Discussions reach conclusions at council meeting

By Sarah Pridgeon

Several ongoing issues were brought to a conclusion at this month’s regular meeting of the city council, including ownership of the swimming pool land and the situation with trucking on Government Valley Road. The council also began laying the groundwork for this year’s Rally Week, approving the vending plans of many local businesses.

At the works session before the meeting began, Public Works Director Larry Schommer expressed concern that, after the recent heavy thunderstorm, the Cole Water Storage Tank is looking ever more likely to slide completely down the hill.

Schommer explained that taking the tank down completely and storing it may be the best option, but that five of the eight air separators along the pipeline will need to be replaced first, because the tank is acting as a buffer for the missing ones. The question of how to replace the water flow to the north will also need to be addressed.

Roger Croell, owner of Croell Redi-Mix, visited the council during the work session, asking for endorsement of his grant application for the infrastructure of his planned new headquarters. The council passed a motion to sponsor the grant during the regular meeting, as private enterprise is not eligible to apply.

As the regular meeting began, Mayor Paul Brooks announced that Schommer will be holding a kick-off meeting for his Level 1 Master Plan to improve the city’s water system on July 19 at City Hall, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. The meeting will explore the current problems with the water system and residents experiencing issues with pressure or flow are invited to attend.

City Attorney Mark Hughes confirmed that the school district is planning to give the land on which the swimming pool sits to the city and does not intend to ask for anything in exchange. Clerk-Treasurer Kathy Lenz announced that the survey will be done by August to meet the deadline of a planned grant for rehabilitation of the pool, to complete it.

The issue of trucks using Government Valley Road to haul gravel from the pit was concluded, with the council passing a resolution that offered a compromise to both parties. The motion increased the load limit on the road, but reduced the speed at which trucks are permitted to travel, as well as times and days of operation, and imposed a 13-cent-per-ton fee to be used for future repair of the road.

Schommer updated the council on the situation with the transfer station, announcing that the project will be going to bid in August and construction will begin in September.

Dick Proctor approached the council to contest a $942 invoice from Bearlodge Engineering. He was told that the bill formed part of the fees associated with his recent land exchange and the council voted unanimously to stand by the original deal, in which Proctor agreed to pay all associated costs after the city’s contribution of paying for the initial survey.

Donna Howard approached the council to thank them for helping her immerse herself in her job with Crook County Senior Services, and for their continued support. She also offered thanks to the staff, who she described as very willing to be helpful and fun to work with.

Chuck Ruiz of Deluxe Harley Davidson requested the council’s permission to set up a concessions trailer, selling t-shirts and other souvenirs, in the middle of the street during Rally Week. Although Police Chief Todd Fritz had already said shutting off Main Street could not be allowed for safety reasons, said Clerk-Treasurer Kathy Lenz, the council agreed to investigate barricading the central area.

Ruiz also told the council that “head office is taking notice of our little store,” and that Harley Davidson has consequently offered to stage a dunk tank on Burnout Wednesday, dunking dignitaries from the company. The council passed a motion to allow the dunk tank to be set up on 3rd Street, between Main and Cleveland, and the mayor asked Ruiz to ensure it’s kept away from the burnout stand.

An agreement was approved with Community Builders, Inc. of Douglas to adapt Hill City’s ordinance to comply with Wyoming statutes. According to Lenz, Hill City in South Dakota faced a similar situation, needing to update old and antiquated zoning, and Sundance will use what they did as a basis for updating its own zoning ordinances, in preparation for the proposed rare earth mine.

A number of beverage and catering permits were passed for Rally Week and the County Fair, including for the Longhorn and Dime Horseshoe bar on Burnout Wednesday and for Sundance Equipment’s street dance on July 27. A permit was also granted for the MS Bike “Close Encounters” ride on August 18 to 19.

In departmental reports, Schommer announced that water is at 70 percent accountability and 500,000 gallon usage, which is high for the city’s system. City Engineers TriHydro told the council they have been primarily involved in organizing the Level 1 Master Plan and working on the Cole Water Storage Tank.

Lenz requested an annual evaluation report be added to the city’s employment policy to keep better records in case of the need for discipline. This was put on the agenda for next month and, in the mean time, a review of job descriptions will take place.

A motion was passed to approve the mayor signing a mutual agreement for extra police during the time when the Hell’s Angels may be in town. Hughes also questioned how long the agreement with the Food Pantry to be located on the premises of the old daycare center should be set for and a motion was passed to make it a yearly agreement.

Council Member Hugh Palmer told the room that Mayor Brooks is now the face of WAM in the northeast. He then questioned whether the problem with the trees in town not living for very long may have something to do with people exiting the bar and using them as a bathroom.

The mayor proposed a reservation system for the shelter in the park, allowing people who want to use it for, for example, reunions and picnics to know that it will be available. A motion was passed to copy the Spearfish system, charging $25 for a full day and $15 for a half day.

The next regular meeting of the city council will take place on August 7.