Hunt/Wagoner win commission race

Bob Bonnar

NLJ Associate Publisher

Former Newcastle Mayor Ed Wagoner was the top vote-getter in the Weston County Commission race in Tuesday’s primary election and will advance, along with incumbent commissioner Tracy Hunt, to November’s general election. Wagoner secured 909 votes to lead a hotly contested four-way race in the Republican primary, while Hunt collected 819 tallies to outpace challengers Don Taylor (673) and Cathy Emmert (579).

The fact that no Democrats filed for election to the county commission all but guarantees victory for Wagoner and Hunt in November.

The same isn’t true for the race for three four-year terms on the Newcastle City Council, where all six candidates will advance to the general election for those non-partisan offices after a primary election that saw the top vote-getter only separated from the sixth place finisher by 73 votes.

City shelves landfill agreement

Alexis Barker

NLJ Reporter

With little discussion, the Newcastle City Council quietly decided to do nothing with a landfill usage agreement offered to them by the Weston County Commissioners.

At the council’s meeting on August 15, Mayor Greg James informed the council that he had received a copy of the agreement.

“In short, what they are asking us to do is to bind us to accepting garbage from the county for the next year, in which we would be paid $1,750 per quarter,” announced James, who quickly announced that his recommendation would be for the city to do nothing with the agreement due to the ongoing discussion surrounding the landfill and the uncertainty the City of Newcastle still faces when it comes to solid waste disposal.

Decisions on the Dry

tbDrought1

Ranchers grapple with drought

Todd Bennington

NLJ Reporter

Local cattle producers who have been struggling this year against the effects of drought may find some relief in the recent designation of the county by USDA Agricultural Secretary Tom Vilsack as a primary natural disaster area. The county joins a number of others in Wyoming and in neighboring states where producers’ eligibility for federal assistance programs is drastically increased by being so designated.

“It gets a little confusing because any time that you have a county designated as a secretarial primary … then any county that touches it, no matter what state they’re in, becomes contiguous,” explained Peggy Livingston, executive director of the county’s Farm Service Agency office.

The reasoning is that drought conditions don’t stop at state or county borders, she added.

County seeks comp time consistency

Todd Bennington

NLJ Reporter

Following an executive session discussion on Aug. 2 of a voucher submitted by an employee, the Weston County Commissioners discussed comp time and overtime pay for employees in general, seeming to come to a consensus that a better-defined policy is needed.

“I think our discussion just led us into a larger discussion,” explained Commission Chair Bill Lambert, who indicated officials will have to review county policy on compensatory time and overtime pay and how they are handled and accumulated.

County Attorney William Curley agreed, saying that the county would likely benefit in the long term from a clearly written policy that is uniform across departments.

“If you don’t do something, you’ve got this unfunded liability in the dark,” Curley later said.

Commissioner Randy Rossman said he thinks the policy needs to be clarified but that department heads should keep track of accumulated time. Commissioner Tony Barton, on the other hand, suggested that while department heads would have some discretion, the clerk’s office might track the accumulated time so as to give a broader overview.

“Every redneck in town”

Non-traditional events draw big crowds at the Fair

Alexis Barker

NLJ Reporter

The 2016 Weston County Fair is officially over, and the Weston County Fair Board had a good report on the event for the most part.

The board did have concerns over participation in some of the events, and the lack of concessions during the week-long event, but other than that no negative comments were uttered at last week’s meeting.

“Once everything was up and running, it went very well as far as the Junior Livestock Committee,” declared Fair Board Member David Kline, who is also part of the committee. As far as the board was concerned, every other event went fairly well, with only a few mishaps that had been brought to their attention.

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