Fire fuels discussions
Saratoga Town Council talks fire, specific purpose tax fund, fire hydrant access
April 25, 2018
The Saratoga Town Council met at 6 p.m. on April 17 at town hall. After approving the minutes and agenda, the council donated $250 for the Saratoga Tech/Skills USA cancer walk. Bills were paid in the total of $90,913.94.
Irene Archibald, chairman of the Specific Purpose Tax Joint Powers Board, went before the council to explain Saratoga could terminate the tax in June or December or take no action. A June payoff could save on interest. The problem is Dixon and Hanna, who didn’t bond, could find themselves not being able to collect their projected funds. She said there would be a meeting of Carbon County Council of Governments on April 18 to come to a consensus to see what the municipalities would do. (For more information, see “CCCOG talks tax, wind farms” on page 16 of the March 25 Saratoga Sun) Richard Raymer, town council member, was approved to represent the town.
The council approved the Chamber of Commerce’s use of Veterans Island Park for the microbrewfest on August 18.
Ed Glode, Saratoga mayor, said the budget workshop scheduled on April 16 was canceled due to the fire at the Saratoga Forest Management lumber mill. The council approved a budget workshop at 5:30 p.m. on April 23.
Concerning the recent mill fire, Will Faust, town council member, said everyone that came together to contain the fire had done an excellent job.
“I know you had a press conference this morning, but I want to express thanks to everybody who volunteered and dropped everything they were doing to help stop a really significant threat to our town,” Faust said. “Had that wind been blowing in a different direction, had they not contained it on the north side, it was amazing to see a community pull together along with the entire county.”
He also thanked all that provided food, first responders, and the police and fire departments.
“It was really interesting to see everything pulled together in a serious situation,” Faust concluded.
Saratoga resident Richard Hodges asked the council about the fire hydrants at the mill.
He wanted to know what authority the town had on private property to make sure fire hydrants were in working order.
Scott Randall, Saratoga resident and fire department volunteer, asked a similar question about Medicine Waters trailer community.
“The fire department was doing rounds around the Medicine Waters trailer park and we wondered if we can use the hydrants out there because they aren’t reliable,” Scott said.
Some lines at Medicine Waters are four inch to six inch and might have difficulty maintaining pressure for fire fighting. The area where it is 12 inch, is on the north of the property and wind could potentially put firefighters in danger.
“Typically your winds are heading that way and it could put our guys in danger, so they go down further, but they dont’ have the pressure,” JennieLou Garland, council member, said. “We are trying to come up with a game plan to take care of the situation.”
“We do test our hydrants and open them up and flush them once a year,” Jon Winter, Public Works Director, said. “Far as the lumber mill, it is private property, so I would assume it follows under the State Fire Marshall inspections.”
Richard Raymer, town council member explained there might have been some confusion about who could open town hydrants by the lumber yard. He said, no person not authorized by the fire department could use them.
“Our hydrants were not available for the mill employees until the fire department got there,” Raymer said. “I believe it is a federal law.”
He said there is training involved in opening and closing them because done incorrectly, it could contaminate the town’s water system.
Faust asked if mill employees could be trained for that.
The council will look into this training possibility.
Glode said he is waiting for the State Fire Marshall report to see what happened and what needed to be addressed.
Hodges asked the town council what could be done to keep the town safe from fire hazards besides the once a year inspection by the State Fire Marshall.
“With your budget session coming up, I would encourage the council to add to the work assignment, a building inspector or some other person that is maybe on staff,” Hodges said, “Yeah, it might cost some money, but if you had some person officially from the town that could look at something and say you should not do that, you need to correct that.”
Glode was approved to sign a Memorandum of Understanding for the town to ask the Industrial Siting Council for $65,000 for impact funds for the town.
The special event application by Toga Productions for the Hi Water Hoedown starting at noon on June 2 at the Yard at 108 South River Street was approved.
The mayor noted the police chief was out still working with containing the fire, so he would not be able to report for the evening.
Lisa Burton, recreation director said the Utah Jazz program was winding down.
Winter reported the Verizon tower is scheduled to start putting in the steel on May 1. He said the lagoon improvement project is going according to plan and the dry well was finished.
Winter said the technician building is up and framed and all is on schedule. He said the crane at the water plant building inspected. The cost is $1200.
Raymer said the airport board had applied for a grant from the Aeronautics Division of Wyoming Department of Transportation to purchase snow removal equipment. The grant would pay 80 percent and the town would be responsible for 20 percent.
“We have really picked up our traffic in the past couple years, so this would help us keep up with times,” Raymer said.
The council approved the board to continue to apply for the grant. The council also approved the airport board to advertise for completion of the lighting and camera project that allows cam shots on the town web page. Raymer said the airport board has sent out a letter to hanger owners not to do any unauthorized dirt work on the airport.
“We don’t need people digging around hangers with gas services and electrical services,” Raymer said.
Faust said the planning commission approved the sign variance for the Saratoga Hot Springs Resort.
The town council went into Executive Session at 7:10 p.m. It came out at 7:30 p.m. with nothing to report.
Then next scheduled Saratoga Town Council meeting will be at 6 p.m. on May 1 at the Saratoga Town Hall.