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District 2 incumbent names trash disposal as a key issue

Sep 7, 2012 - By Martin Reed, Staff Writer

Fremont County Commission District 2 incumbent Dennis Christensen said cooperation and communication with the solid waste board is key to resolving challenges the public is encountering with trash disposal.

"I think we need to support that board and continue to look for solutions," he said. "I think that drastic shutdown in hours caught everybody off guard. I would like to see minimum pickup once a week (at transfer sites)."

Possible solutions to the public's complaints with the Fremont County Solid Waste Disposal District's trash transfer stations could come from the use of volunteers to staff the sites, Christensen said.

"I don't perceive training as an obstacle," he said. "I think we can train volunteers to do that."

Christensen, 65, is seeking the Republican Party's nomination for the seat in District 2, which spans north Fremont County, over challenger Larry Allen in the special mail-ballot election that ends Sept. 11.

The winner will advance to the Nov. 6 general election without any opposition. An error involving 30 voters who should not have cast ballots in the contest resulted in the special election. Christensen led Allen by 20 votes in the primary election.

Christensen, a farmer and former Central Wyoming College board member, had other ideas about resolving the solid waste concerns in the county.

"In particular with some of the remote sites, I think we can look at transportation of the solid waste to the landfills and make sure that we run our trucks more efficiently with 75 to 90 percent loads," he said. "I think in the past we were hauling a lot of air, and we can't afford to do that with $4 fuel. I don't know if we can look at remote baling sites. I haven't researched that well enough to know if that is going to work."

Christensen said he remains a strong supporter of a proposal similar to the Dynamis Energy plan the solid waste district shot down after heated debate with the commission.

"I still think the ultimate solution is waste-to-energy," he said. "California is doing a lot of research on that. They have seminars practically quarterly. There are cities out there endorsing that, counties. It's not necessarily Dynamis, but I think there's going to be a solution. We're always going to have waste."

Christensen said solid waste and communication with other county elected officials are some of the biggest commission failures in the past two years.

"Probably sufficient oversight of the solid waste board is one issue," he said. "One that has bothered me is the lack of communication between elected officials. ... We're all elected officials, and sometimes we have different agendas than what's best for the county. That's bothered me a little bit."

Christensen said he doesn't feel constituents have been neglected on commission representation in District 2.

"I think some of the small towns -- Shoshoni, Dubois, Pavillion in particular -- the county has always assisted them in matching their (State Loan and Investment Board) grants, and I think we will continue to do so, so they can do some of their infrastructure," Christensen said.

He said Sheriff Skip Hornecker can determine law enforcement patrols in the rural area.

"I'm not going to try to manage that," Christensen said. "We have a county sheriff that is elected by the people, so I'm not going to manage his personnel."

He said his goal for the county's budget over the next two years is ensuring a balanced spending plan.

"We have certain statutory obligations we must meet, and that will always be priority one with our budget," he said. "We will also meet certain service obligations to the public. And lastly we will assist as much as possible with the different social programs within the county."

Christensen said county employees remain another concern for the commission's budgeting.

"I think the biggest issue to work with the county employees is going to be the health care issue. We're still not certain what's going to happen with the Obamacare and how that's going to affect the self-funded insurance program," he said. "We're going to have to get a handle on that benefit to employees. We have a couple of different options that we're looking at now."

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