Commissioners table horse racing until after New Year

A. Marie Hamilton
Posted 11/18/22

GOSHEN COUNTY – At its second regularly scheduled meeting of November, Goshen County Commissioners Justin Burkart, Cody Cox and Chairman John Ellis voted to once again table a resolution from 307 Horse Racing which would allow a pari-mutuel betting facility to open its doors in Torrington.

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Commissioners table horse racing until after New Year


GOSHEN COUNTY – At its second regularly scheduled meeting of November, Goshen County Commissioners Justin Burkart, Cody Cox and Chairman John Ellis voted to once again table a resolution from 307 Horse Racing which would allow a pari-mutuel betting facility to open its doors in Torrington. Commissioners also approved the purchase of a mower and tractor for the Goshen County Road and Bridges Department, received an update from Goshen County Sheriff’s Office (GCSO) regarding its out-of-county prisoners, received the county treasurers report which indicated taxes are beginning to come into the county and heard from Goshen County Library regarding its 100th Birthday celebration and upcoming events.

Casper-based Worldwide Environmental Regulatory Compliance Solutions (WERCS) CEO Kyle A. Ridgeway was not present at Tuesday’s meeting, however his business partner, Gillette-based 307 Horse Racing CEO/President Jack Greer, was and listened to the commissioners as they explained their reasoning for tabling the approval.

However, Ridgeway did meet with commissioners after their initial meeting on November 1 to explain the process more. Ellis said after that meeting he met with current and incoming members of Torrington City Council, current and incoming Torrington Mayor and incoming Goshen County Commissioners before speaking to the county attorney. “I went to the county attorney’s office after that meeting – and together, we determined it is right and best to table this discussion and decision for the new administrations to be sworn in because it would be unfair for us, who are leaving, to approve this is it’s not something the new administration’s would approve,” Ellis explained.

Ellis further explained he would like more input from the public after speaking to a number of business owners on Main Street who were unaware of such a resolution being proposed by 307 Horse Racing.

The Telegram and Ellis advised 307 Horse Racing the county commissioners story earlier this month mentioned the resolution and a more indepth story ran in the Wednesday, November 16 edition of the newspaper.

“I feel, even though the state and Goshen County approved such recreational activities, that we still need to hear from the public a bit more about what they have to say regarding a business like this coming into the county and into Torrington,” Ellis told Greer.

Cox said although he “100% supports this and this business opportunity, I am in agreement with John (Ellis) that we need to hear more from the public and that as an outgoing commissioner it’s not my place to make this decision.”

Burkart added, “I have not seen any city or county ordinances which would prevent your business from being established and running in Goshen County and/or in Torrington – I’ve only found where both the state of Wyoming and Goshen County voted to approve pari-mutuel horse betting in the state.”

“However, I also agree with Cody (Cox) and John (Ellis), it is best to wait until we hear more from our county and city residents, in addition to waiting for the new Torrington Mayor, Torrington City Council and Goshen County Commissioners to be sworn in before we make a decision like this,” Burkart further stated to Greer.

Chairman Ellis explained to 307 Horse Racing together, the city and county decided it would be best to have both administrations work together on this resolution through a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Torrington and Goshen County. Of which, Ellis said, once the county establishes the MOU, the responsibility and decision making would fall onto Torrington mayor and city council unless the business decided to move outside of Torrington city limits on county land.

Greer thanked the commissioners for providing him with an update and extended an invitation to call, email or invite him and his business partner Ridgeway back if the county or city should have any further questions or needs prior to the first Torrington City Council and Goshen County Commissioners meetings in January 2023 once new members are sworn in.

Commissioners also approved a mid-month check for the Goshen County Road and Bridge Department to purchase a new tractor and mower for road maintenance use. No individuals from the road and bridge department were present at the meeting on Tuesday.

GCSO Sgt. Investigator Herb Irons presented commissioners with the monthly county sheriff’s report which included its earnings report, a surplus net gain of just more than $24,000 and an update regarding its out-of-county inmates.

“As far as federal prisoners we have approximately ten, and we hope to be able to continue this program and partnership with the federal government,” Irons explained to the commissioners. “As far as state inmates, we don’t currently have any, however we do have some IOP, or probation violation, parole inmates.”

Goshen County Clerk-elect Mary Feagler presented county commissioners with the county clerks report, which included the county calendar for 2023. Current Goshen County Clerk Cindy Kenyon was out sick; Feagler already works in the clerk's office and has been in training for her new position for several months.

Goshen County Library Board Member Terry Haines presented the library report to commissioners in which she explained how well the library’s 100th birthday had ended. At its birthday event over the weekend, “we don’t have exact numbers, but about 50 to 60 people were in attendance and it was a great time.”

Haines also briefly detailed two upcoming library events: on December 1, the library will host a Literary Cocktails event for adults and on December 3 will host a kid-friendly event with hot coco and other age-appropriate activities. More details will be in a future Telegram story.

Ellis remarked how well the library has been doing and how it is a source of inspiration and pride for all of Goshen County.

Haines responded by thanking Goshen County Library Executive Director Cristine Braddy with her enthusiasm, ideas and drive to help the library thrive.

“It’s exciting too, we are happy to report that library attendance has increased, and continues to do so, especially after the end of our summer reading program,” Haines told commissioners. “It keeps the librarians very busy indeed.”

Burkart reported there is no new update concerning the Youth Alternatives Board the county is working to prepare with both county and city law enforcement agencies.

The next regularly scheduled commissioners meeting will be on Tuesday, December 2, at 9 a.m. at the Goshen County Courthouse.