FORT LARAMIE – The Fort Laramie Town Council met for its monthly meeting on Oct. 13.
Clerk and Treasurer Kim Craft discussed COVID funding the town received from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the opportunity to use it for the fire department. The initial plan was to get an ambulance with the funds, but Fire Chief Pete Howes said they had less of a need for it in comparison to other vehicles.
“After talking to [Howes] it was understood that the fire department definitely needs a first responder rescue rig, and it would fall into that COVID money,” Craft said.
According to Craft, the council did not need to approve it, and a bid was submitted for the grant on Tuesday.
Mayor Joyce Evans said the funds are a match grant so they will need to find a funder to match 25% of the grant. Evans added the enhanced rescue rig will be beneficial to Fort Laramie and the entire area around the town in which the fire department serves.
The council also discussed the personnel policy manual and voted to approve the new changes. One of the biggest issues is one section of the manual states an employee who is absent without approved leave for three consecutive working days is considered to have resigned while another section states two consecutive days. The council agreed to go with three days.
An addition was also made to include Columbus Day/Indigenous Peoples’ Day to the list of holidays when the town hall will be closed.
“I’m not sure why Columbus Day or Indigenous Peoples’ Day… was not listed but it wasn’t, and with the council’s approval we’d like to add that day,” Evans said.
Evans also said she wanted the manual to be approved as soon as possible because they have been essentially operating without one.
“The one we have is a mess right now,” Evans said. “It’s not very clear and hard to use.
The council approved the changes to the manual with the contingency of the attorney’s approval after his review of it.
In other action items, the council approved the officers of the fire department. Evans said in a previous meeting the council acknowledged the officers but did not officially approve them.
The council also approved Patricia Franklin’s open container permit for a baby shower, and Debra Albert’s building permit for a privacy fence and additions to the mud room.
Fire Chief Howes gave an update on the fire department. Howes said they had one fire call for 10 hours and one ambulance call for four hours. There were also two meetings for 16 and a quarter hours.
Craft said the town hall will be handing out bags of candy for students on Friday, Oct. 29.
Tona Mendoza with Pine Ridge Property Owners Association (PRPOA) asked the council if they could have their physical address be the Fort Laramie Community Center. Mendoza said they only need to store their filing cabinet in the community center because they currently move from house to house. According to the club’s bylaws, a physical address must be established in the county. Mendoza said they have board meetings and annual meetings in the community center already and would like to have their files stored there as well.
Evans asked if they often received junk mail, because she was concerned of the town hall staff being flooded with unwanted mail. Mendoza said it is very rare since they have a separate mailing address but agreed to have a dropbox or cubby available for the town hall to put their mail into.
The council approved to negotiate a lease with PRPOA and will allow the filing cabinet to be stored in the large conference room.
The council also discussed a situation in which a family left town with an outstanding water bill of around $1,000. Evans said they received a check, but it bounced. The house is now up for sale and the council plans to put a lien on the house. Councilwoman Kelly Loveland said a lien is the best possible course of action for the town.
The council will reconvene on Oct. 18 for a work session to discuss peak usage with the Wyoming Municipal Power Agency. Evans said the discussion will center around what residents need to do to keep electricity bills from rising.
The next town council meeting will be Nov. 10 at 7 p.m. at the Fort Laramie Community Center.