Council supports children’s well-being

LUSK – The regular town council meeting on April 5 was held following the public hearing for renewal of retail liquor license for The Pub, Spirits, Lusk Liquor and the Silver Dollar Bar. Limited Club Licenses for the Country Club and Lusk Elks as well as the Bar and Grill license for the Pizza Place and a new restaurant license for Rough’n’Refined were also included in the hearing. No member of the public commented on the renewal of these licenses or expressed concern regarding the aforementioned businesses. It was also noted that no establishment has so far submitted the request for a permit to allow minors in bars for which an ordinance change was passed in March.

The regular agenda commenced following the hearing. Martha Bridge, Center Coordinator for the Wyoming Child and Family Development  Lusk Early Childhood Center, a pre-school student Amy Kate Hansen and incoming coordinator Kailene White, were all present to request the town renew their pledge of $1,000 to the center as part of the requirement for being a child development center (CDC) that WCFD show specific community partnership. Amy Kate presented the council with a framed drawing as a thank you for council choosing to renew their support. In Niobrara county alone 72 children were screened at the last two free screening events. District-wide the program screens over 1,000 children a year. 

Gregg Matney and Danny Matney were present to inquire about the process to purchase a lot in the business park south of town. They specifically wondered if some of the covenants outlined in the business park statutes were at all flexible regarding the paving of driveways, completion of business construction timelines and allowances for signage. 

Council consulted with attorney Dennis Meier and agreed that in the bid for the property Matney could request a  waiver or change to that in the purchase agreement. Per Wyoming statute established for public property, the property in question must be advertised for sale.  Council can then consider all offers for the property. If the purchase proposal proves economic impact on the community, council may waive the rest of the bid process and hold a public hearing and sell the property to the purchaser by resolution as they did for both Family Dollar and the communications company. 

In department updates councilman Tom Dooper asked why the golf course is only advertising for summer help age 18 years and up. Linda Frye stated that the child labor laws restrict the work that anyone under 18 can do. While 17 years and older can run mowers and other yard tools, they are not allowed to operate a motor vehicle. Dooper sought  clarification on whether a golf cart was included in the definition of “motor vehicle”. He pointedly stated that his son used to work at the golf course in high school to which Meir, Skrukrud and Frye all stated that child labor laws had changed since then. He continued to ask whether they could consider 17-year-olds at a minimum and Duffy was given instructions to hire a 17-year-old if they were a good candidate. Duffy also reported that the irrigation tests run so far have not been satisfactory but they continue to work on the system and prepare for golf season.

Animal control officer Doug Jergenson reported that a higher than average number of cats were being live-trapped. He also noted that the number of cats at large complaints have increased.

Chief of Police Bo Krein said his department responded to 215 incidents up from 164 last year indicating that more traffic was coming through the area. Accident numbers have stayed relatively level. The department was able to purchase tablets from the Torrington police department at a significantly reduced price ($125 instead of $1,000) which included all accessories that will be extremely helpful for officers to have during traffic stops.

Linda Frye, Town Clerk, has been working on the various reports that are due to the state and Des LeLoux has been working with the budget trying to get the infrastructure project numbers to work into the budget. They continue to field the complains about the construction project.

Todd Skrukrud, Public Works Director gave the update on his department which was largely focused on the infrastructure project which is making rapid progress. The phase 1A and 2 bids will open by the end of the month.

The town approved the second reading on those ordinance changes regarding access to and utilization of the public sewer and water systems that are required by the USDA in order to approve funding for the infrastructure project.

The office has been working through the interim financing process. The underwriters are concerned about the lack of funding, however they had not factored in the 1% specific excise tax and the town was hopeful that once that was included in the calculations, the financing could move forward.

Council approved the golf course tournament schedule for the year. Duffy commented that there were not yet any tournaments requested for July and any tournaments that could be moved from May and June into July should be encouraged for course condition.

The budget for 2022-2023 came in at $26,826,508 in income and $27,378,477 in expenditures. This is with all department requests and no changes, simply a set of preliminary numbers to start the process. Council approved the first reading.

Council also approved the renewal of a pasture lease to C&W Land and Livestock, hangar leases for Rick Bridget and Tschacher Farms, as well as livestock permit renewals for all those who had already turned in their petitions. There were two that were not approved due to incomplete applications. 

The town appointed the precinct judges Vickie Scott and Bernice Lowe and canvassing board electors Julie Greenough and Jackie Bredthauer for the May 3 town election. Mayor Lytle encouraged everyone to come out and exercise their right to vote.

Mayor Doug Lytle declared April Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month.

A temporary open container permit for July 4 from 5 p.m. to midnight at North Park was approved for Becky Redfield.

Council then went into executive session for personnel and adjourned following executive session.


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