Lengthy debate ends with no changes

Council fails to pass minors in bar ordinance amendments

LUSK - Proposed amendments to ordinances 8-15-120, 8-15-130 and 8-15-150 which would have aligned city ordinances with state statutes in verbiage regarding the presence of minors in bars and the ability of those minors to be served alcohol failed for lack of motion at Tuesday’s meeting. The drafted amendments would have created even fewer restrictions for those under 21 allowing them to no only coLUSK - Proposed amendments to ordinances 8-15-120, 8-15-130 and 8-15-150 which would have aligned city ordinances with state statutes in verbiage regarding the presence of minors in bars and the ability of those minors to be served alcohol failed for lack of motion at Tuesday’s meeting. me and go freely in bars prior to 9 p.m., but also allowing them to be given alcohol by a parent, legal guardian or legal spouse per the state regulations.

Currently, in order for a minor to be in a bar in Lusk, that bar must have a food service permit allowing minors to enter the establishment for the purpose of eating. They are not allowed to be at the bar itself and are restricted in the areas and services they can access. The changes would have mean that minors could enter and remain in bars as long as accompanied by a parent, legal guardian or legal spouse until 9 p.m.

During discussions Mayor Doug Lytle made the statement, “Personally I tink we over regulate what parents have a choice on but I can’t see myself going into a bar and ordering my son a beer.” When asked his opinion on the proposed changes, interim Chief of Police Jake Gordon discussed various ways the proposed changes would increase the work load of the force including checking for guardianship paperwork, how to determine identification of children, over serving issues and child endangerment.

While the point was made that several surrounding states and even other communities in Wyoming allow minors in bars, councilmen Dean Nelson pointed out that those other states do not allow the minors to actually consume alcohol as could be a possibility in this case nor do they allow smoking in the bars. This means it isn’t an accurate comparison to make when arguing that minors should be allowed in the establishments beyond the food service permit.

As in the past, councilmen Tom Dooper was strongly opposed to the ordinance changes state, “They did allow the kids in {to eat in the bar} and they couldn’t follow the rules so now you don’t want any rules to apply?”

While the draft changes failed for lack of motion, council also directed legal counsel Dennis Meier to draft additional language into the food service permit that clarifies the intent of that permit to ensure that there is no question regarding the activities of the minors that enter a bar for meals.

During department updates Mike Mayville discussed the grant funding that the ambulance service had applied for to try and replace ambulance MS 86. This particular bus has significant mechanical problems and while he has manage to fix it as a stop-gap measure the vehicle is not reliable enough to be sent out of town and is creating an equipment availability issue for the service. There is concern that the grant board will not see this as an emergency from information sent to Mayville stating, “Failure to save to replace assets at the end of useful life does not constitute an emergency.” and emergency status is one of the criteria for the funding. Mayville plans to attend the board hearing in person on Thursday to help the board understand that MS 86 has not had the anticipated lifespan that it should have and it is an emergency for the Lusk community and Niobrara county to not have it fully operational and that while there is some money set aside for a new ambulance it is no where nearly enough.

On September 21 the state performed the annual inspection on the ambulance service. There were no issues with BLS services and only a few minor with ALS but nothing critical. The service has been certified by the state and the application for licensure for 2024 can be submitted.

Royce Thompson reported that the paperwork for the snowplow truck at the airport has been completed but that piece of equipment is over 400 days out following the notice to proceed. The airport continues to sell a lot of fuel. Upgrades will begin happening with electrical systems. Thompson is also now certified to teach CPR and plans to set up a training for anyone interested and the fire department in the next few months.

Greenskeeper Trevor Barner is working to weather proof the outbuildings and continuing to maintain the course. They will keep it fully maintained as long as weather permits and then begin winterizing as needed.

Interim Chief of Police Jake Gordon reported that the anticipated drop in numbers for the fall did not occur. In September the department responded to 329 incidents with 236 calls for service. This is almost 100 over the incidents in September 2022. Chris Smith has been hired as a new officer and Jeremiah Fink is now a certified FTO (Field Training Officer) who will be partnered with Smith for every shift. Xana has been deployed several times and the department is working to keep things moving along as they wait on a new police chief to be selected.

Desiree Matthews-LeLoux, Town Clerk reported that the F66 report has been finished and submitted to the Department of Audit. Her office has also finalized the interim financing and is finishing up that process. The USDA was on sight on Monday to meet about phase 3 of the sewer loan. They requested additional information from the engineers and wanted to execute and secure the loan before the end of the federal fiscal year. The tentative amount of money through the USDA is $3 million and they are working on a contract with AVI for Phase 3 of the project. They are still waiting on a fully executed agreement for the cybersecurity grant and trying to gain a better understanding of assessed valuation.

During Public Works director Todd Skrukrud’s update he stated that there has been a great deal of activity at the transfer station given the number of roofing and siding projects that have been occurring around town from the major storm this summer. The work at the transfer station is finally wrapping up and the town should be able to apply for reimbursement from insurance for that project. The parks will begin to be winterized starting next week and the shop is prepping equipment for winter.

Livestock permits were approved from Carrie Olson and Ty Thompson. There was also discussion regarding potential uses for the Wyoming Community Gas funds of $5,829.59. These funds must be designated before the end of the calendar year. This item was tabled for further discussion.

Resolution 23-24 was passed with allows the town to take out loans for the infrastructure project. This is $4 million for phase three which is the non-grant amount loaned at 1% for 40 years.

Following an executive session for contract discussion it was determined that Skrukrud will continue discussions with Union regarding a lease for a tower sight. Council also agreed to the AVI contract pending changes discussed during executive session.