Ranchester Council Needs More Time To Consider Land Purchase Agreement

The Ranchester Town Council elected to table an item that would have allowed the town to purchase 14 acres just west of Ranchester that could be used for economic development. Mayor Cliff Clevenger explains why it's so important that the town plan for the future.

Clevenger explains that the existing downtown just isn't feasible for new businesses looking to locate to Ranchester.

The Council tabled the issue so that they could go over the contract in further detail before voting on the purchase agreement.

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What about the cap tax? Oh

What about the cap tax? Oh that's right Kinskey is getting his share first.

People need to get the facts

1. Fire station is owned by town of ranchester. Bought and paid for by a grant most likely for the purposes of having a fire station. So fair rental value is kind of a moot point. Do we expect the library to compensate the town for use of the building they use?

2. the town has had an agreement with the fire district for years to provide service. However, that agreement has been in limbo for a couple years. Yet the district still provided service to the town people using the $$ paid to them by the people who live in the district, not the town. Land owners in the town do NOT pay property tax to the district. They pay tax to the town. One thing that is assumed by paying that tax is that a we will have emergency services. A contract with an existing fire department is more than likely cheaper than having your own department.

3. From what I can find that agreement between the town and the district previously had the town paying the utilities, maintenance, and up to 5,000 per year for training and equipment. Most years the 5,000 was not used by the district. The town also provided the building. The district provided trucks, equipment, training, manpower, fuel and maintained the vehicles even those used primarily in town related calls. More recently the town provided the $150 per vollunteer per year to the state firefighters retirement fund. This retirement is the only financial incentive one has to spend nights away from his/her family training and then getting up in the middle of the night when someone has an emergency.

4. Now it sounds like the town will pay half the utilties and the use of the building with some maintenance. No retirement, no training. They notified the district of this with a letter. No warning, no discussion prior to the letter. Looks like the town is on the power trip not the district.

5. The reality is the fire department volls will, as always, be there in the time of emergency. Politics or no politics. Lets face it that is what this is. Politics!
So get all the facts.

don't listen to just the mayor or just the district. Get all the facts. If I can look this stuff up, so can you.

scare tatics

It would appear that the fire department in Ranchester is tiring to scare the people into believing that if it leaves because it can't get what it wants from the town that no one will show up for an emergency. Does the fire department there always handle everything them self's or do the neighboring communities send aid as well. I live in Sheridan where we have a fire department that has certified firefighters. Is Ranchesters firefighters certified, trained or is it just the good'ol boys trying to act like they are important in there town. It would also be interesting to see if they are more geared to fires in the town or in the county. They probably have an old rundown truck for house fires and newer trucks for saving the ranchers land from fire. And if they do more firefighting in the county than the town shouldn't the town have less of a burden in funding them than the county. Not sure how that works for funding. As far as the fire station goes if it is in town is it not a city building, if it is fire department owned building shouldn't it be taxed. Schools are not taxed but I don't think they go crying to the town to financially support them. If they get 30,000 from the county taxes maybe they need to cutback on the new shiny trucks an conserve there money like everyone is forced to do these days. As far as the land purchase goes if the town doesn't try to create opportunities for business to come to town then the mayor and city council have failed the votes miserably. But that is just one persons opinion.

dear scare tatics

Let me address your issues one at a time:

1. The Tongue River Fire Protection district has not threatened to leave town nor does it intend to. There has not been an agreement in force between the Town of Ranchester and the Tongue River Fire Protection District Since 2007 and the Fire District is seeking to put an agreement in force. Additionally the Mayor of Ranchester on two separate occasions has told me that his office cannot be held to agreements that previous administrations have signed on to. If the previous is true then there has not been an agreement since the mayor took office some 12 years ago. If the town should have an insurance audit it would find no agreement in force and potentially the insurance rates of the residents would increase for the town. The Fire District is seeking out an agreement no different than what existed in the past and wants to protect the town residents from a potential insurance rate increase. It should be noted that the previous agreement had a revolving fund in it to pay for the training of the fire fighters, but since the mayor has stated that he cannot be held to the previous agreement that fund has been emptied.
2. The Tongue River Fire Protection District has Mutual Aid Agreements with all neighboring districts and towns.
3. Ranchester Volunteers are trained and the Tongue River Fire Protection District pays for that training. The county and Sheridan Fire Rescue also offer free training for our volunteers to participate in. We continue to improve our training as time permits. With the addition of Rocky Mountain Ambulance servicing the county, the fire department has increased its response to assist in medical calls on a first responder basis for which we also have been trained. This has greatly increased our call volume within the town limits of Ranchester.
4. Prior to the purchase or the new grass truck the newest vehicle in our fleet was a 1986 Ford 1 ton, which coincidentally is the age of the truck used to fight structure fires in the town.
5. The building was paid for with capital facilities tax dollars and grants. Since the fire district was not a municipality it could not hold title to the building, so the Town of Ranchester holds title to this building and is taking full value added rental payment as compensation for fire protection, when in reality some of the county residents should share in that value added compensation.
6. As I have stated before the new vehicle cost $102,00 dollars. Now if the district receives only $30,000 dollars in revenue annually. That comes to 3 ½ years of savings just to purchase that truck. Now realistically the fire district pays for fuel, vehicle maintenance, additionally rather than purchase another new vehicle they have replaced the transmission in one of their vehicles and the transfer case in a separate vehicle, they also pay for training. The fire district also has to maintain a certain allotted amount of cash on hand in case a large grass fire occurs (this is required in order to participate in additional funds from the state in the case of an emergency type fire much like the one in the bighorns a few years ago).
7. in closing I cannot state in clearer terms, The Fire District is NOT the rich guy on the hill counting its money and laughing. Since the sept 2nd letter the Town sent to the fire district, The Fire district is solely responsible for all of the monthly short term dept items (i.e. propane, electricity, fuel, vehicle maintenance, training, equipment purchases, etc.) The towns only monthly expense is the hazard insurance and whatever is the actual cost for lawn care, snow removal, water, sewer, and garbage. The rest is merely a value added payment that makes it very difficult to purchase a new city truck with.

