From the pages of
The Sublette County Journal
Volume 4, Number 30 - 3/23/00
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Commission Lukewarm to Higher Speed Limits
Commissioners also question increased recycling funding
by Rob Shaul

Pinedale's Ken Konicek once again approached the Sublette County Commissioners Tuesday requesting they consider raising the speed limit on the Twin Bridges Road leading south from Pinedale to the Mesa and Granite Lane and Stone Trail, two county roads, which access subdivisions south of town.

Late last year, the County Commissioners reduced the speed limits on all three roads from 35 mph to 20 mph on the recommendation of the Pinedale Anticline Transportation Planning Committee. Ever since, Mr. Konicek and several of his neighbors, who had no idea reducing the speed limit was being considered, have been struggling to have the speed limits increased. However, other neighbors, and people who use the Twin Bridges road for recreation, have urged the county to leave the 20-mph speed limits where they are.

Tuesday, Mr. Konicek again presented the Commission with a petition containing 92 signatures that suggested a compromise speed limit of 30 mph.

At the Commission's first meeting in March, Gordon Johnston made a motion to hold a public hearing on the speed limit issue, but his motion died for a second.

Tuesday, Commission Chairman Bill Cramer told Mr. Konicek he was not in favor of using public comment to determine speed limits. He told Mr. Konicek that by State Statute, speed limits were established after a traffic study and recommendation by the Sheriff and Road & Bridge Supervisor. "There's no benefit for a public meeting to establish speed limits," Mr. Cramer said.

Mr. Konicek persisted, and left the meeting with an assurance from the County Commissioners that they would ask the Sheriff to conduct another traffic study of the three roads later in the meeting.

The Commission did raise the speed limit issue with Sheriff Ruland later in the morning, but stopped short of directing him to conduct another traffic study. "I simply wouldn't be opposed to 25 mph or some other middle of the road compromise," Mr. Ruland told the Commission. He added, however, that most of the complaints the Sheriff's Department had received concerning the roads in question dealt with people driving too fast.

Undersheriff Henry Schmidt told the Commission that since the speed limit was lowered, just a half dozen citations had been issued. Mr. Ruland added that only Mr. Konicek had called or visited him complaining about the speed limit being too low.

Ultimately, the Commissioners asked Mr. Ruland to review the citations that had been issued and recent complaints about the speed limit the Sheriff's Department had received and return to the first meeting in April with a recommendation concerning increasing the speed limit or leaving it where it was.

"Unless you recommend to us something different, I'm inclined to leave it the same," Mr. Cramer told the Sheriff.

Recycling Center Wants More Funding

The Sublette County Recycling Center wants more funding from the County. Earlier this month, the Center's Executive Director, Susan Kramer, approached the Commission with a tentative $70,000 budget for next year - up from approximately $12,000 for this year. The Commission told her to go back and look for savings.

Tuesday, Ms. Kramer returned and proposed a $54,402 budget for 2000-2001 but was met with the same lukewarm response from the Commissioners. The majority - $48,360 - of the proposed budget would go for the salaries of two full time employees.

The Commissioners told Ms. Cramer they were open to increased funding for the Recycling Center, but were very hesitant to increase the funding to around $50,000.

Ms. Kramer told the Commission that the current recycling effort was being driven primarily by volunteers, including her. "You've had a year where I've been giving it to you for free," she said.

Bill Cramer noted that volunteer firemen, EMTs and several other county positions are unpaid. Betty Fear said she would not outright object to salaries for the Recycling Center, but indicated that the amount being proposed was too high.

Finally, the Commission questioned whether the cost for recycling was higher than dumping the recycled materials in the landfill. They instructed Ms. Kramer to get with Road & Bridge Supervisor Mike McGinnis to try and determine how much money in terms of decreased landfill costs, was being saved by the current recycling effort.

See The Archives for past articles.

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Publisher/Editor: Rob Shaul