New beginnings for city council

Council begins the year with annual duties, moves ahead with projects

By Sarah Pridgeon

As new members Jana McLean and Joe Wilson took their oaths of office last Tuesday, the Sundance City Council turned its attention to the clockwork that keeps the city running. In preparation for the year ahead, discussions turned to projects both ongoing and upcoming.

Mayor Paul Brooks presents April Gill with a plaque for her years of service as a member of the Sundance City Council.
Mayor Paul Brooks presents April Gill with a plaque for her years of service as a member of the Sundance City Council.

Clerk Treasurer Kathy Lenz delivered the news that funding to demolish the old Central Office building has been included in House Bill 58 for consideration at the upcoming session. “Our money is there,” she told the council.

Mayor Paul Brooks elaborated that the funding has been included as a line item, which can easily be dropped as the session goes on. The city will watch the bill closely, he said.

“Hopefully, between us, we can keep that language in there,” he said, noting that, in the end, demolishing the building while the landfill is open will save the state money.

“In my estimation, it’s really one of those things that sells itself.”

Jason Vreeland presented Trihydro’s initial work to route new sections of walking path through the city and asked for guidance on which parts the council would like cost estimates for. Brooks explained that the council would like kids to be able to walk to school from the Scheldorf subdivision while only crossing a couple of streets.

The city is not going to have the funding to get it all done in one fell swoop, he continued, so it would be logical to extend what is already present. Brooks asked the council to take a look at the paths to see whether they would prefer a route near or away from the road, across the creek or elsewhere and so on.

Later in the meeting, the council approved the mayor’s signature on a grant that will leverage consensus money to fund walking path additions.

Police Chief Marty Noonan described the planned road closures for Winterfest, telling the council that 2nd to 4th on Main Street will be closed from February 16 at 11 p.m. to facilitate hauling snow. It will reopen on the afternoon of February 19.

As road closures are now within the police chief’s purview, no action from the council was necessary. Noonan told the council he is comfortable with the closures as they will have a minimal impact on navigaton.

Jason Vreeland of Trihydro updated the council on current projects, stating that surveyors were in town over the previous two weeks to conduct a boundary survey and perform courthouse research for realignment of the new water distribution line on the east end, on the southern part of the fairgrounds, and an alternate for the line to the pump house.

Vreeland presented a work order for engineering services during the coming calendar year and a change order for the additional surveying. The mayor suggested that replacement of a four-inch line that is reducing pressure up to Sundance West could be cost eligible for the project and said that bids for this project could come in at 65 percent of a year ago due to surplus labor.

The council discussed a contract for a water slide that the city is interested in purchasing for the pool. Hughes gave his opinion that, as Burbach Aquatics has performed all the research and the city has only seen pictures, it would be best to request a letter to confirm that the company has seen the slide in person and it is in good working condition.

In departmental reports, Noonan stated that it has been a “rewarding first year” for him as head of the department, with 31 calls in December and a total of 507 calls over the year that were service-oriented in at least a third of cases.

In terms of major crime, he said, the city was relatively quiet. Two auto burglaries took place in one night, one firearm was stolen and one sexual assault took place, which goes to trial in February. It was a successful year in many ways, Noonan said, describing how the department has collaborated with all the other law enforcement agencies on training, allowing Sundance’s officers to further their education while staying local.

Things are better in the fire department, said Fire Chief Chris Tomford. The team has picked up one new member and three new applicants, he said, complementing the Public Works Department on its work on the new office.

Public Works Director Mac Erickson shared that the majority of his time recently has been spent tracking a water leak, hoping to isolate and shut it off without any resident being out of water. Unfortunately, through necessity, the water to several residences needed to be shut off.

Brooks praised the department for ensuring that even those people in the higher parts of the town who were affected by the leak and short of water for a few days were still able to get drinking water. He also praised the department for coming in during the holiday break to ensure the streets were cleared of snow.