Shoshoni Mayor: 2023 wins and losses, goals for 2024

    (Shoshoni, WY) – County 10 sat down with all the mayors across Fremont County to discuss their wins and losses of 2023 and their goals for 2024.

    Below is a transcript of an interview with Shoshoni Mayor Joel Highsmith that has been edited and condensed.

    County 10: What are your wins from 2023?
    Joel Highsmith: We had a pretty busy year. One thing is we got a lot of grants, which are as follows:


    SLIB-ARPA Replacement of well houses and equipment – $1,131,400.00; SLIB-ARPA Replacement of Scada system in well houses – $279,900.00; SLIB-ARPA Repair to Water Tank and access road – $581,220.00; SPHS-OREC Trailhead at Rock Park for the Heritage Trail – $330,517.00; WYDOT-TAP sidewalk east side – $696,320.00; Total Grants 2023 – $3,019,357.00.

    We won our appeal against the county. They classified the Shoshoni Medical Clinic as a commercial property and taxed us about $3,000 a year in property taxes. They said it did not meet the definition, that it’s being used for the public. We have two nonprofits in there: Hot Springs Health and Gottsche Rehabilitation Center. We charge them no rent. It’s open to the public; they take anybody. But they do charge. We feel we’re providing a service for the community. We had no health care. We had to travel to Thermopolis, Riverton, Lander, Casper, or wherever. We don’t have surgeons and stuff here, but your basic needs can be taken care of here at our clinic. We have a combination of doctors sometimes and nurse practitioners and physical therapists there. A lot of the citizens from Lysite, Lost Cabin, and even Missouri Valley come to it. And it’s been a good thing. We appealed it to the state because the county commission voted three to two to support the assessor. The state sided with us.

    C10: What about losses in 2023?
    JH: A disappointment was the high-speed internet. For whatever reason, Range had an application prepared and didn’t submit it. $5.4 million grant they were requesting and did not submit it. I was not told why.

    Fast Lane has been a great thing, but we’ve had too many trucks parking on Third Street. There is a house near where they all park, and some leave their lights on and idle. We want a travel plaza, not a truck stop. Fast Lane has put up signs to deter drivers from parking there. I understand it’s nice to park and get out and go to the bathroom, buy coffee, or whatever. We can’t have that in a residential area.


    C10: What are your goals for 2024?
    JH: These are the projects we’re working on and the percent completed as of Dec. 31, which will continue to be worked on in 2024:

    SLIB-WBC Sewer Westside Expansion for economic development – $1,291,619.00 (87%); WWDC Level 2 water Study – $248,000.00 (48%); Shoshoni Town Complex (total project-) $1,002,274.00 (99%); DEQ – Feasibility Study Brownfield Clean-up Sites – $20,000.00 (80%); Total Projects – $2,561,893.00.

    Pending grants and Priority Projects in the works (* already have a grant in place):


    USRD PER Grant (Preliminary engineering report) for the water for subdivision; WWDC Level 3 Construction Grant; USRD PER Grant for the sewer lagoon; DOJ-COPS Grant Renewal Sewer line evaluation of current sewer lines; Utilities in west side subdivision for economic development; Lighting along California Street; *Finishing the sewer Line project; *Rock Park Trail Head; *Replacement of well houses and equipment; *Replacement of Scada system in well houses; *Repair to Water Tank and access road; Develop 5th Street in our new westside subdivision; Sell City-owned land; Secure funding for school sidewalk lighting.

    Working on housing. That’s the big thing. Work on our lights. We’re starting the census appeal process. We felt we were drastically undercounted in the census, which has cost us approximately $70,000 a year. They told us there is some appeal process we could go through in 2025. So, we’re just starting the process in preparation for 2025.

    It’s a county thing, but we’re working really hard on the shooting complex. That’d be great for Fremont County if we were able to land that. But the mayors together are working on that. We’ll probably know in March if we’ve made the shortlist.


    To view all the mayors published so far, click here.


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