More cowboy boots and belt buckles were stuffed Tuesday into the Star Valley Town Hall than ever before.
While they didn’t ride into town on their horses, the Gila County Sheriff’s Office mounted posse let their presence be known.
Commander Earl Chitwood took the floor and asked the town council if it could spare a donation for the volunteer-ran organization.
The town has several million in the bank and the posse asked for a few dollars to buy new GPS equipment.
Chitwood told the council if they had a loved one lost, they would want all the resources available to find him or her. The council agreed and pledged $6,000.
“It was a surly bunch and I don’t know how you don’t say yes to them,” said Town Manager/ Attorney Tim Grier.
The mounted posse search and rescue team formed last summer soon after a 4-year-old boy went missing near the airport. The boy was found uninjured a day later by Chitwood and Beth and Wyman Kindall. Where other search efforts had stalled, Chitwood and the Wymans found Travis Mitchell in a remote canyon with their horses.
“Because of this, we feel strongly about the need of a horse-mounted search posse,” Chitwood wrote in a letter to the town of Star Valley.
Chitwood helped found the nonprofit posse and the organization now sits at 24 members.
The posse expects an additional 15 members by summer and wants to outfit everyone with GPS equipment so they can communicate during a mission.
“Each member carries about $2,500 of equipment so we have a huge financial burden,” Chitwood wrote.
The council enthusiastically supported the posse and in a unanimous vote, approved the funding.
This was the first time the town hall was used for a council meeting. The town was previously using the Lamplighter RV Park recreation room, but decided since only a few residents regularly attended meetings, it did not need the extra space.
In other council news, councilors Barbara Hartwell and Paty Henderson said they would work on compiling the town’s history and starting a historical archive.
The council also discussed implementing a procedure for placing items on future council agendas.
Currently, the town’s mayor, vice-mayor, town clerk and Grier meet the Tuesday before a meeting to discuss what will be on the next agenda.
Grier suggested alternating a council member in on the discussion as well. The council agreed and for the next 90 days, a council member will sit in on the conversation. If the trial period is successful, the town will keep the procedure.
Grier said they researched how other towns put items on the agenda and “there are as many ways of doing this as there are towns.”
The council also decided to create a form whereby any member of the public or council could add an agenda item to the next meeting.
“The concern is that you want to discuss all items and get more on the agenda,” Grier said. “We haven’t had any problems (with the current system), but we wanted to look at it before we do.”