Waste, air, water
Saratoga Town Council discusses multiple topics in short meeting
July 10, 2019
The most recent meeting of the Saratoga Town Council on July 2 lasted just under an hour and, while it seemed abbreviated compared to previous meetings, the council still held much discussion on a variety of topics. The recently approved one-year contract with the Upper Platte River Solid Waste Disposal District (UPRSWDD), appointments to the Saratoga Airport Advisory Board, the third reading of Ordinance No.855 and issues with hiring a new planning and zoning officer were all subjects of concern from the council.
Under council comments, Councilmember Steve Wilcoxson expressed his disappointment in regards to the approval of the one-year contract with the UPRSWDD during the June 18 meeting. As was previously reported (see “Past the last minute” on page 1 of the June 26 Saratoga Sun), UPRSWDD Chairman Randy Raymer approached the council about one-year billing contracts with all three municipalities in the Valley. Wilcoxson was the dissenting vote in approving the contract.
Reading from a letter sent to the council members in advance and made available to the Sun, Wilcoxson stated his disappointment came for two reasons; the Sunday closure of the Saratoga Transfer Station and the dumping of waste by commercial haulers on the floor of the transfer station. Wilcoxson has long vocalized his opposition to the Sunday closures and, during the Oct. 4, 2017 meeting of the UPRSWDD board, requested a petition be placed at the Saratoga Transfer Station for public input on the closure.
The UPRSWDD denied Wilcoxson’s request. Hank Jewell, the UPRSWDD representative for Saratoga, was quoted in an Oct. 11, 2017 article (“Transfer times talked”) as saying “You heard me not like Sunday closing, but it is not the end of the world that I have to go out Saturday afternoon as opposed to Sunday morning, which I have been doing forever.”
In regards to the commercial haulers, Wilcoxson expressed his concern about residents walking through “extremely hazardous biological waste” to dispose of their own trash.
“I would like to point out that this toxic waste is so toxic, the Landfill is having a hard time finding where to dump this waste, either because of cost or that most landfills do not want to handle this material,” said Wilcoxson.
The UPRSWDD currently sends Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) to the landfill in Laramie. An evaporation tank was recently installed at the Saratoga Transfer Station for the purpose of evaporation of the waste water generated from cleaning the concrete floors. The alternative, as was reported previously (see “Building, water and road” on page 5 of the June 13, 2018 Saratoga Sun), was to haul the wastewater to a lined facility or a wastewater treatment plant. Facilities that accept wastewater are required by the Environmental Protection Agency to conduct a Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP) at a minimum cost of $1,000.
According to Craig Kopasz of Engineering Associates, conducting a TCLP does not automatically denote toxicity of the wastewater.
Wilcoxson finished his council comments by informing the council and the public that he had placed two petitions, one for the Sunday closures and one to address the commercial haulers, at the Saratoga Town Hall and the American Legion.
Sanger Takes To Air
Under reports from the airport advisory board, Councilmember Jon Nelson informed the rest of the council that Thad York, General Manager of Silver Spur Ranches, had submitted a letter of interest for the airport advisory board.
“I’d like to take that to the board and address that at the next meeting,” said Nelson.
In addition to the letter from York, Nelson informed the council that Tom Thompson, Town of Saratoga legal counsel, had concluded there wasn’t a conflict of interest for Ladd Sanger to serve on the advisory board. In recent council meetings, Nelson had expressed concern about Sanger’s interest in French Creek Holdings, LLC.
With no conflict of interest seen by legal counsel, the Saratoga Town Council unanimously approved Sanger to the airport advisory board.
Rate Change Approved
Ordinance No. 855, which adjusts the water rate structure for users of the municipal water system, was approved on third reading. Before the passage of the document, Bill Culbreath, General Manager of Old Baldy Club (OBC), spoke to the changes made by the Carbon County Impact Joint Powers Board (CCIJPB).
“We are fully supportive of the joint powers board, the council, and water and sewer in the fact that, for some time now, I believe the water billing for Old Baldy has not been correct and it was left over from the days that Old Baldy had conveyed the water rights and it was not corrected after that. So, we are in support of correcting this and the efforts that the council and joint powers board have done,” said Culbreath.
The OBC general manager added that he felt that the water rates proposed in the ordinance were an overcorrection. Culbreath echoed his statement from the June 12 CCIJPB meeting that he could not find any comparable water rate structure in the state of Wyoming. During that meeting, Nelson informed Culbreath that how each municipality produces water is unique and, therefore, the billing is unique as well.
“While I believe this is extremely well intended and needed to be done, I believe it was a bit of an overcorrection and that is our position at the Old Baldy Club,” Culbreath said.
Ordinance No. 855 was passed unanimously on third reading.
Still Zoned Out
Near the end of the meeting, Councilmember Bob Keel informed the rest of the council that the search for a new planning and zoning officer was ongoing. According to Keel, one candidate had withdrawn their application upon finding out that the position was part-time.
“The issue we’re running into is, once people found out it was a part-time position, they were no longer interested. Specifically the applicants that were most qualified. I think that we likely are going to have to hire somebody that is maybe not as qualified as we could get or adjust this to be a full-time position,” said Keel.
For the 2019/2020 fiscal year, the council approved $51,250 for salaries and payroll benefits under planning and zoning. Currently, former Planning and Zoning Officer Kent Smith is filling in on an as needed basis for building permits and inspections.
The next meeting of the Saratoga Town Council will be at 6 p.m. on July 16 at Saratoga Town Hall.