Jul 17, 2015

Park County dollars won’t be sent to Niobrara County

The Park County government has decided not to aid Niobrara County as it recovers from recent heavy flooding.

Commission Chairman Joe Tilden had suggested donating to the Niobrara Recovery Committee, a private group that’s helping flood-impacted individuals and businesses in the eastern county.

Some infrastructure in Lusk was severely damaged last month. Photo courtesy Wyoming Highway Patrol
“If we were sitting here in Park County with the same problems that they have, I would look for someone to help us out,” Tilden said last month, describing Lusk and Manville as having been “almost wiped off the map.”

Fourteen homes were destroyed in neighboring Niobrara and Johnson counties with more than 100 homes and some roads and bridges damaged between late May and early June.

Commissioner Bucky Hall proposed a $500 donation at last week’s July 7 meeting.

However, Commissioners Loren Grosskopf, Lee Livingston and Tim French disagreed.

“I would rather that, instead of us allocating Park County’s money, that Park County individuals that felt strongly would donate themselves,” Grosskopf said.

“There’s a lot of good causes; where do you stop?” asked French.

Commissioners said they hoped the state and federal governments will give money to Niobrara County. Acting on a request from Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead, President Barack Obama last week approved a Presidential Disaster Declaration for Niobrara and Johnson counties, which clears the way for additional federal assistance for homeowners and small business.

“We’ll write them a nice get well card or something,” Tilden said facetiously.

The Wyoming County Commissioners Association, of which Park County is a member, gave $1,000.

First Deputy Park County Clerk Hans Odde suggested last month that county officials make private donations instead of giving tax dollars; clerk’s staff sent some boxes of necessities and VISA gift cards.

Donations to the Niobrara Recovery Committee can be sent to P.O. Box 53, Lusk, WY, 82225.

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