LUSK – The Lusk Town Council convened for their regular meeting on Feb. 3, where members presented service awards to town employees.
Bruce Himes, streets and sanitation supervisor, and James Santistevan, emergency management coordinator were awarded for 30 years of service to the town. Rory Norberg and Cory Wilcox, both of public works, were honored for 20 years and Town Clerk Linda Frye was honored for 15 years.
“Without you, this town wouldn’t go around,” said Mayor Doug Lytle.
The meeting’s agenda, bills, treasurer’s report and minutes from the Jan. 5 council meeting were all approved as presented.
The council unanimously approved a liquor license transfer from Rex and Julie Tollman to Joseph R. Carpenter.
The council opted to table Jay Hammond’s request for a variance. He requested the ability to split his shop from the house and attached garage and sell the house and garage. Hammond said it could be an opportunity for affordable housing for someone.
The two buildings Hammond wanted to split are roughly 30 inches apart from one another, he said, substantially less than the current zoning laws that require at least five feet between residences.
Town Attorney Dennis Meier suggested reexamining the code book if the council wants to grant a variance in the situation. Lytle said he and the council will look into the situation more and revisit it in a subsequent meeting.
Departments provided updates during the second meeting of 2021.
Santistevan told the council Niobrara County Public Health will hold walk-in COVID-19 vaccine clinics each Thursday at the shooting sports club at the Fairgrounds from 1-4 p.m. The Wyoming Department of Health allocated 400 vaccines to the county this month, and NCPH plans to use them all. Vaccine priorities adjusted so residents 65 years of age and older are now eligible.
Niobrara County is the only county in Wyoming to record zero active COVID-19 cases as of Feb. 2.
Royce Thompson said in terms of the Lusk Electric Department, they are preparing for summer upgrades. The airport project is slowed down due to the slow shipment of materials.
Police Chief Bo Krein told the council the police department responded to 189 total incidents in January. He presented annual statistics for 2020, during which the PD responded to 2,958 total incidents, resulting in 365 citations and 32 arrests.
“We definitely picked up a little bit of activity in the year 2020,” Krein said. “We’re seeing a little bit more stability right now.”
Under old business, the council voted to amend charter ordinance 1-004 after a second reading that included the addition of a Homeland Security grant for an off-road tactical vehicle.
In new business, the council received notice from the state of Wyoming of a sales tax hold on a bar in town that did not pay their sales tax.
The state put the bar on sales tax hold and ceased alcohol sales from the liquor division, Lytle said. The bar’s owner asked them to set up a payment plan.
The town has the authority to suspend the license if the licensee doesn’t pay sales tax, according to Lytle. Lytle said the owner is at least 60 days behind on sales tax.
“Right now, with the license, they’re serving no help to this community as far as sales tax purposes,” he said.
The bar owner’s proposed payment arrangement to take care of the arrears was approved by the council.
In other business, the council approved the extension of a contract for solid waste transport with Underground Enterprises, LLC, renewed a hay contract with Louis Hammer and renewed the Golf Pro Shop contract with Dennis Green.
Ordinance 11-20-800, providing for delinquent account procedures and repealing ordinance 11-20-810, was amended on first reading.
“We will disconnect water and sewer at the same time as electricity because it is under the same bill,” Lytle said.
The council also approved on first reading ordinance no. 11-25-130, an ordinance amending an existing ordinance that establishes the payment date, penalty, disconnect procedure and owner responsibility for payment of tenant utilities on first reading.
In the event of a delinquent account in the name of the tenant, the owner of the premises, being served by the electrician, will be liable for the delinquent charges. Services shall not be restored to the property until delinquent charges and penalty and reconnect fees are paid in full.
“We wrote off a lot of money for delinquent accounts in the past,” Lytle said. “This is going forward, no grandfather clause on this one.”
Ordinance no. 11-25-140, providing for electric account deposits, reconnect and temporary service connect fees and payment of arrearages, was amended on first reading.
The next meeting of the Lusk Town Council will be held March 2 at 5 p.m.