The state is in better shape again this year. While natural gas production is down, coal production is flat and oil is up substantially. The price of natural gas is good but during the coal bed methane boom most of the gas was shipped in vacant oil lines. Now that the price of oil is up, there is not pipeline capacity for gas.
We have closed the position for public works director and will start to interview soon. Zach Steele, the acting Public Works Director, has informed me that well 6 is in need of repair. Kathy and I are working with Wyoming Water Development to expedite the level two study because as part of the study, the wells are pulled and the well casing is tested. We are hoping to get Wyoming Water Development to pull the well saving us twenty thousand dollars. We will have to pay for replacing or repairing the pump.
The other thing that I have to report is our solid waste problem. Kathy attended the Wyoming Joint Minerals Committee workshop in Casper last week and was the only representative for small and medium-sized towns. The large towns and cities sent their staff and are trying to write the rules to benefit their needs and not ours. Kathy appears to have won a battle and we will be able to treat animal remains as construction and waste debris and not solid waste. This allows us to save money on their disposal and help our local businesses. We need to win several more battles including reducing the cost of monitoring the landfill. We currently budget $30,000 a year for this monitoring and that will never go away but we don’t want it to go up. We also need relief in the cost of capping the landfill with either bentonite or the organic method (uses fast growing plants to absorb the water) which will cost between two and three million dollars to do and the large cities think we should pass it on to the rate payers which is not affordable for our 700 accounts. The important thing is for other small towns to understand this and help us win this battle. The numbers associated with solid waste are staggering and every time we turn around they go up.
My family and I wish all of you safe and happy holidays.
Paul Brooks, Mayor