LUSK – Mayor Doug Lytle called the regular meeting of the Lusk town council to order at 5 p.m. on July 7. The agenda, bills, treasurer’s report and minutes were all approved as presented.
Larry Halligan, owner and operator of the Silver Dollar Bar, spoke about the decision to allow minors into the dining areas of bars.
According to Halligan, when he spoke with the state, based on the dispensing room definition he should be able to have minors in the Silver Dollar dining areas with their parents during kitchen hours. However, the most recent interpretation of the local ordinances was unclear for the definition of dispensing room. Halligan requested the council review the ordinances and consider if this could be changed.
Lytle reminded Halligan that an ordinance change was proposed in 2019 and failed on third reading. The Mayor also requested town attorney Dennis Meiers review the ordinance and clean up the definition of dispensing room and bring it back to the council. Halligan is welcome to bring a proposed change before the council and begin working through the process of ordinance change.
Joseph Bleming spoke with the council regarding the rezoning of a lot located adjacent to the port of entry and to the north. Bleming owns the two lots on the north side of the port of entry. He has started the process of establishing a towing business and needs a lot to place towed vehicles inside of a fenced tow yard.
To do this the zoning must be changed. Blaming said he has already cleaned up the lots significantly and that he has no plan to just collect a bunch of junk. He will have a tall privacy fence surrounding the tow yard but must have the area rezoned in order to obtain the storage and salvage permit necessary for his business.
Council advised Bleming to begin the application process for rezoning, which includes a series of actions to notify neighbors, collect their consent and hold a hearing in front of the council. Council nominated Todd Skrukrude and Linda Frye to conduct the zoning assessment and begin that process.
• Mackenzie Lyons, Assistant Manager at the pool, reported they have seen high utilization of the pool most days. Numbers should show the pool is doing well and averaging 40-50 patrons per day. Alumni weekend was a peak business weekend with up to 80 people in the pool area at one time. Swimming lessons are being conducted differently this year and the first session was the third week in June with 20 students. They have held two training sessions for lifeguards and have another one coming up.
• Green’s keeper Sean Duffy told the council the broadleaf spraying is done. Green certification was done as well. The primary rough mower went down and he has parts ordered. Staff are using a different mower that was repurposed. Since the repairs to the irrigation system at the beginning of June everything mechanical is working well but there continues to be issues. The well situation needs revisited. The creek near the pump station has dried up and there are some signs the water pressure and levels needed for the centrifugal pump to work are decreasing. Duffy thinks a different system needs to be explored for longer term water solutions.
• James Santistevan reported vandalism over the 4th of July weekend. The cost is around $500 to fix that. Regular maintenance and business as usual. Putting another camera at the park and discussing a system but it will require an upgrade to the electrical system.
• Emergency management preparing for Legend of Rawhide. Will have a meeting in September to do the second half of the plan done by October.
• Chief Bo Krein said the police department responded to 273 total incidents in the month of June 273. This is down from the previous month but up from the previous year. They have seen a large increase in traffic. The department continues to see issues with people driving down the parking lanes on Main Street and Krein intends to talk with WYDOT about better signage. People are passing on the right at intersections and this increases the risk of collision and accidents
Klein reported that several new issues have come to his attention. The department received a call on nuisance bees from local hives. According to state statute bees are considered livestock and subsequently according to local ordinance the owners of hives must register and receive approval to have a hive in town. State statute makes it a misdemeanor crime to have an unregistered apiary. Krein will be looking into some ordinance changes for these issues.
Another problem is individuals using metal detectors in the parks and digging up areas of sod. While not banned by ordinance, there are concerns about people tearing up the parks, both for aesthetic and safety reasons. Santistevan has concerns about people digging in the parks with water lines and electrical lines not being buried very deeply.
Dogs at the country club has been a problem as well. Mayor said the country club should fall under city ordinances. The council had agreed that dogs can be out there before 8 a.m. and after 7 p.m. and will be required to be leashed.
Krein’s department is working with the Sheriff’s department to review plans for the Legend of Rawhide. They also continue to enforce lawn ordinances and are issuing citations after several warnings. Krein received a preliminary award notice for a homeland security grant for an ATV to help with events and all terrain searches. He will know for sure in September if they will be receiving that grant.
• Linda Frye, Town Clerk presented the council with a thank you piece from the Lusk Early Childhood Center for the town’s continuing support. Auditors will be coming early on Aug. 24 and expect to be here for three days. It is the same company as last year. She placed an ad in the paper for a part-time utility billing clerk and received nine applications. She will be conducting interviews. Her office is finishing up year-end for fiscal year 19-20 and will be creating USDA reports
The town will host a public meeting, set for 6 p.m. Thursday, July 30, in council chambers as part of the process for SLIB loans the town applied for. The town must advertise 15 days before the meeting.
• Public Works Director Todd Skrukrud reported his staff have started dirt patching and continue getting weeds sprayed and cleaned up. Getting ready for the pageant parade on Main Street. He has received the WYDOT agreement and will begin reviewing. Easements that were required are in and filed. Easements for other projects are also signed and filed. Electric replaced 13 poles in the line upgrade. His department is still working with the DEQ on a new transfer station permit. This issue must be resolved by Aug. 8.
There is a situation at Flanders Field in the cemetery. The American Legion would like to make it handicap accessible. Skrukrud and Frye are unable to find any paper trail for the ownership of this memorial but think the American Legion was deeded that area by the town. Since there are no documents to confirm this they are not sure what the next step needs to be.
Pump stations had a pump go down on the east station. Had a back up and the second station isn’t doing well. John Eddy received a quote for a rebuild which would have been $16,000 and was able to find a brand new pump for $11,000. The department will be working with Linda to find the money in the budget. Items are getting dropped down the waste lines at WWC that are causing problems. Will be looking at replacing those pumps on a rotating basis.
Board requested Meier draft an amendment to the cemetery digging ordinance and the livestock permit process for bees. Also revise the ordinance on dispensing areas.
Ordinances 11-20-740, 11-15-410 and 11-5-200 were all approved on third reading.
The resolution approving the proposition for imposition of a 1% Specific Purpose Excise Tax in Niobrara County to be placed on the ballot at the primary election November 3 was approved.
• Councilmen Dean Nelson’s motion for Lusk to be declared a Second Amendment Sanctuary City failed for lack of second
• Council approved resolution 20-11 authorizing transfers for the fiscal year budget to comply with state statutes.
• Council accepted the bid from Skeeter and Carla Shoultz of $80,000 for the building located in the Lusk Business Park in which Shoutz currently have their eye clinic.
• Council approved a temporary open container permit to Kathy Coon for a church picnic July 9. They also approved a temporary open container permit for Danny Matney during the adult softball league games on Monday nights 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. with a reminder that clean up must occur to retain the permit.
• Asset management plan-Wastewater Treatment Long Term Stability: Informational for the council. Needed one for the clean water plan for the loan. Stan Miller wants a letter certifying the town is implementing it. This is a draft that needs to be reviewed. It will be further amended with John Eddy and Todd Skrukrud and then a final plan will be presented to the council.