News of Riverton, Lander and Fremont County, Wyoming, from the Ranger's award winning journalists.
County to fill fair, waste and animal board positions Tuesday
Dec 18, 2012 - By Eric Blom, Staff Writer
The Fremont County Commission interviewed 13 candidates for open positions on the Solid Waste Disposal District, Fair and Predatory Animal boards.
The commission was expected to make appointment decisions at its Tuesday meeting. Those chosen would start their new terms in January.
These were all the applicants for the open positions, though there may be one more. One person who requested an application has not returned it.
Barbara Gardener, Gary Wiesz, Mike McDonald, Mike Morgan and Nancy Shoop interviewed for three, three-year seats the Solid Waste board.
Revenue streams and working with the Department of Environmental Quality were central issues during interviews for the Solid Waste board.
Hailing from the Lysite area, Gardener said she would bring a rural perspective to that board.
Rules on what trash can go to landfills or the transfer stations frustrate the public, she said, and the public often blames the Solid Waste board.
"I don't think they realize that it's the DEQ that makes the rules they have to follow," she said, adding that more education would help.
As a rancher, she thinks dumping regulations are necessary.
"The land is our livelihood in our business, so we don't want to pollute it," she said.
Wiesz lives in Shoshoni and said he understands perspective of people who have to haul trash to a transfer station.
He would have to know more details about the cost of waste disposal before he could decide if dumping fees at transfer stations are adequate or if the three mill levy property tax is warranted.
He also addressed questions about the DEQ.
"I feel the DEQ does their job," he said. "Until you've walked in DEQ's shoes you can't criticize them."
He said, though, he would challenge the DEQ if he saw it overstepping its regulations.
McDonald said he had been on the board for nine years and wants to serve a fourth term.
The tipping fees paid to dump at a transfer station and the three mill levy are adequate to fund waste disposal, said McDonald.
A hearing last November improved the board's relationship with the DEQ, McDonald said.
"We proved to them they weren't treating us fairly," he said. "The DEQ is our cost-driving factor. I think we saved some money by having that hearing."
Morgan said he wants to stay on the board to see through some ongoing projects.
"I don't see (the DEQ) as an enemy, but sometimes in competition. They sometimes have a more aggressive interpretation of a rule," he said.
Morgan said he would be able to butt heads with the federal agency if necessary, but his first answer would be to try to work together.
Shoop interviewed over the phone and first explained why she was applying.
"I am so sick with everybody being so mad all the time and no one being willing to do the job," she said.
Shoop said she would like to raise the mill levy because it is probably too low to fund the waste disposal. The tipping fees cause people in the country to dump illegally, she said.
She could stand up to the DEQ on the county's behalf, Shoop said.
"I think some of their requirements are a little unreasonable for Wyoming or at least for Fremont County," she added. "At the same time, we don't want America covered up with garbage."
Wendel Vonkrosigk, Bruce Knell, Rhonda Slack, Keith McPherson and Shawn Carper interviewed for one, five-year spot on the Fair Board.
Commissioners were interested to know what applicants thought of the fair's operations and facilities. All those interviewed agreed the fair is run pretty well, but it is not possible to make everyone happy. They also shared ideas for how the county could improve fairgrounds, but most thought the grounds are adequate overall.
Vonkrosigk has volunteered at the fair for many years. He said that the fair could use a larger convention center or community center type building and better drainage.
Bruce Knell's children compete in the fair, and he had a different suggestion.
"I could see us fencing it in and charging a dollar to get in," he said. "It could help our finances without being a burden on the taxpayer."
Slack described herself as a "fair mom." She said past schedules made it hard to show more than one species of livestock, and the horse facilities are not adequate.
McPherson had been in 4H, and now his children are, too. He noted the new steer wash racks and rodeo facilities look good. Other facilities such as those for the lambs could use some improvement, though, he said.
Only Carper said the fair needs a new facility.
"I do think we should be looking at a new facility. Our facility is nice, but it's not big enough." he said. "We've outgrown it."
He also had ideas for improvements to the existing facility, noting the space for campers should be bigger and the steers should be housed closer to the show ring.
Predatory Animal Board
Robert Bauman, Victor Mosbrucker and Bruce Berg interviewed for one sportsman seat on the predatory animal board.
Six members of that board come from the sheep and cattle ranching community and three others represent sportsmen.
The three applicants agreed that Fremont's coyote bounty program is a good idea that could be better. All three agreed coyotes are a big problem, but they had different ideas about other animals.
Bauman suggested focusing the coyote bounty program in April when the animals are easier to trap.
"If we can have a decent bounty in April when the coyote is hunting hard to feed its young, we can do some good," he said.
He also said he wants to work to make the mountain lion listed as a predator animal.
Mosbrucker said he hunts, traps and fishes. He thinks the coyote bounty program should be more fair.
"I've been around when they brought a coyote that was nothing more than a skeleton," he said. "That's not fair."
Mosbrucker also said ravens are a big problem because they rob sage grouse nests. He would also like to increase public knowledge of meetings.
Berg said that predator control efforts have had little affect so far, but predators have a big impact on game and livestock.
"I'd like to see if there's another direction that can be taken," he said.
The bounty on coyotes does not mean a lot more are hunted, he said, though the money helps hunters get out hunting more often.
"It's just not concentrated enough," Berg said.
He also said there are too many raccoons which are a major pheasant predator, and he would like to control ravens as well.