Possible reorganization for commissioner duties


GOSHEN COUNTY – The Goshen County Commissioners convened for their first regular meeting of April on Tuesday, April 6. The majority of the meeting was focused on departmental reports. Later, the commission discussed the reorganization of commissioner duties.

The meeting was called to order by Chairman John Ellis. Vice-Chairman Cody Cox and Commissioner Justin Burkart were also present.

County Planner Gary Childs and County Surveyor Bob Taylor presented the road and bridge report.

Childs and Taylor presented the commission with sketches of several subdivisions for their review.

Taylor updated the commission on a grant of $100,000 for a road striping project, starting April 13. Taylor said about half of the paved roads in the county will be affected by this.

Another grant of $100,000 is being put toward guardrails for several different roads countywide.

Cox noted the road and bridge department has seen a big improvement in the last year.

The road and bridge report was accepted by the commission.

Next, County Assessor Deb Surratt provided her report. Surratt notified the commissioners real estate in Torrington has gone up about 15%, driven by market value and cost of materials. This is up from last year about $90 per square foot, according to Surratt.

She noted how it used to take several months to market in Goshen County, but now it often takes only a few days.

“In my 30 years, I’ve never seen it,” Surratt said.

The commission approved 22 tax reduction orders. 

Brandi Correa, Clerk of District Court briefly presented her office’s earnings report. It too, was approved by the commission.

Fire Warden Bill Law spoke to the commission about his countywide meeting in late March. He thanked Ellis for attending.

Law informed the commission that in addition to raising annual dues, each fire protection district is being asked to donate $500 toward equipment purchases and upgrades.

Burkart, who is also the Yoder fire chief, said funding has been tight and individual departments have been picking up some expenses for equipment.

Law’s report was accepted, with no official action needed.

After being presented by County Clerk Cynthia Kenyon, the commission approved bills from the County Sherriff and the County Clerk. Six employment bonds were signed and approved. The earnings report had previously been signed by the commission. Kenyon also presented the payroll report and warrant report.

The commission reapproved the contract between Wyoming’s public health division and Goshen County Public Health.

After Kenyon’s report was approved around 10:15 a.m., the commission took a short recess.

Following the recess, the commissioners discussed the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP), which provides financial assistance to families struggling to pay rent and utilities because of the pandemic. The commissioners support Goshen HELP managing the new ERAP program.

Before the meeting was adjourned, the commission discussed commissioner duties. It was decided that Ellis would continue as chairman. He will also continue to serve as representative for the Wyoming County Commissioners Association, Joint Powers Board, Fair Board and Urban Systems Committee.

Cox is continuing as vice-chair and will represent the Platte Alliance Water Supply Committee and the Library Board.

Burkart will represent the Economic Development Board and the I.T. Committee.

After these positions were approved for another year, the meeting was adjourned.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article said, "Following the recess, the commissioners discussed the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP), which provides financial assistance to families struggling to pay rent and utilities because of the pandemic. The commission recommended that Goshen County Public Health administer funds as they so choose. This last sentence was incorrect, as it should have read Goshen HELP would be managing the new ERAP program. Our apologies for this mistake. 

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