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With technology’s help, Campbell County starts to clean up property records

Campbell County will examine records for each individual parcel that GIS has identified.

Campbell County Commissioners (from left) Butch Knutson , Jim Ford, Kelley McCreery, Del Shelstad and Colleen Faber. (Campbell County)

GILLETTE, Wyo. — Campbell County is cleaning up land — in a technical way, parcel by parcel.

Public Works Director Matt Olsen said that the department is evaluating the status of the county’s properties, making corrections where there are discrepancies in records and determining whether the county should hold onto certain properties.

For example, county records indicate the county owns a portion of Seventh Street that spans Rohan Avenue to 4-J Road in downtown Gillette. Problem is, there’s no street physically there. It was never built. The pavement doesn’t connect. This property is also currently subdivided into several parcels, according to county records. The county could make it into one clean piece of property, Olsen said.

“We don’t see a use for it,” he said.

(Google Maps)

Staff and commissioners who attended the planning meeting this afternoon indicated they aren’t aware of the purpose or origin of several properties that are in the county’s possession.

Only in the past five years has the county been able to meticulously examine, using GIS technology, records regarding parcels, so before that time there were recordkeeping challenges, Olsen said after the meeting.

Board of Commissioners Chairman Colleen Faber and Commissioner Del Shelstad said they believe the county should try to sell properties that they don’t need so they can get tax dollars from it.

Commissioner Jim Ford said it may be wise for the county to hold onto properties until someone expresses interest in buying them so that the demand for properties raises their value.

Faber said that, legally, the county can’t simply offer a parcel to an individual who expresses interest in it.

Commissioner Butch Knutson said it’s also a liability for the county in case someone injures themselves on a piece of property the county owns.

Deputy County Attorney Kyle Ferris said that when the county divests properties, legally, those decisions need to be made in the best interest of the county. He said the county needs to analyze each piece of property to determine whether it’s in the best interest of the county.