The Saratoga Sun -

Ambulance and airport

SCWEMS and airport discussions top three hour Saratoga Town Council meeting


February 27, 2019

The Saratoga Town Council met at 6 p.m. on Feb. 19 at the Saratoga Town Hall for a meeting that went for almost three hours. The mayor and all council members were in attendance.

The start of the meeting went quickly with the agenda and minutes from Feb. 5 council meeting being approved. Next, the financials totaling $98,191.22 were approved.

There was no correspondence.

Mayor John Zeiger next had South Central Wyoming Emergency Medical Services (SCWEMS) Saratoga representative Marie Christen and Encampment representative Karen Bedwell give an update on the joint powers board.

Christen told the council there was progress being made on getting policy solidified.

“Right now we are working on updating all our policies and guidelines,” Christen said.

Bedwell asked the council to extend Christen’s time on the board to July 22, 2022.

The council approved the extension.

Bedwell said SCWEMS is a special district and this had not been realized before July 2018. She said there are a lot reportables required by the state auditors office and many of these reportables must be turned into the county clerk’s office as a repository.

She said much of SCWEMS’ focus this fiscal year would be to meet the guidelines of being a special district.

Bedwell said that volunteerism was still a problem. She said Zeiger had put forth the idea of bringing the director of SCWEMS down to Saratoga a couple days a week.

Zeiger said he is looking at having a police dispatcher who is qualified go on call while working for the police department.

“Once we get another dispatcher hired full time and Kathy and Kandi are working at the same time, and we do need an EMT, then Kandi could go ahead and take off because she is ALS and Kathy could step in and cover dispatch,” Zeiger said.

Council member Jon Nelson brought up that it might be a difficult situation for a dispatcher to take the call and then go on it.

“I have some concerns even though I realize how difficult it is to get people for SCWEMS,” Nelson said.

He was concerned about the separation of taking the call and going on it might lead to undue stress on the individual.

Saratoga police chief Ken Leher was asked his opinion. Leher said he didn’t foresee a problem, but since the department was short a dispatcher, it couldn’t be put to the test. He did point out that the dispatcher and the supervisor would have to be on duty at the same time.

Council member Steve Wilcoxson asked if the dispatcher would be volunteering for this. He was told they would be. Zeiger pointed out the dispatchers would sit down with other volunteers to work out a schedule to make sure there was no conflict.

Council member Bob Keel asked if there was an injury to the dispatcher while taking the call, would the town be responsible for workman’s comp. Bedwell said SCWEMS would be responsible because of the job she was preforming at the time.

Bedwell said a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) could be set up between the town and SCWEMS for this situation.

Bedwell said the hours between 12-6 were when the most calls came in. This made it hard for the 17 volunteers because 16 had full-time jobs.

“They are doing double duty,” Bedwell said. “If we could get the information out on how to volunteer, it would help.”

She told the council many people she talked to did not realize SCWEMS was all volunteer. Bedwell said that she would like to have time to go over medical billing with the council to understand how little money they actually receive from billing.

Zeiger suggested a workshop for all the municipalities to understand what SCWEMS is doing currently. He asked County Commissioner Sue Jones if she thought it would an idea worth pursuing.

Jones replied it had strong merit and that she thought it was a good idea.

Nelson said he went to a meeting on Feb. 13 to go over impact funds from TransWest Express and that the total request from all the impacted municipalities was around the $8.4 million range. He said it was well under what had been allocated. Nelson said the pre-hearing for TransWest Express was at 1:30 p.m. on April 3 at the Platte Valley Community Center and the hearing would start at 8:30 a.m on April 19 at the Platte Valley Community Center.

Wilcoxson made a point of telling the council and the public that the Legion was doing a fundraiser for the fire department on March 23. He asked that RSVPs come in by March 20. Wilcoxson said a lot of businesses had contributed for the silent auction.

Resolution 2019-3, for an appointment of special prosecutor, was approved. This resolution is to help juveniles determine if they can be entitled to a deferment of a citation for which they have been charged.

Resolution 2019-4, which set fees and charges for production of public records, was approved. The fees include employees times to make the copies along with prices for the pages.

Ordinance 849, amending section 8.08.080 defining property maintenance, had its first reading.

Budget workshop dates were scheduled through March and April.

Fire chief Pat Vining submitted a bill for $262.50 for the emergency siren to get fixed and a bill for $500 for an app for communications. Both were approved. He said trainings every Wednesday were going well and donations had come close to $100,000 for self contained breathing apparatuses.

Christie Keel was approved to the recreation board.

Lisa Burton, recreation director, said that this gave the town a full board. She got approval to book a British soccer camp June 10-14. She said they would come if there were at least 12 participants. There was no charge to the town. She said there will be a recreation workshop at 4 p.m. on March 5.

Jon Winter, director of public works, said snow removal had been done often the past couple weeks. Permission to buy filter kits for the loader, backhoe and skid steer for $800 was approved. $700 was approved for a 55 gallon drum of oil.

He met with Black Hills Energy for their plans to install new gas mains primarily downtown from River to 5th Streets. It is estimated they will start in March. Winter said flood materials were inventoried.

Chuck McVey, from water and sewer, said he had a successful trip to Washington D.C. where Saratoga’s water went against other states drinking water. Saratoga didn’t place in the top five, but he did find out that the water did make the top ten, although he didn’t know the ranking.

$1,200 was approved to purchase a fire hydrant tool. $700 was approved to purchase a pump more suited for temperature ranges from the hot pool.

Nelson said the airport board’s minimum standards that had been on the website prior to meeting Feb. 13 had been updated. (See “Lease language languishes” on page 24 of the Feb. 20 Saratoga Sun).

Dave Worthington and his wife Tasha, residents of Saratoga, went before the council to request all airport board members who were on the board when he received a letter on Nov. 18, 2018 telling him to sign a lease or lose it, be removed. Worthington asked they be barred from any other board positions.

Andy Van Tol, resident of Saratoga, asked the council if the airport board was independent of the council. Zeiger said there was still no answer at this time. Van Tol asked how the minimum standards will be revised. Nelson said a revised copy will be put on the website and posted at the town hall. Van Tol said he felt the airport needed to be more transparent.

Jones said the health care meeting held on Feb. 13 was informative but also complicated. She said accounting firm BKD gave an assessment of rural healthcare (See “Healthcare a tax issue?” on the front page of the Feb. 20 Saratoga Sun).

Nelson said the water and sewer joint powers board had decided not to annex United States Forest Service (USFS) building. Work is being done on an MOU between the town of Saratoga and USFS.

Wilcoxson said at the landfill board they discussed the situation with the public dumpsters at Veterans Island park and the hot springs.

Town attorney Tom Thompson said, because, the state repealed the one mile buffer that allowed the town to issue building permits, he did not see how an MOU with Old Baldy or any other residential place in Carbon County could be legally enforced.

Judy Whelton, council member, said all inspections to Old Baldy had come from the town before and that it would be loss of money.

Jones said an MOU could be done, but if the town didn’t want to do it, places like Old Baldy could be in the county. She said Carbon County would still be in charge, but it was letting the town still have the authority to review permits.

Thompson said he was concerned because municipalities only have the authority to give building permits through the state statute. He said there could be possible liability and he felt there should be more research.

Wilcoxson said his opinion was that he felt that, without a state statute, it would be illegal.

Thompson will continue looking into this.

The council went into executive session at 8:37 p.m. and came out at 8:52 p.m.

The next town council will be at 6 p.m. on March 5 at the Saratoga Town Hall.


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