NEWS BRIEFS for Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020
January 2, 2020
Coal tax losses in Lincoln County top $1.2 million
AFTON (WNE) — Lincoln County Treasurer Jerry Greenfield released a report at the end of the year summarizing the first losses associated with the shutdown of the coal power plant in Kemmerer.
“Financially, this has caused a loss in coal sales in the amount of 1.2 million tons per year, resulting in a loss of sales tax revenue totaling $1,260,000 to the cities, towns, county and state,” the report said.
In a report released to the Lincoln Commission and sent to the Governor’s office, Treasurer Greenfield warned of additional losses for the county.
“Property taxes are the next issue we are faced with,” he said. “We anticipate losses of around 33 percent with coal, due to Unit No. 3 and this will have an effect on property tax for the years 2020 to 2021.”
Greenfield pointed out, “This amounts to over $3.3 million of which 78 percent of these dollars goes to education.”
Looking to the future the treasurer advised that there will be side effects for the combined coal mine and power plant.
“The concern I have is if, or when production is reduced to the point of nonprofit for the coal mine, it will close down both operations sooner than projected.”
He added, “If the power plant and coal mine are shut down the loss of jobs and tax revenue to the county will cause a financial disaster to the county overall.”
Greenfield concluded, “As devastating as this is, it’s just the beginning of what will come. We need to offset these actions as soon as possible.”
Laramie County Jail gets drug dog
CHEYENNE (WNE) — There are more officers with wagging tails and perky ears these days at the Laramie County Sheriff’s Department.
These five K9s have their noses on the scent out in Laramie County, and now there’s even one inside the Laramie County jail.
The sheriff’s department recently approved a position for a dedicated single-purpose narcotics detection K9 for the jail. This new recruit, Treu, is a 19-month-old German shepherd, who will help cut down on controlled substances that illegally make their way into the jail to help keep it safer.
Treu’s handler, Cpl. Harold Johnson, sold Treu to Laramie County for $1 to be the new jail K9. Usually, getting a law enforcement K9 can cost about $15,000, with the possibility of additional thousands of dollars spent on maintaining training, vet bills, safety equipment and more.
“Once the word’s out that there’s now a narcotics dog in the jail, that’s definitely going to cut down on the amount of stuff (coming in) that’s so dangerous,” said Sgt. Jeffery Lambing, K9 unit supervisor. “We have people potentially that could overdose under our care and custody, and we don’t need that publicity.”
Lambing said Laramie County will have the only jail in the state with a dedicated narcotics dog. He added that it’s important to keep drugs out of the jail because if an inmate comes into the jail with their stash, they could control a jail pod.
Investigators look into possible poaching near Alta
JACKSON (WNE) — Investigators are looking into a possible poaching incident after someone found a deer without its head wrapped in black plastic along Ski Hill Road in Alta.
Jackson Game Warden Kyle Lash responded Dec. 16 and performed a necropsy on the mule deer, but it was too decomposed to take any samples for disease testing, public information specialist Mark Gocke said.
“It had already been there for a few weeks,” Gocke said. “It was very bloated and smelly, and so there wasn’t a whole lot to go on.”
Lash didn’t find any bullet holes during the examination, Gocke said, but the animal’s entire head was missing.
Gocke said there’s a chance the animal could have died naturally on someone’s private property, and they decided to keep the head and dispose of the carcass elsewhere.
“In Idaho I guess it is legal to keep a deer head if it dies on your property,” Gocke said. “In Wyoming it is not; at least you would have to contact the game warden first to investigate it wasn’t a poaching. When we determine it isn’t, we might let a person keep a head if they wanted to.”
But the plastic wrapping is somewhat unusual, Gocke said.
“People dispose of animals all the time, but it’s better to let it decompose on its own,” he said.
The proper way to dispose of an animal that has died on your property is by taking it to the landfill, Gocke said, without the plastic.
“That’s littering,” he said.