Commissioners discuss sheriff’s department absorbing Guernsey PD

WHEATLANDThe Platte County Commissioners held their second meeting of the new year Jan. 17. Those present for the meeting were Steve Shockley, commission chairman; Ian Jolovich, commissioner; Kayla Mantle, commissioner; and Malcolm Ervin, county clerk.

The meeting was called to order at 9 a.m. by Chairman Shockley and the board promptly approved the agenda and the minutes from Jan. 3. Vouchers were also approved at that time. 

The Board reviewed the daily receipts of Treasurer Kristi Rietz from Dec. 29, 2022 through Jan. 9, 2023, which totaled $2,009,938.27.

The Board examined, and approved, bonds for: Danette Eppel as county assessor in the amount of $10,000; Ervin in the amount of $10,000; David Russell as county sheriff in the amount of $10,000; and Mona McAuley as clerk of district court in the amount of $10,000.

The Board reviewed change orders to the courthouse renovation project and a Contingency Fund Adjustment (CFA), which would pay for those items. The motion was approved.

Tracy deRyk, Platte County Economic Development (PCED) executive director, informed the board of a solar project proposed near Yoder. The correspondence deRyk had received requested feedback about the proposed project; deRyk will forward further information to the board.

Shockley called a public hearing to order at 9:30 a.m. for the purpose of accepting public comment on a grant application to the Wyoming Community Development Authority (WCDA) for a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) for the 16th Street Reconstruction Project. The Town of Wheatland and Platte County each submitted grant applications for $1,000,000. Merlin Hitt submitted comments of support, but no other public comment was received. 

Doug Dumont, county planner, presented a request from Scott Leach to extend the deadline to submit a final plat for his simple subdivision. Leach’s surveyor went out of business and was unable to complete the survey within the one-year deadline to have the final plat filed. Commissioner Mantle motioned, seconded by Commissioner Jolovich, to approve a one-year extension to the simple subdivision request made by Leach. The motion carried. 

Planner Dumont also presented the final plat for the Butler Simple Subdivision, which was approved by the board.

Jordan Ham, WyoLogic Inc., discussed the process of onboarding the library’s information technology equipment, and their staff, into the county’s IT network. Ham also proposed solutions to assume the library’s domain. Ham and Julie Henion, library director, will work together to determine the most logical, and cost-effective solution.

David Russell, county sheriff, presented a draft agreement between the County and Town of Guernsey. The draft agreement would require the county provide police services within the town limits of Guernsey. In return, the town would pay the county the actual cost of staffing. Russell will present the draft agreement to the Town of Guernsey for their consideration.

“PCSO will continue to provide the same law enforcement services to the community of Guernsey,” Russel said in a comment to the Record-Times after the commissioner’s meeting. “It will be enhanced by PCSO’s ability to cover the camp (Camp Guernsey) and rural areas of Guernsey which are not within City Limits. Coverage will be 24/7. Deputies will continue to enforce municipal ordinance and state statutes. Municipal ordinance violations will continue to go to the Town of Guernsey as they currently do.

“I personally feel by entering into this agreement PCSO will be able to provide professional law enforcement services to the community of Guernsey. There will not be jurisdictional issues when trying to complete cases which both are in city Limits and out in the county. I feel it will allow for a better use of taxpayer funds and manpower for both the Town of Guernsey and PCSO. Anyone with questions can feel free to call PCSO and we will answer them the best we can.”

The Board hosted a discussion regarding the Specific Purpose Excise Tax (SPET). The tax is authorized under Wyoming Statute §39-15-203(a)(iii). Ervin invited each town to be present at the discussion, but only the towns of Wheatland and Guernsey were present. Also present were representatives of Platte County School District No. 1 and the Platte County Parks & Recreation District. 

The board discussed the process of requesting a ballot proposition before the electorate, and asked entities begin compiling potential projects for consideration. A project must be approved by three of the five municipalities within the county, as well as the board, before the project proposition can be placed on the ballot for consideration. Those present conveyed their desire to continue the sales tax collection, which would require the sales tax question to be asked at a special election in November 2023.