Pipes, roads and retirement all part of last commissioner meeting of the year

Pipes, the cutting/boring of roads and the retirement of Commissioner John Hyde were some of the topics discussed Dec. 18 during the final meeting of Big Horn County Commissioners for 2018.

County Engineer Willie Bridges brought three utility permits to the commission for pipes to be put under Lanes 8, 8 1/2 and 9 on the north end of the county. The permits are for the Sidon Irrigation District for a main lateral near Cowley. It provides water to roughly 30 percent of the Sidon irrigation land, according to Bridges. 

The permits will allow the district to cut the roads, rather than boring underneath, as the pipes for the project are too large. They range from 30-42 inches. Lanes 9 and 8 1/2 are paved roads. Lane 8 is a gravel road.

There is currently a pipe under Lane 8. It will remain there and the new pipe will be placed next to it. Bridges noted that the two paved roads are double invert chip sealed with an inch of asphalt, not full deck pavement like more well-traveled county roads. He did say later in the meeting that when the county does go back to patch up the roads where they are being cut for the Sidon project, additional paving will have to be done. 

He continued that the asphalt on Lane 9 is currently torn up because of a cattle guard that was just put in by WYDOT.

Commissioner Deb Craft said she had received a call about a Leavitt Reservoir project. She asked Bridges if that project was going to be a cut or a bore. Bridges said that those involved with that project would be coming to a January commissioner meeting.

Craft said she wants it made clear to the public what the policy is concerning when a road has to
be cut versus bored. She continued that this year there have been many of these types of requests coming in.

“If the size of the pipe is an issue with boring or cutting, it needs to be spelled out somewhere,” she said.

Commission Chair Felix Carrizales said he is concerned about all the projects coming up and the county’s policy. He would like the commissioners to go out and look at the roads themselves to get a better understanding of the issues.

The commission approved the permit for Lane 8. The other two permits were put on hold until the commissioners do site visits on this project and others.

Also discussed with Bridges was the courthouse security project. The three bids came in significantly higher than the grant money the county had obtained. The budget was $423,710. The low bid for the project came in at $688,400 from O’Dell Construction.

Retiring commissioner John Hyde opens one of his going away gifts as wife Carola and former Commissioner Jerry Ewen watch.

Bridges said the scope of the project grew to fit the needs. The plans started with a little bit of remodeling in the district court, moving circuit court to the southeast corner of the building, creating a walkway between the jail and courthouse and fixing a storage area for the election equipment. It grew to having ADA bathrooms on the first and second stories, construction of a sally port (a secure, controlled entryway) for the county attorney, and circuit court changing offices, which would include some remodeling.

Options according to Bridges are to scale back the project, find additional grant money and/or negotiate with the contractor. County Attorney Marcia Bean asked if not switching out her office at this time could still result in a secure court because she was OK not moving at this time to save money.

Sheriff Ken Blackburn said that everything that Bridges talked about is needed. He is concerned about the lack of money and he is also concerned about the exposure of the prisoners to the public as they are transferred between jail and court. There is also concern about the civil rights of the prisoners.

Carrizales asked for the cost of a sally port. Bridges said $200,000.

Blackburn said he would check with Homeland Security and the Supreme Court to see if there is additional money to help with the project. Bridges said there might be SLIB money available but cautioned that the pot of money is shrinking.


Members of the public and courthouse gathered after the regular commissioner meeting to recognize the retirement of Hyde. The cake was made by Kristine Godfrey and featured a racetrack in remembrance of Hyde racing at the drag races at the airport. 

Hyde’s wife Carola and former commissioners Jerry Ewen and Keith Grant attended, as well. The county gave Hyde three golf shirts and a box of golf balls.

The county treasurer’s office staff all wore cat ears and were playing “Memories” from the “Cats” musical. 


• Appointments to the Land Planning, Fair Advisory Committee and Weed and Pest were tabled until January. Carrizales said he was concerned that there was not a lot of interest from the public to serve on these boards. He will be contacting people and asks that people contact him should they be interested in serving.

• The Wyoming Business Council agreement with the county regarding Antelope Butte was not signed. The county attorney had not received requested documentation from Antelope Butte in time for the commissioner meeting.

• Stephanie Muckley gave the Land Planning Department report. 

• Jim Reilly presented the annual audit report. 

• The airport manager, Wes Huber, gave the airport update. 

• Fred Werner gave a facility update. 

• Karen Sylvester gave a program report on the prevention contract with the county. 

• Blackburn and Ron Salyer discussed the Visual Observation Specialist program.


One comment

  1. Boring or cutting to install a pipe should be up to Willie Bridges & the foremen to make that decision then turned over to the Commissioners ! No need for the Commissioners to look at the site when they probably don’t understand what to look for anyway !!

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