July City Council

By Sarah Pridgeon

At this month’s regular meeting of the council, members of staff thanked the mayor and council for their leadership and paid tribute to the City Hall team. Responding to Mayor Paul Brooks’ apology for recent “bad leadership” at last month’s meeting, Public Works Director Larry Schommer commented that it takes “a pretty big man and a good leader” to make such a confession.

“We appreciate you and we appreciate working for you,” he said, thanking the council also for their support. “We’ve been running pretty hard recently and the stress has been pretty high.”

“I agree with Larry, you guys do great work and take a lot of heat from everybody,” added Fire Chief Blair Stugelmeyer. In response, the mayor thanked him for maintaining the department smoothly in recent months.

“Sincerely, I probably don’t thank you enough, but you have no idea how peaceful it is when there are no problems down there,” he commented.

Meanwhile, no response was received to the nuisance letter sent to a property on Sewell Street, leaving the council to decide whether to take the next step in the process and advise the owner of the date on which the city will go in and clean up and then file a lean on the property. City Attorney Mark Hughes reported that the landowner had not taken up the Public Works Department’s “gracious” offer to help.

The council had never before reached this point in the process and had to go beyond it, said Mayor Brooks. A motion was passed to instruct Hughes to move forward.

A moment of triumph was recorded for the city swimming pool: 57 people at once were in the pool last Wednesday, the most ever seen at one time.

Mayor Brooks thanked the City of Gillette for selling the city a used lawnmower for “pennies on the dollar” of what it is worth.

“If you see a new lawnmower in town, it’s courtesy of our friends in Gillette,” he announced.

Schommer told the council that he had investigated the basement flooding issue reported by resident Ben Neiman at last month’s meeting and found the only potential quick-fix remedy to be a $30,000 proposition. Council Member Ken Denzin commented that the city ought to do something for every affected resident.

The easiest and best solution, according to Brooks, would be to install a grey water line down to the creek for every house to pump into.

“We’re going to do something, but we haven’t really centered on what yet,” he said.

Schommer also documented his team’s efforts to “soften the blow” of the Cole Water Storage Tank coming offline. The problem, he explained, comes from a pressure-reducing valve on the Orr Subdivision that can’t open when the wells kick on.

“We’re trying to make it do something it’s not really designed to do,” he said, adding that he has not heard of the situation causing problems for any residents and the team is using soft starts and monitoring the system to keep it flowing properly.

“We’ve got a lot of time in ensuring water for people who have no loyalty to us and didn’t want to help us at all,” commented the mayor, suggesting that Schommer remind them how much it’s costing the town to do so.

The Public Works Department has planted seven new trees in town and two extra trees in the park, and began spraying for mosquitoes a couple of weeks ago. Schommer also told the council that the lifeguards at the pool are “taking heat” for not passing kids on the test to be allowed in deeper water.

Karla Greaser of Trihydro spoke about current projects, telling the council that a permit to construct has been submitted to the Department of Environmental Quality for the Cole Water Storage Tank to be placed at its new site and the county road permit will be submitted shortly. Schommer added that the city is working on easements with Water Development.

A “substantial” completion walk-through has been performed at the Well 6 Chlorinator Building, said Greaser, and a final punch list is being prepared of small items that need to be corrected, such as repairs on a section of wall above the garage doors. The council approved a change order to extend the contract in the light of delays caused by weather and electrical components being on back order.

A draft of the Level 1 Water Study has been reviewed by the Wyoming Water Development Commission and Schommer and some “fairly minor” changes were made accordingly, said Greaser. A public meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. on July 15 to present the big picture of the study, including problems discovered and proposed solutions.

The transfer station is moving along fairly well, said Schommer, though some of the tin will need to be replaced after the wind bent it. Work on the electrical systems and to install the garage doors will begin shortly and a change order was approved to alter the front of the building to accommodate the scale and improve traffic flow.

Installation of the man hole at the swimming pool is about wrapped up, he continued, and will be completed once the back-ordered electrical components arrive. As the project came in under budget, the city will next decide how to spend the remaining money and will be considering a winter cover and sidewalk among other suggestions.

Trihydro requested a work order be put in place for potential additional services, in case the need comes up between council meetings. The order was approved for $15,000 last year but only $1200 was used; the council passed a motion to renew the work order.

A resolution was passed authorizing Police Chief Todd Fritz to apply for a permit from Wyoming Game and Fish and get an early start on deer control for the year.

In departmental reports, Fritz told the council that the Gold Wing Road Riders Association rally went well, as did the bike rodeo for the kids, and reported 57 calls for the week. Stugelmeyer reported just 12 runs for the month, allowing the team to “sit back and relax a little bit.”

Clerk-Treasurer Kathy Lenz also thanked the council for approving the appointment of Toby Shamion as Deputy Clerk-Treasurer. “Hiring Toby has been the piece that the city has needed,” she said.

The next regular meeting of the council will take place on Monday, August 5.