Council discusses 22-23 budget


FORT LARAMIE – The Fort Laramie Town Council reviewed the 2022-2023 budget during the regular meeting on Wednesday.

Councilwoman Kelly Loveland was absent from the meeting.

Clerk Treasure Kim Craft went over the budget with the council and noted the year to date was up to February and there were still four months left which was the reason for many of the lines being lower than the projections.

Much of the discussion was centered on job salaries including a full-time police officer and a building inspector. According to Mayor Joyce Evans, the town adopted the universal building code in 2015 requires a building inspector to make all inspections on new houses and home projects. While the council agreed there is a need for the position, there was discussion on the method of payment. The recommendation from Mayor Evans was a flat monthly rate of $150 a month which could be renegotiated based on the actual workload. Councilman Ryon Brown said there may not be enough projects to warrant a monthly rate, but the council made an initial agreement to accept the proposed rate.

The council also agreed to a 4% increase to cost of living for town employees to offset some of the 10% inflation. All changes to the budget were not officially approved by the council and will be voted on first reading at the next regular meeting. Evans said they will need to hold a special meeting before the end of June to satisfy the three reading requirements. The budget was tabled along with the approval of a building inspector and the position’s wage as well as the approval of contributions to Wyoming Child and Family Development and the senior center since the items relate directly to the budget.

In other action items, the council approved a liquor license to Doug Swingholm, the new owner of Vickie’s Saloon. According to Swingholm, he and his wife have been running the bar for 13 days.

The council also approved the mayor’s proclamation to make April 2022 Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention month.

Before discussing an open container permit application, Mayor Evans appointed Councilwoman Laura Curtsinger as Mayor Pro Tempore and left the room since the person applying for the permit was her daughter and it was for Evans’s 50th wedding anniversary. The council approved the permit as well as moving forward on the Pioneer well #1 project and two resolutions relating to Phase IV, V and VI of the water/sewer project.

During discussion items, Fire Chief Pete Howes said they are getting ready for the Easter egg hunt on Saturday which will take place at 1 p.m. at the park as well as the Easter Breakfast on Sunday morning from 7-11 a.m. at the community center.

Officer Michael Staiger said the body camera system was put in place and is ready to go. Staiger thanked the council for purchasing the body cameras and said there has been little police activity besides some traffic stops.

Mayor Evans gave an update on Phase III of the water/sewer project and said they can begin purchasing materials for part of the project and will do the entire project after approval from the State Loan Investment Board (SLIB) in June.

Evans also talked about the recent Wyoming Municipal Power Agency (WMPA) meeting and said the budget was not passed as scheduled due to a significant drought in the Colorado River basin. Evans said they will look at the budget at next week’s meeting as they are trying to avoid raising rates despite the challenges from the basin.

In other information, Evans said the antenna has been moved to the water tower on Monday. Evans also talked about the 1% tax which still has not been voted on by the county commissioners. Each municipality as well as the county have proposed projects and Evans is hoping the commissioners will vote at the next regular meeting on Tuesday. The town of Fort Laramie’s three projects come in at $350,000 which is equal to the amount the town contributes to the county according to Evans.

Steve Bruce, a civil engineer with Enberg Miller Engineers, addressed the council and said they are hoping to give “competitive proposals” for upcoming projects in the town.

During announcements, Evans said the town was notified by the USDA of national and local news coverage for the new rescue rig which the USDA provided funding for. 

The next regular meeting is May 11 at 7 p.m.

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