LINGLE – The Lingle Town Council convened for the first regular meeting of September Wednesday night at the Lingle Community Center.
After approving the agenda, the council held an open forum and discussed a variance proposed by Wendy Westman to allow her to own three Nigerian Pigmy Dwarf Goats.
Town clerk Ritch Reyes said she had submitted everything required to the town and only had to pay for the advertising as they had just received the bill. Reyes affirmed the 10-day period had surpassed, all neighbors were notified and all approved with no objections.
Councilman Welte asked Westman if the goats were male or female. Westman told Welte she had three males, but they were all neutered.
Mayor George Siglin asked the members of the crowd had anything to say.
Town resident Brian Trout said, “they don’t bother me…no problem.”
Town resident Lois Tobin said, “I didn’t even know they were in town.”
Councilwoman Brandie Cook asked if there would be a problem with people having ducks in town, and also presented the question of what other matters would be brought up if they should approve the variance.
“The chickens already did open this up,” town maintenance supervisor Larry Haeffelin added.
“As far as the variance is concerned because it is on a case-by-case situation, they’re considered on a case-by-case situation. So, one does not set a precedent for another,” councilman Steve Edwardson explained.
The variance request was set to a vote and the council voted 4-1, with Siglin being the single no-vote, in favor of approving the variance, with the exception she would be limited to owning only two goats upon the sale, transfer, passing or other disposition of the third goat.
Siglin told the council and audience he had recently attended a meeting of the Goshen County Commission where the five mayors of the local municipalities presented their desire to move forward with the possibility of creating a sixth penny tax in Goshen County.
Siglin said one commissioner was dead set against any additional taxes, but the other two were open to the idea and were willing to consider it. Siglin did not identify which commissioner was in opposition to the tax. He also noted the prospective tax could not move forward to a vote by the citizens without the approval of the county board.
The council also listened to an introduction by Lingle-Fort Laramie Conservation District’s board member and urban district representative, Jenna Meeks.
“I just want to introduce myself as the urban representative on that board,” Meeks said. “In my short tenure, we just haven’t really been reaching out to the towns as much as we should have to see if there is any interest from the town and residents to improve soil and water and wildlife conservation in an urban-type setting.”
Meeks encouraged the town and council to reach out to her or other board members with regard to matters involving conservation within the urban setting of the town of Lingle.
Edwardson presented the bills for the town. He said the town had total revenues of $153,495.39, total expenses of $131,493.82, an August margin of $22,001.57 and a 2021-22 fiscal year margin of -$58,708.69.
Edwardson said sales tax revenue had been increasing throughout the year due to sales tax being received by the town from online sales.
Endra Andrews, Lingle’s police chief, reported she would be attending training and then had an arraignment in district court Sept. 22 at 9 a.m.
Lingle’s fire chief, Kasey Bangerter, was absent, so councilman A.J. Lambert reported the fire department had responded to one fire call and 10 ambulance calls, six in Fort Laramie because their ambulance is shut down. Lambert said Lingle’s ambulance had been covering Fort Laramie since May.
Town attorney Anna Barnes said she recently prosecuted an assault and battery trial where the defendant found guilty and had another case where a defendant had filed an appeal with a vicious dog case. She said she is currently waiting to hear back from the court on that matter.
Barnes said she would also be present for two nuisance trials scheduled for Sept. 22.
Ritch Reyes reported paperwork he had submitted to the federal government after the town received federal funds. He said the Burns insurance policy had also been activated and the town was renewed in the agreement with LEAP, the low energy assistance program.
Brandi Hill reported the pool would be closing for the summer this weekend after a private party to be held Saturday. Hill said there had been a significant number of homeschooled students who spent time at the pool.
Hill told the council she had four lifeguards who were able to work more if they wanted to keep the pool open, but the matter was not discussed further.
Hill and Siglin discussed a proposal from Burbach Aquatics to inspect the pool and make recommendations about repairing or enhancing the pool.
The initial visit would cost $2,650 with $2,500 reimbursable expenses. The on-site visits would allow the group to make determinations as to what the town could and could not do with the pool. Siglin asked the council if they would like to take $5,000 out of the donations received for the pool to pay for the first phase of the proposed project, including an estimate of the operating expenses for the pool.
Siglin said the town has several other projects they need to consider, but also expressed this could be something the sixth penny tax could be used, if it were to be approved.
The council unanimously agreed to take the $5,000 out of donations and set it for payment for a visit from Burbach Aquatics.
Siglin also said there was the possibility of sharing expenses with an unidentified rural Nebraska panhandle town but was unable to provide more information on this.
Siglin reminded the council to consider the Main Street Program donation of $250 as they have budgeted for the veterans’ banners program as they had asked for support again this year.
Siglin also requested a new computer for the police chief as her computer was outdated and no longer supported by Windows. The cost of the new computer was $1,600, but Goshen Information Technology agreed to pay half for the new computer. The council approved the purchase.
Edwardson pointed out 13 chairs in a circle in the back of the room. He explained he had arranged the chairs in an attempt to show tribute to the 13 American service members who lost their lives in Afghanistan.
Lastly, Siglin said the governor’s office, as of Sept. 7, reported 230 hospitalized COVID patients,
Nearly as many were hospitalized through the surge of last November, according to Siglin.
“The stuff is going around. Watch your P’s and Q’s. Don’t be surprised if at our next meeting we are spread out. You may have to wear a mask to come. We have to take precautions to protect ourselves,” Siglin said. “As a Mayor, I would encourage everyone in this community to go get a shot.”