Commissioners review 2023 financial report

Conversation continues about 307 Racing

Cynthia Sheeley
Posted 8/18/23

Chairman Michael McNamee was present with fellow commissioner Aaron Walsh. Commissioner Justin Burkart was present via Zoom.

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Commissioners review 2023 financial report

Conversation continues about 307 Racing


GOSHEN COUNTY – The Goshen County Commissioners convened for its second August meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 15 at the Goshen County Courthouse. 

Chairman Michael McNamee was present with fellow commissioner Aaron Walsh. Commissioner Justin Burkart was present via Zoom.

During the staff reports, McNamee explained to the audience that when they quickly sign off on forms at the meeting, they have received these documents ahead of time to look over. For the sake of saving time during the meeting, all documents are emailed to the commissioners to review beforehand. 

“After our last meeting, when we had gone through and approved some budget stuff, somebody came up and said, ‘You guys don’t even look at that stuff.’” McNamee said. “We’ve had all of this before the meeting, so we’ve had a chance to look at it. I just want to make those of you that are here aware that these are not just rubber stamps that we just push through.”

If a visitor is new to these meetings, it is common to not know some of these procedures. 

Ron Russell presented the county’s financial report to the commissioners. Overall, the report was very positive. After going through the high points of the report, Russell discussed a few ideas for the county going forward, including adding to the county’s ‘savings’ funds and considering buying over leasing.

“It’s taken a long time and good fortunes along the way,” McNamee said. “A lot of great decisions and management have led us to this. I think it’s worth mentioning, that the commissioners that have sat in these chairs before us have helped us to get to this point.”

The commissioners will vote to approve the report at a later time. At this time, they would like to take more time to look over the report. 

Russell was given permission to pass along the report to the auditors. He explained that this would give them more time to enter all of the information into the system, if there are any changes that need to be made, they can provide that information to the auditors later.

McNamee provided updates on the resolution regarding the 307 Horse Racing.

“An update for everybody, since our last meeting, we have received a revised resolution from Kyle Ridgeway with 307 Horse Racing,” McNamee said. “That resolution [includes a change in the destination of the facility], it now identifies the address [of the facility] as that of the Bucking Horse Steakhouse.”

According to this change, the facility is no longer proposed to be on Main Street in Torrington. As a result of much concern about the facility being on Main Street from previous meetings, the company has proposed this change of venue. 

According to Walsh, they believe the plan is to still operate the Bucking Horse as usual, just with the addition of 307 Horse Racing also operating out of the facility.

McNamee said they are still in discussion of defining the ‘good cause’ language that is present in the resolution. This language pertains to what circumstances the county is able to terminate the contract. The issue with this language is that its definition can differ from person to person.

For example, this could become an issue in the case that the county decided the facility needed to be closed down for something like public safety concerns but the company in question decides to argue that to them that is not ‘good cause.’

“I think it is worth noting that there is not a general concern about good cause right now, especially as it pertains to 307 Horse Racing,” McNamee explained. “I think that the level of confidence in our comfort with working with Kyle Ridgeway and Jack Greer with 307 Horse Racing is not being questioned here.”

“What is in question is the ability to manage this situation moving forward understanding the resolution and moving forward with it,” he continued. “[We need to know] what it looks like as we work with other entities that may come in and want to pursue a similar opportunity in Goshen County.”

If the county approves a resolution for this type of facility, this is the same resolution that will be used for similar businesses. While 307 Horse Racing may not be a concern with this type of wording, another facility could use the wording to its advantage.

“The language of good cause still lingers out there,” McNamee explained. “We do not have what we feel is a comfortable, clearly defined set of guidelines that would allow both sides to be able to move forward.”

McNamee said since the last meeting the Wyoming State News Daily reported on a $1.8 million lawsuit that was settled between Campbell County and another para mutual betting entity. This lawsuit happened because of loopholes that were within the resolution that didn’t protect the county.

“It is important to make sure that we don’t allow something similar to happen in Goshen County,” McNamee said. “At this time, we will continue to hammer out this resolution with the help of our lawyer, the parties with 307 Horse Racing and other stakeholders within this situation, which includes the city of Torrington.”

After McNamee’s update, several members of the public took turns to make comments about their opinions on the issue. More updates are expected to come at future meetings.

During the chairman’s opening comments, McNamee discussed the recent county fair and thanked everyone involved.

“I want to thank everybody for their participation in the fair, including the exhibitors and everyone else that was involved with it,” McNamee said. “I was involved with the junior livestock sale on Saturday morning and I want to thank the people of Goshen County for their support of our youth; it just amazes me.”

“The support is phenomenal,” he continued. “So, a big thank you to all the local businesses and everyone else that gets involved with that. I really think it speaks to our support of our youth in the county.”

The next meeting of the Goshen County Commissioners will take place Tuesday, Sept. 5 at 9 a.m. in the Goshen County Courthouse at 2125 East A Street.