True, other departments will

True, other departments will show up, but without a local fire department your insurance will go up because it takes a while for Sheridan to get to Ranchester. As to shiney new trucks, maybe someone should go look at what the district has for trucks. From my memory I don't see many shiney new ones. They all look well worn and used. Beside, if I need emergency services I want the department to have a vehicle that will get them there.

Also, it looks like it was the town that CUT funds from the agreement, so I don't understand where you come from saying the district is trying to scare the town into anything. Looks like they wanted fair treatment to me. But I guess unlike some of those posting on this page I am not on the town council.

do you see the fire dept.

do you see the fire dept. leaving???? the fire dept is a volunteer organization who need to worry about serving the people of there district and not trying to have a power trip and standing. the dept. wants the town to give them 50% of the property tax revenue so they can buy new trucks for county fires. they bought one new truck for $102,000 already and now want more. if the town of ranchester wants to survive it has to try to make opportunities to move forward. as for the comment about living in a small community that person must be retired and not worried about any future for the town. i would love to see the town peruse opportunities to get people employed in town and improve to overall standing of ranchester.

To respond to your question,

To respond to your question, NO I don't see the fire department leaving. I know the members of the Ranchester Fire department, and they are a part of the Tongue River Fire District, they are a volunteer organization and they do worry about serving the people of their district. They are NOT trying to have a power trip or standing. One of their biggest concerns is having the propane, etc. so they are able to assist the residents of Ranchester should they have a medical emergency or a fire. That is all they are concerned about. I agree that Ranchester needs to pursue opportunties for employment, but as a Ranchester resident, I don't worry about improving the overall standing of Ranchester. I live here for the small-town atmosphere, and the "everybody knows everybody" lifestyle. Local jobs are important, but it is not in the Ranchester residents' best interest to sacrifice the necessities for the fire department in order to attract jobs. It is just not fiscally intelligent. Should insurance rates go up, residents will feel even more of the financial crunch the country is in right now, regardless of whether or not jobs are attracted to the town. In addition, any jobs that may be forthcoming from this venture, will not be here tomorrow. Chances are it will take a minimum of 6 months to several years to attract the additional jobs to Ranchester. Thank you for the opportunity to respond.

Fire Dept

It is true the fire department is a volunteer organization and that the fire district recently purchased a truck for $102,00 dollars. Please understand the district receives annually $30,000 dollars in revenue from its 3 mill levy from taxpayers in the fire district. Every single vehicle in the fire departments fleet is owned by the district including the vehicles used to fight fires within the town of Ranchester. That being said it also should be known what the town has offered to the fire district in return for fire protection. The following are the towns estimated annual expenses.

1. The has offered the use of the building free of charge. This is assumed to be a fair market rental value of $29,400 dollars. This building was paid for exclusively with taxpayer dollars both who live in and outside of the town. In all fairness the town and the fire district should share half and half the fair market rental value.

2. the town has offered to pay the building maintenance of $250. dollars. this is reasonalbe

3. The town has offered to pay for the building water and sewer in the amount of $392 dollars

4. The town has offered to pick up the trash in the amount of $179.40

5. The town has offered to pay for Lawn Care (6 months 1.5 times a week at 2 hours each) for the amount of $5,400 dollars. (This amounts to paying someone $75/hr to mow the lawn, not a realistic figure I would estimate this item to be closer to $720)

6. The town is not offering only to pay 1/2 the propane bill of $5,200 dollars

7. The town is offering only to pay 1/2 the electric bill of $1,380 dollars

8. The town is offering only to pay 1/2 phone bill of $2,520 dollars (this amount is also exaggerated as the town failed to disconnect 2 old lines used for the older paging system)

9. The town is offering to pay the hazard insurance for the building $335 dollars.

It should be known the Town had historically paid for the volunteers retirement fund but is not longer paying this. It should also be know that as of sept the 2nd the town has discontinued payment of Propane, Electricity, and Phone for the firehall and these items have been paid for by the Fire District until an agreement is reached. The Tongue River Fire Protection District is NOT trying to take money away from the town and I would be happy to answer any questions you may have.

fire district

I have to apologize for some of my misspelling in the previous comment, the glory of small hand held devices.

200%

I support this project 200%!!! There comes a time where every community either grows and changes or shrivels up and dies. I have lived here my whole life and am proud of the progressive froward motion the Town is moving in!! Way to go! Keep it up!

Also...

Have they considered that the residents of Ranchester/Dayton live there because they want to live in a small country town. If they didn't they'd relocate to Sheridan or Billings.

J. S. Luckjohn

Ranchester Huh!!!!

Ranchester who? what when? where? Shouldn't you worry about your town motorpool, fire district and other basics before buying 14 acres? What ever happened to the polo outlet that was suppose to move there?

No money for Ranchester Fire

Wow, we don't have any money to pay for fire protection but we can buy land. If this town doesn't wake up and realize that we need to take care of our fire service, businesses won't want to move here anyway because insurance rates will be so high. Priorities!!!