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Logan Dailey/Lingle Guide Council Member Laura Curtsinger listens while Town Clerk/Treasurer Sondra Ellis explains the budgetary standing for the proposed purchase of a new computer for the town judge’s office.

Business as usual at Fort Laramie Town Council

FORT LARAMIE – The Fort Laramie Town Council convened for their January meeting on Wednesday. Council members Ryon Brown, Mike Doan, Laura Curtsinger and Kelly Loveland were present with Town Clerk/Treasurer Sondra Ellis. Mayor Joyce Evans was absent.

Curtsinger, serving in the capacity of mayor pro tempore, called the meeting to order, followed by the approval of the agenda, the previous three meeting’s minutes and the consent agenda. 

Doan presented his report on the town’s emergency management, including a resource available to Fort Laramie and Goshen County residents, CodeRED. 

CodeRED is an emergency notifications system which sends a text message, phone call or email detailing emergencies throughout the community which could affect citizens. CodeRED is available free of charge. 

To sign up for CodeRED services, visit the Fort Laramie Town Hall or and click on the CodeRED icon.

Curtsinger applauded Doan’s effort in keeping the townspeople informed of the recent severe cold and dangerous weather. 

Curtsinger applauded Doan’s efforts in making townspeople aware of the recent severe cold and winter weather hazards by posting information throughout town. 

Curtsinger said the council had approved the appointment of former Town Clerk/Treasurer Kim Craft to the temporary position of grant manager during a special meeting held Dec. 14. The appointment was made to provide the current clerk/treasurer, Ellis, with training and support for the town’s grant writing and management processes.

Craft will begin her appointment beginning Jan. 15.

“The point for this position is to help Sondra move into all of our grants, the ones we are starting, the ones we are in the middle of, the ones we are ending, to get her up to date on this,” Curtsinger said. “For now, it is for three months. We are going to reassess at the end of the three months to see if she is feeling like she is needing more or what we need to do there. This starts Jan. 15 and ends April 15.”

The council approved paying retirement and taxes out of the payroll liabilities account. 

“These are the other two of the four payroll liabilities which are going to be due before our council meetings,” Ellis explained. “These are the last two that I am going to need pre-approved into payroll liabilities as a standing approval to pay these on time.”

The council approved to pay the Black Hills Energy bill through their budget offering as Black Hills Energy would not change the billing cycle dates due to their existing operations. Each month, the town will pay $436 for one bill and $601 for the other bill. The approval was made to ensure the bill would be paid on time each month, as this bill also comes before the date of the council meetings. 

The council approved the payment to David Bell of $300 for his water and wastewater licensure use through June of 2023. The $300 accounts for $150 towards his wastewater license and $150 for his water license.

Curtsinger said another discussion would be had, should the licensure use still be needed beyond June 2023. 

Town Judge Neal Stone submitted a request to the council for a new computer due to outdated software and problems with his current computer. 

Ellis said the town currently pays $5,000 for their information technology services and $1,000 is allocated towards new equipment. The $1,000 is contractually granted to the town but is only available as a “use it or lose it” item. The $1,000 does not accumulate each year it is not spent. 

Ellis said the town’s service provider has a computer on-hand they would be willing to sell to the town. The computer would cost more than $1,000, but the town would only be required to pay the amount in excess of $1,000 due to the contractual terms. 

The council approved to buy a new computer for the judge’s office. The amount responsible to be paid by the town was around $500, outside of the $1,000. 

Richard and Debra Albert presented a request for a building permit. The Alberts want to place a 2011 single-wide home on a plot at 114 South Park Road. 

The council looked over the documents presented and approved the permit. 

Public Works Supervisor Jared Loveland was absent for the meeting and had not prepared a report for the council. Ellis said Loveland and his staff had not spent much time outside the office due to the prevailing winter weather and road construction throughout the town. With the obstacles mentioned, Loveland and his team worked to ensure the town hall was operational and maintained. 

Fire Chief Pete Howes was also absent, so Brown presented Howes’ report on behalf of the fire department. Brown said the department had responded to six emergency medical services (EMS) calls in November and two EMS calls in December, along with one fire call. 

Loveland added to the report, indicating the Christmas program hosted by the Fort Laramie Volunteer Fire Department, Fort Laramie Police Department, Lingle Volunteer Fire Department and Lingle Police Department was a success. The program aided 11 local families and 31 children. 

The program raised around $5,500. The children were provided with a gift they wanted, a gift they needed and a gift to read. Families were provided with a gift card to a local grocery store. 

Police Chief Michael Staiger echoed Loveland’s delight with the Christmas program and presented his report, stating he had responded to 45 calls to service, made 31 traffic stops and arrested one person pursuant to an arrest warrant. 

Next weekend, Staiger plans to get his patrol vehicle outfitted with new decals and new emergency lighting.

Lastly, Curtsinger noted the next meeting of the Fort Laramie Town Council would be held Feb. 8 at 7 p.m. in the Fort Laramie Community Center. Additionally, town hall will be closed for the observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, Jan. 16.

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