FORT LARAMIE – The Fort Laramie Town Council convened on Wednesday evening, June 9, for the first regular meeting of June for the council. Mayor Joyce Evans called for an executive session to discuss personnel immediately after the approval of the agenda and the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.
The council returned from executive session and announced Cody Flayler and Joe Brown had both resigned from the council. Due to their resignations, the town had been searching for new members to be appointed to the council. The council voted unanimously to appoint Mike Doan and Ryon Brown to the council.
Of the two, Brown was present and was administered the oath of office before the council and audience by Town Clerk/Treasurer Kim Craft. Doan will be informed of his appointment and be sworn in later.
Evans told the council she had met with representatives from TDS about the contract TDS had presented Evans and the town of Fort Laramie for sanitation and disposal services. Evans said the representatives from TDS negotiated with the town, but very little. She reported the town had gained some ground for small commercial properties, but not with residential.
Evans said TDS was currently operating on the previous contract, now expired, with the town, but was looking to renegotiate. The council discussed the matter, concluding TDS was their only option as the city of Torrington was unable to assist due to contractual obligations with TDS, and Casper and Cheyenne refused to work with Fort Laramie.
The council approved the contract on its first reading. The contract stipulates an increase to rates for residential customers in the amount of approximately $1 to $1.25 per year for the next four years.
The council also approved second readings of ordinances to establish $1 increases to both water and sewage bills. Evans told the council and audience the increase was to keep accounts current with the potential cost of replacement with the water system. She said the town was mandated by law to have an account of this type, to pay for any major repairs needing done to the water and sewage systems, should ne the need arise.
The council approved the second reading of the amended recreational vehicle ordinance. Evans said the ordinance had only been made easier to understand and nothing material in the ordinance had been changed. The ordinance provides people may live in a recreational vehicle for a 14-day period but are required to connect to city utilities after that period.
The council approved the third reading of the proposed budget with no changes. Evans told the audience the council had to make estimations to determine figures for the budget, but they wanted to remain conservative in the budgeting process.
Evans said the town’s Lodging Tax Board representative had fulfilled her term and was no longer able to serve due to term limits. Evans told the council representative was charged with representing Fort Laramie and Goshen County to ensure the proper amount of money comes to Fort Laramie and the decisions made by the board are for the good of the county and the municipalities.
Evans said Julianne Rogers had been recommended to fill that position and would be appointed by the council, should they approve Rogers. The council approved Rogers for the position.
Fort Laramie resident Mary Eshe appeared before the council to request a building permit on her property located at 204 East Otis in Fort Laramie. Eshe said she is planning to build a chain-link fence to keep dogs off her property. She cited several issues with a particular neighbor and hopes the fence will curb some of the issues she has encountered.
The building permit for Eshe was approved.
The council discussed the abandonment of an existing alley in Fort Laramie where one landowner had a permitted well installed. Though the alley had been established at an unspecified time in the past, it had never been maintained or used.
The council approved the abandonment of the alley, thus allowing two landowners to be gifted one-half, each, of the alleyway.
A malt beverage permit was granted for a family gathering on the third and fourth of July in the Fort Laramie Community Center.
The council discussed the American Rescue Plan Act and approved submitting an application for the money to aid the town. Though some of the details about the money remain unknown, the requirements so far set forth by the U.S. Department of Treasury indicate the money will be sent to the town, upon approval, later in June. The town will then be required to send in quarterly reports on the use of the funds. A second payment to the town would then be made in one year.
Public Works Supervisor Jared Loveland reported to the council about a continuing issue with vandalism throughout the town. Loveland explained how locks on bathroom doors had been broken, other pieces of equipment had been broken, corners of buildings had been chiseled away and flowers tromped upon.
Councilmember Laura Curtsinger and Evans voiced concern over the continuing problems and the installation of new playground equipment throughout the town. They expressed worry over damage to the new equipment and discussed the possibility of installing lighting and cameras around the equipment to protect the equipment and pursue adjudication against vandals.
Evans also recommended a stronger law enforcement presence in those areas prone to vandalism and asked citizens to speak up if they say something. She asked citizens to call dispatch and report vandalism if they see it, so it can be stopped.
Deputy Clerk Sherri Hill and Evans reported the “One Summer Day” event would likely not be taking place this year, but they had not heard for certain on the matter. Hill said she was told the town would be receiving a letter explaining why it would not be happening, but the town has not yet received the letter.
The next meeting of the Fort Laramie Town Council will be July 14 at 7 p.m. in the Fort Laramie Community Center.