Meeting decorum, homeowner responsibilities discussed at Lingle council meeting

Logan Dailey/Lingle Guide Former councilmember Steve Edwardson addresses the Lingle Town Council on Wednesday about matters of civility during council meetings after issues stemming from the previous meeting.

LINGLE – The Lingle Town Council convened for its second meeting of June on Wednesday, June 22. Councilmembers A.J. Lambert, Kathy Wilhelm, Brandie Cook, Micah Foster and Mayor Al Unverzagt were present. Town clerk Ritch Reyes, pool manager Brandi Hill, town supervisor Larry Haeffelin, town attorney Anna Barnes and police Chief Endra Andrews were present, as well. Fire Chief Kasey Bangerter was absent.

Former councilmember Steve Edwardson addressed Mayor Unverzagt about council meeting decorum. He posed concern over the previous meeting which Edwardson said was a “free-for-all.”

“What are the ground rules going to be for allowing participation of the audience in the regular meeting, not in public comment, but in the regular meeting,” Edwardson asked.

Councilmember Micah Foster recommended tabling the matter, but discussion prevailed on the matter.

“I think the reason I am here is because of them (the public), and they have the right to speak,” Wilhelm said.

The council agreed unanimously to have the public raise their hands if they have input for the council. The mayor will then call upon those who have input, and each person will be afforded two minutes to speak.

Lingle resident Charles Koozer addressed the council about homeowner responsibilities pertaining to weeds in alleyways.

“Why are our alleys not being sprayed,” Koozer asked.

Koozer said the town had sprayed weeds in the alley in the past, but that practice has since stopped. He also questioned how elderly people and others incapable of taking care of their alleys were supposed to take care of their alleyways.

Currently, Lingle ordinance 3-3-1 reads, “It shall be the duty of any owner, lessee, occupant or agent having control of any lot or premises to mow or otherwise destroy and remove weeds and tall grass, as determined in the sole discretion of the town supervisor, that may grow upon such lot or premises as well as upon any parking space between such property and the street and upon that portion of any alley adjoining such premises.”

Koozer argued the property in the alleyways belongs to the town and should be the responsibility of the town to maintain.

Unverzagt asked town attorney Barnes to look into the matter to determine who is responsible for the weed management in alleyways. The matter was set to be discussed at a later time, pending Barnes research into the issue.

Kurt Sittner, operations supervisor for TDS Collection Service, was present to discuss questions about a fuel surcharge on Lingle’s bill for waste collection services.

Sittner explained the fuel surcharge as an added charge to the town’s dump services due to the rising cost of fuel across the nation.

“It depends upon market value for the fuel,” Sittner explained. “The fuel is purchased in bulk, and we will be going off market price.”

Sittner explained how TDS goes to Maverik for its fuel acquisition and the price of the surcharge is dependent upon what they pay for fuel there.

“If Biden’s fuel relief plan would enact, it could save money for the town,” Sittner said.

Bill Carr presented a request to the council to continue the tradition of the Lingle-Fort Laramie Lions Club to host its annual “Community in the Park” on Aug. 10 at 6 p.m.

Carr expressed concern over the purpose of the gathering and past observations. He explained how they have used the event as a fundraiser for the Lingle Volunteer Fire Department as the meal is provided with a free-will donation.

“The only thing people see is the word, ‘free,’” Carr said. “We may have to put a price on per plate. It’s a shame to feed 200-300 people and you break even.”

Carr said the previous year’s event had received enough donations to break even, but nothing more.

The council agreed to have the event at the park and bandshell with the Lingle pool open, free of charge, and the town will cover the cost of lifeguards for swimmers.

Chief Andrews reported she has been dealing with some domestic issues and finishing up training. Attorney Barnes reported she has been working on two past customers who have unpaid utility bills exceeding $200 each. The town has not received any communication from these people. Two other accounts were forgiven due to the cost to pursue the remaining balance outweighing the amount of money owed.

Pool manager Brandi Hill said the pool is running well and they had a great turnout, approximately 60 people, for the previous week’s movie showing of “Top Gun.”

Hill said the pool is currently trying to find a time to screen another movie.

“Splish, Splash, Pool and Park Bash” is set to occur July 16 at 10 a.m. The event will feature sand volleyball, a cornhole tournament, family games and food and craft vendors. The pool intends to file a request for a malt beverage permit for the entirety of the park, permitting open containers brought by attendees of the event.

Lingle resident Charlotte Cook posed a question about the town’s nuisance ordinance. Barnes told Cook one matter was held in abeyance and the other complaint was withdrawn. She also said the ordinance is being reviewed due to concerns over its writing, establishing the current ordinance maintains a nuisance violation as a criminal violation.

Barnes said she and the new councilmembers and mayor would be meeting to discuss a new ordinance with a recommendation to rewrite the ordinance as a civil ordinance.

Cook also asked Chief Andrews about matters in Lingle when she is on vacation. Andrews told Cook the Goshen County Sheriff’s Office and Wyoming Highway Patrol handle matters of law enforcement concern when she is not present with the limitation being they are legally unable to enforce municipal ordinances.

Cook told Andrews a dog had killed a cat last week and she suspects the cat belonged to her. Andrews told Cook, “Cats are feral animals under state statute, and we can’t do anything with cats. If you have a pet cat, it’s your responsibility to keep the cat inside.”

Clerk Reyes reported the town had received its final distribution from the American Rescue plans fund in the amount of 39,641.07.

Haeffelin reported the town’s emergency siren was to be repaired as they have been unable to enable the siren remotely. Additionally, he reported the town’s well is being worked on and work is progressing accordingly.

The council had a third and final reading of both ordinances No. 361 and No. 362. Ordinance No. 361 established the town’s budget and ordinance No. 362 established the fuel surcharge rate on waste collection services pursuant to an agreement between TDS and the town.

The next meeting of the Lingle Town Council will be Wednesday, July 6 at 7 p.m. in the Lingle Community Center.

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