County gets grant for temporary courthouse security; Pavillion coming up short with funding on water project

By Ernie Over, managing editor,

(Riverton, Wyo.) – Fremont County’s application to the State Loan and Investment Board was approved Thursday, not for two years of renting Conex boxes to surround the Riverton Courthouse as requested, but for one year. “We received a grant of $10,600, which is one half of one years rental for the boxes,” County Commissioner Travis Becker reported to the Fremont County Association of Governments Thursday night. “That’s enough for 12 boxes. Frankly, it’ll look ugly, but it will protect the courthouse as much as we can, and this is temporary.”

A conex box. These steel shipping or storage containers will be used to protect the Riverton Courthouse facility.

Becker said the county is still looking at options for a long term solution, “but all of the options have lots of zeros, we’re working on it, we’ll see where it leads.”

The safety and security of the workers inside the Riverton annex facility became a paramount concern after a bullet was fired through the thin walls of the building into the Fremont County Circuit Court’s courtroom this summer. Three of the large steel containers were erected around the outside of the court’s portion of the building, and the grant will allow for the entire structure to be surrounded, and protected.

In a community roundtable at the meeting, Shoshoni Mayor Scott Peters said his town is dealing with many issues, and is exploring funding options to begin dealing with them. “We’re just like everyone else, trying to find funding,” he said. Peters also indicated that he continues to work with the Wyoming Department of Homeland Security to have a flood plain designation for his town withdrawn. “It’s preventing people from getting insurance because someone back in Washington decided all of a sudden that we were in a flood plain,” he said. Shoshoni, of course, is high and dry.

Pavillion Mayor Gary Hamlin said his town is moving forward with a water improvement project to supply residents east of the town with potable water. “We had a surprise that the costs of the project are higher and we’re about $45 to $47,o00 short to complete the project,” he said. The mayor said the last four years of savings the town has been able to accrue are being put into the project, but that’s still not enough to make up the shortfall. He said he may request county consensus funds to help make up the difference.

Hamlin also said there have been no recent sightings of a mountain lion that had been seen in town late in the summer. “I assume it went off on its own,” he said.

Riverton Mayor Ron Warpness said an error by the Census Bureau that failed to count residents of an area annexed into the city will result in the city’s population growing by some 134 residents. “That will bump our income a little bit,” he said, noting that sales tax distributions are based on a community’s population. Warpness said the city is also working to officially add the Airport Board into the city code, which he said was a past oversight. And he said the Riverton council had just acted to create terms for all the city’s boards and committees to help increase citizen participation in those areas.

There were no reports from Dubois or Lander at Thursday’s meeting. Dubois Mayor Twila Blakeman was unable to attend the meeting and Lander’s Community Resource Director, Gary Michaud, had to leave the meeting before that point in the agenda.