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County forwards claims to insurance company

SHERIDAN — Sheridan County commissioners acknowledged receipt of two claims brought by individual residents at their meeting Tuesday. They denied both claims and said they would be submitted to the county’s insurance company for review.

Commission Chairman Terry Cram said acknowledging receipt and issuing a denial is standard procedure.

“A simple claim of some kind could come in, and we can decide in our meeting, ‘Let’s just pay it. It sounds reasonable to me.’ But if there’s questions about it, we don’t figure it’s our place to just pay the public’s money out without it being somehow litigated,” Cram said.

The first claim was from Marcia Harber, who said her car was damaged by a snowplow operated by a Sheridan County employee at Sheridan County Airport. The claim was for $6,586.10 in damages and $285.98 per week starting Dec. 4 for the cost of renting a car.

Since the matter is currently under litigation, Cram said he could not comment on it.

The second claim was from Banner resident Shirley Weidt, who approached the commissioners Jan. 20 with her claim but was told it had to be placed on the agenda and formally acknowledged at a later meeting.

Weidt submitted a handwritten claim for $22,988. It included a list of 90 items damaged or stolen when the county hired a local contractor to remove mobile home trailers and inoperable vehicles from her land on U.S. Highway 14 east of Sheridan.

Weidt was court ordered in May and September 2012 to remove all but one mobile home residence and two operable vehicles from her land, which was found to violate county zoning regulations.

Weidt addressed the commissioners Tuesday to ask what would happen to the claim. She also noted that she submitted the same claim to Mountain View Home Builders, the company hired to clean up her property.

“I need reimbursed for all the stuff they flat took,” Weidt said.

Weidt also said she feels like she is being picked on since past rulings by the county attorney “grandfathered” her trailers and vehicles.

“I’m the victim,” Weidt said.

A code enforcement report submitted by Code Enforcement Officer Jim Allender on Jan. 30, 2008, does confirm that Weidt’s property is “grandfathered” for three mobile homes for living quarters and two for storage units.

However, County Planner Mark Reid said it is his understanding that the grandfathered status does not apply to any new mobile homes brought onto Weidt’s land.

Reid said Weidt brought on another mobile home during the clean-up process but did not obtain a zoning permit.

Reid declined to offer any more comment on the matter since it is in litigation.

County Administrative Director Renee Obermueller said the county follows two statutes regarding claims. Wyoming Statute 18-3-511 says all claims must be accepted by the county commissioners, so the commissioners acknowledge all claims they receive. If they apply to goods or services received by the county, the county will pay them.

However, Wyoming Statute 139-101 through 139-121 says that claims that are not directly related to goods or services must be filed with the Local Government Liability Pool, which will make a decision on what should be paid based on evidence and documentation.

 

About

Hannah Wiest is the government and outdoors reporter for The Sheridan Press. She has lived in Colorado and Montana but loves her sunny home state of Wyoming best. She joined The Press staff in February 2013.

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