Town Council holds special meeting for infrastructure planning and ordinance review


LUSK – The Town Council of Lusk met on Friday, May 17 for a special council meeting to discuss a proposed infrastructure project and to meet with potential funding sources for the project. After calling the meeting to order at 10 am the council approved the agenda with a change to move visitors to the top. Agenda was approved with changes.

Ron Bukowski presented information to the council regarding the proposed ordinance change to 9-5-180. Bukowski expressed concerns that the verbiage of the proposed changes would still be insufficient for appropriate levels of control of dogs while out with their owners or guardians. He presented a packet of information on appropriate use of electronic control devices and emphasized that not only were these devices training as opposed to control devices because that they still relied on voice activation and training instead of a physical control. He requested that council consider striking the use of electronic leashes in the ordinance and require a physical leash. Council thanked Bukowski for his research efforts and agreed to review the information provided.

The next item on the agenda was the proposed infrastructure project. AVI Engineering, the USDA and Office of State Lands and Investment all had representatives present to discuss potential options for this project. The council is considering a seven-year, multi-phase project to replace the aging potable water and sewer system within the town. With the exception of a few development projects, most of the pipes underneath the town that support the water system are clay pipes and were installed in the 1920’s and 1930’s. Mayor Lytle emphasized that this project is not an “if” but a “when” project. It must be done. The existing infrastructure is almost 100 years old and no longer sustainable. Every year the Town wastes time and money trying to patch up and fix problem areas but ultimately the system must be upgraded. Additionally, the lack of appropriate sidewalks and gutters has led to a run-off and ground water issue that needs to be addressed at the same time. In order to truly capitalize on the project, while the streets and alleys are torn up, council would like to combine the project with a conduit installation project. This would allow the town to install conduit underneath all sidewalks or alleyways that would allow future fiber option or broadband development within the community. There are currently on a few areas that even have access to broadband and the council would like to expand this system to the entire town. A project of this scope has not been undertaken by the Town of Lusk in over four decades and will require a significant investment of time and money. The very rough estimate based on a level one overview and assessment by AVI is $43 million. This is broken down into annual phases. While the Town is hoping to address some of the need with the existing 1% specific purpose excise tax, they do not want to tie this money up indefinitely in one project and so have begun exploring additional funding options including grants and loans.

Representatives from USDA and Office of State Lands and Investment presented the various options that would be available to the Town. These range from complete grants in the form of the USDA “Reconnect” program for broadband to the Community Development Block Grant from the Wyoming Business council. The USDA and OSLI both stated that they would be willing to come to the table and work with any other entities to ensure that the Town received the best system of funding to complete this project. Multiple options were presented regarding the fastest way to get this project started. There is an existing IUP in place with the OSLI currently for the clean water project for the existing well project. It was recommended that the Town revise this application and include the planning costs for the infrastructure project as it pertains to clean drinking water. This program is a 75% principal forgiveness program that would allow the town to come out with no debt during the planning phase as some money has already been set-aside for this phase. This would allow the project to be started prior to the next special election for the 1%. Many other options were discussed. As council moves forward on this project they will be hosting many public forums and getting information out to the Town to ensure that all concerns of residents are addressed. Additionally, rate studies and needs assessments must begin within the next six months to ensure that when the planning phase is over the council will be ready to move forward with design and construction. It was agreed that Todd Skrukrud and Linda Frye will work with the OSLI to begin this process of requesting additional funding within existing agreements while the council works to get a meeting set up in Cheyenne with all potential funding sources.

Second Reading Ordinance Changes

6-5-190 also know as Jake Brakes was approved on second reading.

9-10-180 Cruelty to Animals was approved on second reading.

9-5-100 Nuisance animal definition approved on second reading.

9-5-150 Chasing vehicles to add pedestrian and bicycles approved on second reading.

9-5-180 Leash Law. Moved and seconded. Discussion included the concerns regarding electronic leashes or devices. It was moved to amend the ordinance to strike any mention of electronic leash or control device and that the leash must be physically attached to the dog. Second reading was approved with amendments

9-5-190 Authority to pursue was approved on second reading.

9-5-220 Notice of impounding was approved on second reading.

9-5-270 Venomous and poisonous reptiles and insects had amended verbiage from first reading, the word “snake” was removed as it was redundant with reptile. This was approved on second reading.

Childcare Committee Update

Hannah Swanbom provided the council with an update on the community committee that was addressing the current childcare shortage. Swanbom was present to find out what information the council would require from the committee in order for the committee to present a formal request for contribution of land for a match-based construction grant for a childcare facility. Clarification was requested for who would own the land and building and what their role would be in the business itself. It was explained that the committee itself is not an entity. The Town of Lusk would need to retain ownership of the land and the building. The land would be used as a match for funding to request a grant from the Wyoming Business Council for economic improvement which would be used to build the child care facility. This building would also be owned by the Town however all maintenance and the business would be done by the entity that is selected to own and operate the childcare function. The town would then have the option to sell the building either to the entity or, should the entity relinquish the building the future, the Town could then sell it to another party. It was determined that committee members will work with the Town Superintendent to determine potential building sites and then present the formal proposal to the Town Council in June. There is a childcare meeting on Tuesday, May 22 at 5 p.m. in Council chambers for anyone interested in attending.Meeting adjourned at 12:15 p.m.

Special Meeting of the Lusk Town Council was called at 12:18 p.m. on Friday, May 17 to discuss the ordinance 12-25-120 Transient Merchant Fees. It was brought to the attention of the council by Hannah Swanbom, Lusk Farmer’s Market Committee member that this ordinance will require vendors at the newly established Farmer’s Market to pay $100 per month to set up their booth for one day at each of the three markets. Since these each fall in a different month this results in a $300 requirement for anyone not a resident of the Town of Lusk and may prove onerous for many vendors. Discussion was held regarding the options that the council has for waiver of or changing this dollar amount.

It was moved to do an ordinance change on first reading to amend the transient merchant fee schedule to read $20 daily, $50 weekly or $100 monthly or to apply to council for special events permits at their discretion. The permit must be displayed visibly while doing business at all times. Changes passed by motion on first reading.

Next council meeting will be June 4 at 5 p.m. Council adjourned at 12:42 p.m.

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