Northern Wyoming Daily News - Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

By Marcus Huff
Staff Writer 

Commission considers cost of flooding, removal of chamber building

 

March 22, 2017



WORLAND – Washakie County commissioners heard from a variety of county departments on Tuesday, including a request from Worland Fire Protection District Chief Chris Kocher, requesting reimbursement for flood control efforts during the month of February.

Presenting the commission with an invoice for $10,657.54, representing 607 man hours, Kocher noted that the District paid in kind $5,833.97, from the original total of $16,491.51.

Kocher cited the six-day flood event, when fire personnel pumped flooded areas and dispersed sandbags, as a unique circumstance, outside of the Fire District’s budget. “This kind of thing very seldom comes into play,” said Kocher.

Commissioner Aaron Anderson questioned the invoice and the procedure, expressing concern that costs were being split by taxpayers, and that flood control was well within the scope of the fire district. “It just seems like the money is going from one pocket to another,” remarked Anderson.

Evaluating the invoice, which would be split 50/50 with the City of Worland, Chairman Terry Wolf suggested a working group to better define the role of emergency departments in the case of another natural disaster.

“It think this opens up a good opportunity to discuss this more, and come up with a management plan,” agreed Kocher.

The commission agreed to take the invoice up, and consult with the city regarding payment.

Tom Schmeltzer reported that the sewage line removal and replacement was completed for the county, and the city had a final stretch to finish in the alley behind Pioneer Square, noting that the cost to the county totaled $17,500. Schmeltzer also reported that he was openly seeking bids to demolish the former Chamber of Commerce building, located on 10th Street.

Homeland Security Director Jeff Schweighart briefed the commission on his efforts to obtain a grant to install a radio tower at the county DHS office in case of the need for emergency broadcasting. He also recommended a possible Environmental Protection Agency grant to help with flood relief, from costs incurred during the February flooding.

Schweighart said he expects the Army Corps of Engineers to evaluate the Big Horn River island, which was the cause of the most recent ice jam, for removal. Chairman Terry Wolf most recently visited Washington, D.C., to request the Army Corps take on the project, to save the community the financial burden and alleviate the problem in the future.

 
 

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