Saratoga council abuzz
Transparency, mosquito spraying and its effects on bees discussed at council meeting
July 11, 2018
The Saratoga Town Council met at 6 p.m. on July 3 at the Saratoga Town Hall and quickly approved the agenda, the minutes for June 19 and the financials which totaled $191,139.82.
Mayor Ed Glode went over correspondence from Frontier Days in Cheyenne and a letter from Geri Doughtery in support of events at The Yard.
Glode said the Garden Board was getting further along in becoming its own non-profit entity. He told the board a new town attorney, Kylie Rangitsch, an associate with McPherson, Kelley and Thompson out of Rawlins, had been brought on board to replace David Erickson, of Erickson and Roberts from Rawlins, who had passed away. She will be handling criminal law and Michael Roberts will stay the attorney concerning civil law. The council approved her as the new attorney.
After the new attorney was approved, Steve Wilcoxson, town council member, went on record to say he felt the town council went into executive session with more frequency than necessary.
“I would like to go on record, at least from my position, there should be only certain times we go into executive session,” Wilcoxson said. “One is to discuss individual personnel; second is to address lawsuits that are in the works or potential lawsuits; and the third discuss the sales of town properties or purchase.”
He said he believed in transparency at all costs.
“I am one of those that believe in complete transparency and I don’t believe with local governments that very much should be done behind closed doors,” Wilcoxson said. “If it is a raise that we are talking about for employees, I think this should be done in public because I think the public needs to know the logic behind my thinking.”
He said if the public doesn’t agree with his thinking, then the public has the right to replace him, but that if the discussion is always behind closed doors the public has no idea who is voting in concurrence with their views. He said when he ran in an election before, he was told by voters, that they felt too much was being decided out of the public’s view.
“I think when we are talking about a reduction of our work force, the public should be aware of who voted what,” Wilcoxson said. “So I just wanted to go on record to say what my position is on executive council.”
Glode thanked Wilcoxson for his thoughts.
The special event application for the Steinley Cup by the Chamber for August 18 was approved. Three special event applications for Cindy Bloomquist for Aug. 11, 24 and Sept 1 were approved.
Richard Raymer, town council member said he appreciated the three applica-tions had been filled out in a timely manner.
Police Chief Robert Bifano said the parade on Saturday went smoothly although the crowds were larger than anticipated. He said the two police officers on duty had done an excellent job, but he might put on an extra officer next year if the crowd was anticipated to be the same size.
Glode told the council Lisa Burton had gone to part time as Recreation Director from full time. He said budget constraints made the cut necessary.
JennyLou Garland, town council member said the app Square was operational for taking credit cards at the recreation center.
Jon Winters, director of Public Works, went over options of fixing the town’s backhoe swing blade. He said CAT was willing to lend a backhoe, while they fixed the town backhoe and would charge for only hours it was in use at $18 an hour. CAT would come and pick it up for a $1,000. He said that this would be more timely than waiting for an estimate and cheaper than buying a new swing blade which could run into thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars.
On the town’s lagoon, the public works crew had put in 620 man hours in the past four months cleaning and recording camera footage of lines in town. Some of these lines have not been cleaned in years. He said the sewer camera had broken and would cost $960.
He said the millings from the airport were being distributed. 200 cubic yards went to private citizens, 70 cubic yards to construction on Maple street, 1,000 cubic yards to Old Baldy Country club and a 1,000 cubic yards for Carbon County road and bridge.
Winters told the council that Air Time Aerial had completed two adulticide applications in the a.m. on June 20 and 27. He said the Wyoming department of Agriculture had received two complaints that operations were killing bees.
Winters said there were three residents that asked their properties not get fogged. He said Air Time Aerial was complying and turning off fogging in those places. Raymer said it was difficult on machines and effective fogging to turn them off and on.
“I just feel this spot application is not beneficial to the residents of this community,” Raymer said. He told the council as person who had contracted West Nile, it was a disease that could be very hard to return from and would not wish to see any resident contract it. He said it was not fair to a neighborhood that was paying for the applications not be effective because of checkerboard spraying.
Wilcoxson said he understood Raymer’s concern for the health of residents concerning the diseases mosquitos brought on, but also said, residents who didn’t want fogging because they were concerned it was unhealthy, should not have their feelings minimized.
“We have to find a balance,” Wilcoxson said.
Dave Worthington, a bee keeper in town, said fogging was killing his bees and his solution was to move his hives out of town while fogging was happening. He helps with beekeeping in Carbon County and works with 1,400 hives. He said the optimum time for spraying is in the evening when bees are in and mosquitoes are out.
He said Winters does an amazing job given the parameters of what he is asked to do with fogging, but spraying should be recognized as potentially dangerous to the environment.
“Bees are an fantastic barometer for our environment and in my opinion as a beekeeper, timing is crucial,” Worthington said. “If it is done too early and bees are still out foraging, you are going to kill bees.”
He said the problem with insecticides and spraying at bad times for bees was not just in the Valley, but it was a global problem. He agreed with Wilcoxson that a balance had to be figured out because insecticide was highly toxic to bees and bees were essential to the environment.
Wilcoxson closed the meeting with saying he wanted to thank the mayor and council for the outstanding job they did in promoting Togie Days and making it the success it was.
The next scheduled Saratoga Town Council meeting is at 6 p.m. on July 17 at the town hall.