UPDATED: An earlier version stated Tony Rodriguez is the new Deputy Town Clerk. Tony is actually the Town Clerk.
Several rumors have circulated the Town of Shoshoni in regards to recent personnel changes, the selling of town property, and more. Shoshoni Mayor Joel Highsmith held a special meeting to answer questions and concerns from residents.
County 10 has shared the responses to the main rumors Mayor Highsmith and the Town Council addressed during both the bi-monthly regular Town Council Meeting and the special Town Meeting last week. This breakdown is not all-inclusive of what was discussed in those five hours.
The majority of questions focused on selling the plot of land Shoshoni Town Hall sits on that includes the fire hall, police station, and library. Reportedly a developer approached Mayor Highsmith about the possibility of purchasing and developing the plot of “ideal commercial real estate” that sits at the intersection of WY 789 and US 20/26.
Mayor Highsmith and Council Member Beau Weaver made it very clear at both meetings that this possibility is in the very “preliminary phases,” and no deal has been made. Mayor Highsmith repeatedly said at both meetings the sale would only happen if it was good for the town, and would provide “economic development.” Being in such an early phase, there is no confirmation on what the developer wants to build there, and no known selling price for the land.
Stemming from the possible selling of the land the fire hall sits on was the rumor that Fremont County Fire Protection District was leaving Shoshoni, and in turn, closing the school since schools cannot operate without fire protection. Fremont County Fire Protection District Chief Craig Haslam spoke at the regular council meeting, where he confirmed they have no plans to stop service in Shoshoni.
Another concern was the town-owned Senior Center was going to close and be sold. Mayor Highsmith shared the center is an important part of the Shoshoni community, and there are no plans to shut it down. He shared that they are in the process of having insurance replace the roof. The insurance will reportedly cover the cost and the only thing the town needs to pay is the insurance deductible. Coverage will also fix the water damage inside from the leaky roof.
Questions and concerns about recent department head personnel changes were also addressed at both meetings. Two changes, in particular, that brought concerns are the new Town Clerk Tony Rodriguez and the new Chief of Police Chris Konija. Generally speaking, the reason(s) someone is no longer in a job is confidential and cannot be shared unless the person chooses to share it. Not being able to disclose that information about the former employees, Mayor Highsmith did address the questions around the hiring process, mainly the advertisement of the job postings. It was not shared where the jobs were posted, but he did explain they were advertised for two weeks. He also emphasized the backgrounds and passion that both Tony and Chris have for the positions they now hold.
As we shared above, this breakdown is not comprehensive of everything that was discussed during those five hours but addressed the main rumors that had a lot of questions from concerned residents.
The next Shoshoni Town Council Meeting is scheduled for February 25th. You can view the town’s website by clicking here to see all their scheduled meetings.