Sundance Times - Continuing the Crook County News Since 1884

Moorcroft plans to go it alone


February 11, 2021

Mayor Dick Claar of Moorcroft has expressed his disappointment in the decision to appoint a committee because it’s a repeat of the failed previous attempt to find a countywide solution to the trash problem. In response, the Moorcroft council has decided to explore the possibility of going it alone and will be investigating potential funding avenues over the next couple of months.

“I don’t know what they’re looking for because they had a joint powers board and they met for two years without any decision made and now they’re back to [a committee],” Claar says. “I’m upset over this, we’re just kicking the can down the road again.”

The mayor is frustrated with the manner in which the commissioners have handled this issue, saying, “I don’t understand why they don’t want to start a waste district that can come back with a recommendation to put it on the ballot and let the voters decide.”

He views their behavior as less than appropriate: “A couple of county commissioners are not representing the voters of Crook County. They’re representing their friends; two county commissioners who are afraid this thing will pass by a vote of the people and they’re afraid to put it on the ballot. Now, we have to force this a little bit because DEQ has given just two years to get a plan to them that they can permit.”

Claar says he plans to speak to Commissioner Fred Devish to get the facts, including a timeline. “I’m waiting to see how fast this transpires,” he says, mentioning that the town has a very tight schedule set by the DEQ and repeating his view that, “I think we have a couple of commissioners who have sold us out by not letting the people decide what’s best for Crook County.”

Claar states that he has no problem accepting a commission-appointed committee.

“I have a problem with a lack of a timeline. They need to set a timeline and say okay, in 90 days or four months, we need to what our options are, [but] I think we already know what our options are,” he says.

Going it alone is the most untenable of the options for Moorcroft, requiring the town to find the funds needed to install a lined pit on the acreage. The DEQ has assured Claar that the agency will permit another pit if it is lined; however, at this time such funding is nowhere on Moorcroft’s horizon.

“If we can’t get the commissioners to move forward, I think we need to explore if we can secure the financing,” advocates Claar.

HDR Engineering’s Heath Turbiville spoke to this at Monday night’s meeting of the Moorcroft Town Council, suggesting that both SRF and Rural Development would be interested in possible loans. However, to help pay for this option, the town will have to increase outside tipping fees.

Regarding the commissioners’ stand, “We’re trying to be good neighbors to all the people in the county,” Councilman Dale Petersen said, “And we have a couple folks standing in the way of what has to be done.”

Councilman Ben Glenn concurred, “The county will do nothing with this until new commissioners are elected. It’s going to rely on us to take care of the people who voted us in.”

The mayor concluded, “They’re not giving the Crook County residents an opportunity to even weigh in on it and that’s wrong, I think.” He agreed with Glenn that the council has to take care of the residents of the town and not let the landfill close.

Thus, with the advice of the DEQ, Moorcroft is waiting for a cost breakdown from HDR to build a large C&D (Construction and Demolition) pit, which does not have to be lined, in order to bring in more revenue. In accord with his fellow councilmen, the mayor is preparing to seek financing to move forward without a district if the committee does not offer significant recommendations within the next couple of months.


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