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

By KARLA POMEROY
Editor 

The News Editorial: Accentuating the positive

 

June 9, 2022



Two major news stories broke this week in Washakie County and while there was some negative tone expressed, first at the public hearing for the ambulance service station location on North Road 11, and then later when results and comments of the sales tax survey were released, I am taking the opportunity to combat the negative with the positive.

First, let’s look at the ambulance station proposal on North Road 11. Whether you are in favor or not (the special exemption was approved) there are positives. The first was the Board of Adjustment and Planning Commission. As a volunteer board they took extra time off of their paid jobs to make sure that everyone had a chance to voice an opinion at Monday’s public hearing.

They then took additional time to deliberate about the special exemption before making their decision.

Having covered the BAPC each month, I know several members did some of their own research, including visiting the current location of where the ambulance crew resides in a rented home and the proposed station.

They asked additional questions of the county.

They were not taking this task lightly as they realized that their decision would impact residents in the community they live in.

The other positive that came from Monday’s meeting was the chance for the public to ask questions of the ambulance crew. Washakie County contracted with Cody Regional Health more than a year ago to provide a paid paramedic ambulance service. They did this because they were losing volunteers for the ambulance service following the main COVID-19 pandemic year in 2020.

Shifts were not always able to be covered because of the lack of volunteers.

According to the county commissioners they looked into the cost of operating their own paid ambulance service but estimated costs were high, much higher than the $203,000 annual contract with Cody Regional Health.

Prior to the contract with Cody Regional, there were few, if any paramedics on the volunteer crew. The paid service with Cody Regional is a paramedic crew with the advanced training and certification they are able to provide a higher level of care than that of an emergency medical technician crew.

This is something positive for the community of Worland and surrounding area. The more care that can be provided at the site of an emergency call, the better it is for the patient.

The meeting also gave people a chance to put names with faces, including the Cody Regional Health emergency services director Phillip Franklin, quality supervisor and former volunteer ambulance service director Luke Sypherd and ambulance driver Mike St Clair.

Both the county commissioners and Franklin said they are open to hearing from the public and working with the community to make sure that the new ambulance station is a positive for the community and the neighborhood.

SURVEY SAYS

Now on to the survey. The first positive is the survey itself and bringing the tax to the voters. The county, Town of Ten Sleep and City of Worland could make the tax permanent simply by approving a resolution. They have chosen not to in order to give different entities a chance to be helped by the tax every four years.

The county has developed a process to seek input from county residents on their priority for the tax, to help determine distribution percentages. In some years, it has also prompted entities to withdraw from consideration so as not to hurt the chances of the tax passing (another positive in that entities think of other organizations over themselves).

The eight entities who have applied for funding from the sales tax show another positive. Having the many resources and services that we do have here in Worland and Washakie County, that are able to assist people in many different avenues is a huge positive for all of us.

Whether you personally may use all the resources and services that are available in our communities, it is wonderful that they are available for those who do need them and use them.

For example, while I may not live within the city limits of Worland or Ten Sleep, I see value and appreciate the services they provide here at work, the trash collection, the water and sewer services and I drive on many of their streets every day. I appreciate the paved streets, the sidewalks and the gutters and the parks, same as I do when I visit Ten Sleep.

When covering events or stories associated with the other organizations I can see how those who utilize the services are appreciative that the services are there, the businesses who have been helped by WDA, the students who light up at the activities at the Youth Learning Center, the seniors enjoying being together at the centers, the many people and organizations who use the community center, and the help that the crisis center provides victims of domestic violence.

--Karla Pomeroy

 
 

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