The Saratoga Sun -

Landfill closure, records costs

Saratoga Town Council discusses landfill, passes public records measure

 


The July 16 meeting of the Saratoga Town Council proceeded without Mayor John Zeiger in attendance and Councilmember Steve Wilcoxson serving as Mayor Pro-Tem. The Saratoga Sun asked about Zeiger’s absence from the council meeting the following day and was informed by Town Clerk Suzie Cox that Zeiger had been responding to an ambulance call.

In a conversation with Zeiger on Thursday afternoon, Zeiger confirmed Cox’s statement, adding that he had returned from an ambulance call at approximately 6:30 p.m. that night.

With a nearly two hour meeting, there was much that was discussed by the town council. Primary among those topics were questions about the value of the medical clinic, a letter directed to the Upper Platte River Solid Waste Disposal District (UPRSWDD), along with an eventually withdrawn petition to the solid waste district, and the reading of Resolution No. 2019-08.

What’s it Worth?

Under council comments, Councilmember Bob Keel informed the rest of the council that he had been approached by different individuals asking about the value of the medical clinic that is currently being leased from the Town of Saratoga by Platte Valley Clinic, LLC, a subsidiary of Health Management Services.

“In conversations I’ve had with people, some questions have come up; does the town know how much the medical building is worth? Has it ever had it assessed? I didn’t have an answer for them and so I wanted to bring it to the council today, with no motivation behind it, do we want to get the medical building appraised to see what it’s worth? See what money’s into it?” asked Keel.

Councilmember Jon Nelson added to the conversation, stating that it was “an interesting first step in evaluating whether or not it makes sense to continue to hold that clinic as something that the town council controls or a private entity, or maybe a non-profit, should control.” Nelson said he wasn’t sure what the answer was, but stated he didn’t believe it was improper to ask what the clinic was worth.

“Just to make it clear for everybody that’s here, the motion is only to get an appraisal,” added Keel.

With a unanimous vote, the council voted to look into having the clinic building appraised to find out what it was worth.

Not Nameless

Also under council comments, Wilcoxson returned to the subject of the UPRSWDD. Wilcoxson and UPRSWDD Chairman Randy Raymer have, in recent meetings of both the Saratoga Town Council and the solid waste disposal district, had heated exchanges over the subject of the Sunday closure of the Saratoga Transfer Station and solid waste unloaded onto the tipping floor of the transfer station.

Wilcoxson informed the council that he had received a letter from a Saratoga resident, Jimmy Clennon, and read the letter aloud.

“I would like to take this opportunity to advise the city council and Upper Platte River Solid Waste Disposal District, aka the Saratoga dump, that I am not a faceless or nameless person that was referred to at the last disposal board meeting. I am an American senior citizen, a retired G.I. and a taxpaying, voting citizen of this community,” the letter read.

The letter continued, stating that Clennon knew of other members of the community who had reached out to Wilcoxson regarding the Sunday closure and had asked him to take their concerns to the UPRSWDD.

“A lot of my friends are working families and we would use the dump on Sundays to haul off our yard debris and household trash. Saturday was used for shopping, housework, laundry and family activities such as the kids’ 4-H projects, sports and other school projects as well as other family activities that take priority over a Saturday dump run,” added Clennon in the letter.

Petition Withdrawn

After reading the letter, Wilcoxson informed the council and the public that he was withdrawing one of two petitions he had placed at Saratoga Town Hall and the American Legion. As was previously reported (see “Waste, air, water” on page 1 of the July 10 Saratoga Sun), the petitions from Wilcoxson addressed the Sunday closure and the commercial haulers unloading of waste on the tipping floor. The latter petition was the one the council member was removing.

Wilcoxson stated that, following a conversation with a reporter from the Saratoga Sun, he was informed that users of the transfer station were not to be throwing their waste into the trailer on the other side of the concrete berm, but were instead supposed to unload it onto the floor. Indeed, this reporter spoke with Craig Kopasz, of Engineering Associates, who stated that the contract for the transfer station directs the operator to use the tipping floor to screen incoming loads.

The contract, which is available to the public with a copy at the Saratoga Transfer Station, states on page 79: “operating contractor will screen incoming loads on the tipping floor for unacceptable and special wastes and redirect these wastes to the appropriate locations or, if necessary, rejection of entire loads off site to sort.”

It’ll Cost You

Under items from town hall, Wilcoxson read Resolution No. 2019-08, a resolution “establishing uniform procedures, fees, costs and production of public records in compliance with the 2019 Wyoming Legislative Amendments to the Public Records Act. During the most recent legislative session, Senate File 0057 was passed and amended portions of the Public Record Act, found under Title 16, Chapter 4, Section 2 of the Wyoming State Statutes.

Amendments to the statute include a requirement that all public records “shall be released not later than thirty calendar days from the date of acknowledged receipt request unless good cause exists preventing release” and that “if good cause exists preventing release within the time period specified … the public records shall be released on a specified date mutually agreed to by the applicant and the government entity.”

Wyoming State Statute 16-4-204, while not affected by the amendment, does state that those requesting a copy, printout or photograph of public may be charged a reasonable fee “to be set by the official custodian.” In the resolution, fees listed include $15.50 an hour for clerical staff time, $30 an hour for information technology staff time and $40 an hour for professional staff time.

The resolution was passed unanimously by the council and was signed on July 16 by Zeiger.

Absent Again

Early in the meeting Police Chief Ken Lehr received two text alerts and stood up and left the room after the second without any notice to the council—not to return during the meeting.

Toward the end of the meeting, Nelson suggested the council take a recess to call both the mayor and chief to see if they were available to answer questions or make a report.

During this recess, Nelson noted this had been the second meeting in a row the chief had received a text alert and left.

Neither call brought a result and the meeting was adjourned.

The next meeting of the Saratoga Town Council will be at 6 p.m. on Aug. 6 at Saratoga Town Hall.

 

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