of $1-$1.3 million.

“We should come in just a nip under $1 million,” said Park County Engineer Greg Meinecke.

The bridge spans the North Fork of the Shoshone River, just off U.S. 14-16-20 West and inside the Shoshone National Forest. It accesses around a dozen parcels of private land.

Sletten Construction of Cody was the only other bidder on the project, quoting a price of $959,945.75.

Meinecke said the bridge is somewhat unique with the length of its span and other factors and that may have made smaller firms wary of submitting bids.

“We’re basically building the 130-foot span bridge from one side” of the river, Meinecke said.

Construction plans call for the existing bridge — which Meinecke said needs replacement because of its “horrible, horrible” condition — to remain in place while the new one is being built. Work is expected to begin around March and wrap up in September.

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3 comments

  • posted by Local

    February 23, 2014 1:50 pm

    Ask Commissioner French "how do you like those taxes now" Just amazing how how he can embrace using tax money when he preaches about the evil of a 1% sales tax. Can we pronounce DOUBLE STANDARDS.

  • posted by Disgusted taxpayer

    February 19, 2014 8:32 am

    RINO's begging for more money? Not again... what's not in your wallet? Why should the state furnish money when the locals in Park County need to be the ones financing this,after all you all love to tax people to death.

  • posted by clipstein

    February 18, 2014 10:44 am

    dream, dream and give it to the taxpayers. grants are not free money. one of these days hopefully the taxpayers will wake up

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