Park County’s two incoming commissioners — Lloyd Thiel and Dossie Overfield — stopped by last week’s Powell City Council meeting to introduce themselves and offer their assistance.
Thiel, of Clark, and Overfield, of Cody, were elected by voters in November and will take office in early January.
“The main thing I wanted to bring to the Powell City Council was [to] try to open up a new line of communication between us — not just Powell, but all the municipalities, and the county,” Thiel told the council. “I don’t know all the details of what’s happened in the past, but I would like to think that anybody here would be more than welcome to come to me or Dossie [Overfield] or any of the commissioners … with any concerns that you might have.”
The relationship between the City of Powell and the county has been strained at times in recent years, in part because of a dispute over garbage.
In the face of new regulations from the state, commissioners closed the Powell landfill to large quantities of household trash and made the county landfill in Cody the primary disposal site (the Powell facility does remain open to small quantities of household trash and other kinds of waste).
Commissioners initially considered giving the City of Powell a special discount to help offset the added cost of hauling the city’s trash to Cody, but they ultimately declined to do so. Powell officials, meanwhile, found it was cheaper to haul the city’s waste elsewhere and they’ve been trucking the trash to Billings, Montana, since 2014.
County officials have expressed hope that Powell might change course and bring its trash to Cody — though it’s unclear whether the county can lower its current $78 per ton rate enough to compete with Billings’ $27.30 per ton price.
Thiel told the council that, in January, commissioners will be discussing the county’s landfill fees and working on a new rate model.
“We want to throw out to you guys … that we would like to discuss, if you guys are willing, any possibilities of that,” Thiel said. “But besides the landfill, literally anything you guys need help with, if there’s anything we can do, [contact us], because that’s what we’re here for.”
Overfield added that, “I look forward to working with you all.”
None of the council members spoke about the landfill, but Councilman Scott Mangold asked whether commissioners could host a meeting in Powell from time to time.
Mangold said it’s an idea that’s brought up every couple of years, “but it never seems to happen.”
“I know there are some in the [Powell] community that would like to see what goes on at a county commissioners’ meeting,” Mangold said, adding, “If that’s something you could put in, I’d appreciate that.”
Commissioners have previously said that state law limits their ability to take official action outside of the county seat, in Cody.
Later in the council meeting, Treasurer Barb Poley noted that she and Clerk Colleen Renner started operating a small, satellite office at the Park County Annex in Powell for two days a month (the third Monday and Tuesday). Area residents can renew their license plates, obtain marriage licenses or do any other business with the treasurer’s and clerk’s offices at the Powell office.
“We try and get out to the communities,” Poley told the council. “So if there’s anything else that we can help you guys with in this area, I’m always open for suggestions.”
Mayor John Wetzel said he’s heard “a lot of positive feedback” about the Powell office; Councilman Floyd Young said he’d already used it twice.