Mayor Smith: State of the Town address
Pinedale Mayor Steve Smith
Pinedale Mayor Steve Smith gave his "State of the Town" speech at the Sublette County Chamber of Commerce community luncheon at Rendezvous Pointe on Thursday.
Sublette County Chamber of Commerce Community Luncheon
by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online!
March 29, 2007
Pinedale Mayor Steve Smith gave a “State of the Town” address to members of the Sublette County Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, March 29, during a community conversation luncheon at Rendezvous Pointe in Pinedale.
For a complete audio file of the speech, click on this link: State of the Town (1.45 MB mp3)
Smith said the past nine months in of office has been as exciting and demanding as he had expected. He said the state of the Town is healthy. Our sense of community is strong and our quality of life is envied. “Together we can celebrate the spirit of the town we call home,” he said.
Highlights of Mayor Smith’s speech:
* Town Finances: The Town has a positive financial position and the future continues to look bright. The Town budget for 2006-2007 is approximately $12 million. The anticipated 2007-2008 budget is $15 million. The increase is due to the increased sales and use tax from booming industry and increased population in the town.
* Town Concerns: Maintaining existing and providing new infrastructure. The Town has secured funding for two new major sewer line projects. Grants from State Land Investment Board, with matching funds from the county, will cover almost all of the cost of these two projects. Construction is expected to begin as early as this fall or next summer. A $1 million business-ready community grant from the Wyoming Business Council will shore up the remaining funding. The Town will put in new sewer lines and rehabilitate existing sewer lines along main street and through the southwest part of town.
* Cooperation with other Government: He said he was pleased with increased cooperation with the Town, State, other county towns, and the Sublette Community Partnership.
* Town Engineer: Hired an engineer to oversee construction projects, work with Planning & Zoning, and act as liaison with other construction firms to oversee projects on behalf of the Town. He will arrive in April.
* Pinedale Town Shop Project: In the fall of 2006 the Town retained outside legal council to represent the Town in litigation against the bonding company which is responsible for completion of the shop project. Two weeks ago they filed a formal complaint in District Court in an effort to sue the bonding company to hopefully resolve the issue in the next few weeks. He expressed his confidence the issue would be resolved shortly.
* Elections: The 9th District Court ruled Councilman Dave Smith’s election to the Town Council was void. He said he appreciated Councilman’s Smith’s service and dedication to the Town. David Hohl was sworn in last Wednesday to serve as his replacement.
* Public Works: Public Works Director Ron Brown left in December after 18 years of service to the Town. His knowledge and dedication will be missed. He is taking a new job with the oil and gas industry. The public works department does an outstanding job, often thanklessly. They are bringing on two new employees to help meet the challenges of their department.
* Oil & Gas: Oil and Gas continues to boom in Sublette County and Pinedale is feeling the effects. The Town is working on public comment on the 800-page BLM Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement. Impacts on infrastructure, traffic, public safety, public health, housing and overall economic development are issues. They are pursuing alternate routes for heavy traffic, safer pedestrian crossings along main street and back roads, and working with the Sublette County Sheriff’s Office to increase community policing and awareness.
* Public Concerns: Being responsive to citizenry addressing residents concerns and complaints, ideas and suggestions is a high priority. He said he was encouraged by the involvement of local residents and support in the governmental process. He thanked the Town employees and their dedication and service.
After the speech, Mayor Smith answered questions from the audience.
New Town Engineer: One person asked about the new Town Engineer and if his loyalties would be exclusively with the interests of the Town? He will sign a no compete clause for the county so he is dedicated solely for the Town. He may work cooperatively with other towns and the county.
Town Water Quality: Another person asked if the water lines in town were good? Smith said the Town has just finished iron and copper testing, and all came back clean. Public Works stays on top of contact time on a weekly basis. The Town may need bigger water lines in the future with all the new developments coming in. She mentioned a “funny taste” lately, which was explained as being possibly from the lake water “turning over”. Mayor Smith assured the audience that water quality testing shows the water is fine. If anyone has a question about their water, Public Works will come by and test the water in resident’s homes if they are concerned.
Upcoming Road Construction: Someone else asked about upcoming road improvement work in town. Smith said there would likely be sewer line work along Country Club Lane across Jade Street. Also possible paving of Maybell and Franklin Streets, depending on how the budget holds up.