The following is an interview of candidates for Albany County Commissioner initiated by the Governmental Affairs Committee of the Laramie Chamber Business Alliance.  Neither the Governmental Affairs Committee or the Laramie Chamber Business Alliance endorse any candidate. They felt it was important to find if candidates were supportive of business.

This is directly from the minutes provided by the Laramie Chamber Business Alliance.

County Commissoner

Attendance: Pat Gabriel, Heber Richardson, and Tim Chestnut


1. Many of our county residents want to improve their quality of life. If you agree, how would you accomplish it?

Pat Gabriel– I think we have an outstanding county that has minimal impact on businesses. The least government involvement the better.

Heber Richardson – I think the quality of life is a personal responsibility. A County Commissioner should cover safety matters. A County Commissioner should not interfere with a person’s quality of life.

Tim Chestnut- I think we should encourage not having a massive growth at one time. Growth has to come with the quality of life.

2. Do you consider Albany County a business friendly County? What would you do to make it more business friendly? What are the limitations?

Heber Richardson – The County is business friendly, however the City is not. The County is not difficult to do business in but there are infrastructure issues. The Joint Powers Board would be good and would help recruit companies. The Joint Powers Board should get the recapture funds and decide what they are spent on.

Tim Chestnut – The County is business friendly and does not restrict small businesses. People like Sheela Schermetzler; County Grant Writer who is helping businesses come into the county is what makes the county business friendly.Pat Gabriel– Pete Lien will provide valuable jobs. The rail spur provides a great business opportunity by getting goods in and out. Need a commission that will support sustained growth.

3. Albany County is a poor resource county and has a much lower property tax base. What would you suggest to improve the county’s revenue base?

Tim Chestnut– We need to use minerals in North Albany County and to look into the uses of the minerals in North Albany County. The Cirrus Sky Technology Park and Pete Lien will help improve our tax base.

Pat Gabriel– We need to show SLIB a map with how we are taxing ourselves. SLIB is usually supportive of our county because we are taxing ourselves. We cannot do much more other than support the taxes that are voted for.

Heber Richardson– We need to stay out of growths way. It is not our job to be reactive. We need to show the Wyoming Business Council that we are doing the right things with recapture funds. We need to bring outside businesses into town. We need to bring outside money in.

4. Do you feel the county should adopt city’s UDC code, the balanced development? If not, why?

Heber Richardson – No there are too many regulations and demands. What we have is enough.

Tim Chestnut– The code should deal with safety regulations.

Pat Gabriel – No, there is too much cumbersome government involved. We have a good process

in place now.

5. What is your position to keep the entryways and personal property looking better?

Pat Gabriel– We should work with the Planning department and Planning Director. We should also work with individuals and continue County Clean-Up Day.

Heber Richardson– We should continue with County Clean-Up Day, have Gary Wilken, County Code Enforcer make more contact and communicate more with individuals. We should also use our local resources.

Tim Chestnut– I would encourage and help with County Clean-Up Day. We should make the entryways look better. We should also have someone that is experienced with working on the entryway projects.

6. Are you satisfied with the County rules and regulations?

Tim Chestnut – YesHeber Richardson – Yes, it is adequate, but it may need to be updated with growth.

Pat Gabriel– I think we have made a step forward with hiring a County Code Enforcer.

7. What do you think can be done about the water resources in the County?

Tim Chestnut– You need to research where you plan on living to see what resources are available to you.

Heber Richardson – Density is an issue because it costs a lot of money to put in infrastructure in a low density area. Maybe a solution is to build subdivisions at a higher density and see if the City is willing to provide water for the subdivision. I do think it’s a problem and unfortunate that there is an anti-growth development over the aquifer. I think it is a mistake.

Pat Gabriel – City can tell you what to do with your property if you are in the buffer zone, but you cannot vote for a council member to represent you.

 8. If you were rewarded a $50M grant, for the County, what would you use it for?

Tim Chestnut – I would use it to pave roads.

Pat Gabriel – I would use it to increase wages for the County employees.

Heber Richardson – I would use it for infrastructure.

More From KOWB 1290