Rising waters loom

FBLA gets look at town government, daycare and river solutions discussed


Three up-and-coming Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) got a front row view of how municipal government works at the April 5 Saratoga Town Council meeting. Katie Loose, Bradley Bifano and Thomas Ingraham were present, and, as area resident Glee Johnson put it, “all spiffied-up” to ask the council for help funding a trip to Atlanta over the summer.

The students wish to compete there in the National Leadership Conference put on by the FBLA, and are trying to raise $4,500 to cover their airfare, hotel rooms and incidentals. They sent a letter to the town council, offering to clean up around Saratoga or perform other services in exchange for financial assistance. Sarah Burton, a fourth member of the FBLA had also signed the letter, but was not present at the council meeting.

Though no particulars have been drawn up, mayor Ed Glode told the students “we should be able to help you out.” One project Glode suggested was cleaning up the dog park on Sunday afternoons when the students don’t have academic or athletic commitments.

Several longstanding issues facing Saratoga were also on the docket at the April 5 meeting. Councilman Will Faust reported that a March 30 walk-through of the aging ExCel Preschool facilities had been well attended, with a county commissioner and the school superintendent taking part, as well as several concerned individuals.

Faust said that he was initiating efforts at the committee level “to determine what the needs are, determine what the demand is and try to price-out options so we can look at fund-raising alternatives (for the preschool).”

“I think it’s time that we start moving forward on replacing the facility, and doing that as a community,” Faust said of ExCel.

As in meetings past, the river project also elicited strong comment and opinion, though little action was taken.

Saratoga Director of Public Works Jon Winter told the council that as of 5 p.m. April 5, the public comment period for the gravel-clearing operation around the HWY 130 bridge was closed. Winter said that although he was already working on the physical logistics of the clearing, “we’ll just have to wait and see what comments come in before we decide if we can or can’t do that project.” As spring run-off approaches and water levels rise, the window to do any work on the gravel bars is narrowing by the day.

Pivoting from the gravel-clearing to longer-term river maintenance, President of Saratoga’s Trout Unlimited chapter, Jim States, asked what was being done in terms of reviving the dormant “river committee.” “I’m concerned that there doesn’t seem to be any movement in that direction,” States said.

Mayor Glode replied that he had found a list of riverfront property owners, and that “it would behoove us to sit down and get together again.”

Saratoga resident Bill Patton suggested that progress was stalled because a bedrock study had to be conducted before the town could apply for the permits needed to do large-scale river restoration. Patton suggested that it may be possible to rent high-tech equipment from energy companies to complete these studies.

“If it goes through the river committee process, I don’t see us getting any work done even in 2017,” Glode told Patton and States. Glode foresees significant regulatory and fund-raising hurdles hindering progress on river-management well-into the future, a position Faust echoed.

On a brighter note, the council announced that it had received a little over $3,200 from Wyoming Community Gas’ 2015 Community Contribution Fund. This money will be applied to beautification and upkeep of Good Times Park, next to the hot pool.

Glode also read a letter to the council from Melanie Fullman, the ranger in charge of the Brush Creek/Hayden Ranger District. Fullman wrote the letter in order to request that the ranger station sitting just outside the town’s southern boundary on HWY 130 be annexed into city limits. This move would allow the station to hook into Saratoga’s water and sewer system. The septic system currently servicing the station is described by Fullman as “grossly inadequate,” providing water that is “gross to drink.”

Letters from the Platte Valley Arts Council and the Saratoga Museum thanked Saratoga for its support of their operations.

The police department announced that Bobby Chitwood had graduated from the police academy and returned to duty April 2. Virgina Parker, the department’s new dispatcher had started work without a hitch as well, Chief Thomas Knickerbocker said.

The next Saratoga Town Council meeting will be held at 6 p.m. April 19 in the town hall building.


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