By Robert Galbreath, Pinedale Roundup
PINEDALE – The Pinedale Airport reopened at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 30, Abram Pearce, Town of Pinedale director of public works, confirmed to the Roundup. The airport runway project, including asphalt pavement and striping, reached substantial completion on Thursday morning.
The airport was initially slated to reopen on Sept. 4, with the date pushed back due to asphalt paving delays, Pearce explained. The primary issue was quality control – hitting the specs of the contract and ensuring the town got the quality of product it was aiming for, Pearce added.
At the Sept. 27 town council meeting, Pearce stated the only work left on the runway was to groove the pavement. Grooving work had to be done 30 days after the paving was completed and the work would take place at night to ensure the airport remained open, Pearce said.
Pearce raised the concern that the night work would take place at the end of October and early November in freezing temperatures. Pearce met with the contractors and T-O Engineers, the firm overseeing the project, to consider pushing the grooving project out to next spring.
Wes Werbelow, an engineer at T-O, told the council waiting for spring to avoid fighting with freezing temperatures had no downsides for the town and would result in higher quality in the finished product.
The Town of Pinedale passed its financial audit with flying colors, reported Tim Fixter of Fagnant, Lewis and Brinda, P.C. Fagnant, Lewis and Brinda, an accounting firm based in Lander, carried out the audit on the towns financial reports and statements this year.
Fixter gave the town an “unmodified audit” opinion, meaning the firm found no material weaknesses in the town’s finances and all statements met regulatory requirements. This is the best opinion an auditor can grant a governing entity, Fixter explained.
Recreational resort development district ordinance passes second reading
Ordinance 692, to establish a recreational resort development district in Pinedale, passed unanimously on second reading.
Chauncey Goodrich proposed the concept to the council in June to foster growth in the tourism and recreation industry.
The proposed ordinance incorporated hotels, motels, recreational vehicle and motor coach resorts with owned or rented lots along with “other similar uses oriented toward tourism and the resort business.”
Ed Wood, town attorney, told councilmembers that he met with Goodrich and town staff to amend the ordinance based on discussion held during the first reading. The modifications included defining primary and secondary facilities, language related to using town services, lot sizes and specifications, the permitting process and limits to the length of stay at certain RV and motor coach facilities.
Pearce stated he and town staff were “much more comfortable” with the amended ordinance.
Councilmembers did not debate the overall ordinance and kept the discussion to suggestions on places to clean up language in specific sections, including length of stay and how the recreational resort development district would affect the new short-term rental ordinance.
Councilmembers passed a rate resolution on first and final reading containing several changes to the town’s fee, permit and license structure. The modifications included adding a fuel flow fee of 6 cents per gallon at the airport.
The rate resolution also included a simplified fee structure for tournaments and other events at the new Dudley Key Sports Complex and fees for the short-term rental permit.
The council approved a request from Union Wireless to extend a permit to operate a cell on wheels tower, or COW, for an additional year until Union completed a permanent tower.
Mayor Matt Murdock emphasized to Union the need to follow the towns ordinance on wireless towers.
Councilmembers approved a contract with Rita Wright for laboratory consultation on the towns water system. Pearce told board members Wrights job included offering staff training and preparing the town for an audit by the Environmental Protection Agency.