SWEETWATER COUNTY — Despite the Sweetwater County Courthouse being opened back up to the public, the Board of County Commissioner meetings will continue to be conducted via Zoom video conferencing for the time being.
The commissioners have been meeting via Zoom since April due to COVID-19 Coronavirus social distancing requirements.
The Wyoming statute for public commissioner meetings requires them to meet at the county seat, which is the Commissioner Chambers at the Sweetwater County Courthouse.
The commissioners were presented three options for how to move forward with meetings. The first option was to go back to the Commissioner Chambers in the courthouse. However, to adhere to social distancing requirements there would be no room for the deputy county attorney, county clerk, and the administrative assistant, and the commissioners would be spread out across the chambers.
This would require them to have a sound system that can play the meeting into other rooms so these county employees can monitor the meetings as normal.
The second option would be to continue the Zoom meetings until renovations can be made on the Commissioner Chambers. Renovations include tearing out the seating, replacing the carpet, and installing an AV system. The seating would be taken out to allow the commissioners to spread out more easily for social distancing measures. However, Gene Legerski, Sweetwater County Public Works Director, said once the seats are removed there will be holes in the carpet, so that will need replaced as well.
Tim Knight, Sweetwater County IT Director, said he would like to get an AV specialist in there to install the sound system to ensure they get the best set up.
The third option would be to use the Sheriff’s Office’s meeting room at the Justice Center. Though the room is set up for sound and is wide open to allow for social distancing and possibly a few residents, it is not at the county seat. However, it could be used as a temporary option with the intention of moving back to the Commissioner Chambers as soon as possible.
The Commissioners all agreed option two was the best choice, as it is currently working well and for the most part complies with the statute. They will only continue meetings through video conferencing until renovations on the Commissioner Chambers is completed.
Commissioner Lauren Schoenfeld said she favored the second option as it also allows more of the county’s residents to view and participate in the meetings, as it is all online.
Chairman Randy ‘Doc’ Wendling said he would like to have the total cost of renovations presented to the commission before they agree to move forward with the modifications to the chamber.
Legerski and Gary McLean, Sweetwater County HR Director, will have the cost figured out by the next meeting for approval.