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Mulling economic development

Medicine Bow Town Council hears new impact assistance, ponders options to benefit town


January 23, 2019

Mike Armstrong

The Medicine Bow Town Council meets Jan. 14. From left are, Karla Denzin, John Cowdin, Kevin Colman and Trevor Strauch.

Medicine Bow had its regularly scheduled monthly town council meeting at 7 p.m. on Jan. 14 at the Medicine Bow Community Hall. The roll call had all council members present except council member Sharon Biamon. Mayor Kevin Colman was in attendance.

The agenda was approved and Colman swore in the new council. Biamnon and Trevor Strauch retained their seats. Karla Denzin and John Cowdin were the newly-elected council members.

Biamon was called up to vote on keeping the planning and zoning board intact because Colman and Strauch had to abstain. The vote keeps the board the same.

Colman appointed Kelly Neville the town attorney. Sunrise Engineering was made the town's engineer. Karen Heath was appointed Town Clerk and Treasurer.

Minutes for the regular meeting on Dec. 10 and a special meeting on Dec. 21 were approved. The financials were approved for a total of $9,841.69.

Ordinance 1-2019 was approved for its first reading. The ordinance amends section 19.2.01 of the Medicine Bow municipal code to clarify what parties are entitled to direct utility services.

"The way that it worked on the ordinance before, anyone, renter or property owner, had the right to turn on the water," Colman said. "We are fine tuning it to give the ultimate authority to only the property owner."

Resolution 2019-1 was approved. The resolution approved the proposition for imposition of a 1 percent specific purpose sales and use excise tax in Carbon County to be placed on the ballot at an election to be held May 7, 2019.

Council member Biamon had asked the council to table the clinic payment until she could attend.

The Blue Earth projects impact assistance was discussed. There have been several impact assistance projects coming to the Medicine Bow area from other wind projects. The mayor said he wanted to meet with Blue Earth and go over several options that might benefit the town and the company. The council agreed for him to contact Blue Earth. Colman made the point that trying to get economic development in rural towns versus larger urban areas was not easy.

"If you look at where the Wyoming legislature and Wyoming state seem to be focusing, if you watch the trends, basically when you watch the landfills, most of the communities they want to get away from individual and go to centralized landfills," Colman said. "When you watch economic development, they only want to do development in communities that are already over impacted. Cheyenne can't fill all their jobs. There are over 560 jobs in Cheyenne right now."

He said, by bringing in a company that has 40 jobs from $20 to $40 an hour to the town of Medicine Bow, it could change the entire economic outlook for the town.

"The problem is to compete with Cheyenne Leads with what funding the state gives to small communities is near impossible," Colman said. "Cheyenne Leads is one of the largest powerhouses for economic development because they got a bunch of money in the beginning and took that money and rode around with it."

Colman and Denzin will attend the Wyoming Association of Municipalities winter conference.

The council approved the Chokecherry permit schedule change.

Public Works director Charlie George said the water treatment had a faulty water valve and reported it had been ordered.

Neville said she worked with Heath concerning utility bills in arrears. Most are new and notices were sent out. One bill is outstanding in excess of $10,000.

The debtor has passed on and the heir has not put the estate in probate. She went over the options for the town, which did include having a creditor's claim. Unfortunately, to get money, the lots would have to be sold and there would have to be a buyer identified.

Colman said further consideration and research needed to be done to figure out the best option for the town in recovering the debt.

High Country Joint Powers Board had a possible resignation. Toby Smith sent a letter indicating his health was a factor. However, Heath said Smith had reconsidered. The resignation letter was taken into consideration by Colman until he talks to Smith.

The next scheduled Medicine Bow Town Council meeting is at 7 p.m. on Feb. 11 at the Medicine Bow Community Hall.


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