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Stranded in high country

Med Bow Town Council informed about resignations of landfill operators, possible closure

 

November 20, 2019



The Medicine Bow Town Council met at 7 p.m. on Nov. 12 at the Medicine Bow Community Hall.

Mayor Sharon Biamon, council members John Cowdin, Lyle Flansburg, Lucy Schofield and Trevor Strauch were in attendance.

The agenda, minutes from the Oct. 9 regularly scheduled meeting and the financials were approved in a timely manner.

Under old business, Cowdin said he was getting questions about whether next year’s garbage rate cost might be raised. Biamon asked town representative Toby Smith for the High Country Joint Powers Board (HCJPB) if there would be a price increase next year Smith said there might not be a garbage service next year. Smith said the main operator had resigned and the assistant operator’s last day was Nov. 30. He added there wouldn’t be a raise next year on service.

Town Clerk/Treasurer Karen Heath attended the Caselle conference and learned about taking payments through the website.

“The payment network services company would put a link on our website to transfer customers to their website where they would take credit card and direct payments,” Heath said. “It would cost $149 for the initial set up and then $89 annually for the payment service to put the payments into the town’s account and transfer data to Caselle in the Town’s computer to update utility bills with the payments. There might be additional fees per transaction that the company would charge the customer.”

Cowdin said he didn’t think there would be enough volume to make the fee worthwhile. Heath said if the Council didn’t want to take online payments, she asked if they would consider raising the Square Up rate from three to four percent because many customers wanted to pay over the phone. Heath said if she had to input credit card information manually, Square Up charged more for that service. The council approved to raise the credit card payment fee to four percent.

Biamon said the front window of Town Hall looked cluttered and suggested the town get a bigger signboard, if one could be placed out front. She said Heath no longer had a key to the sign board in front of Town Hall to change the signs.

Heath requested a different lock for the town’s panel at the sign board by the post office so other people couldn’t post their signs without permission because the town needed all the space for postings required by statute. The council approved replacing the locks on the town panel at the post office and the signboard in front of Town Hall.

Resident Kani Flansburg reported that, since the town’s website went live in January 2019 there were 9,150 visits, and 29,622 page views. About 8,271 of the visits were from the U.S., 221 from Canada, 111 from the United Kingdom, 84 from South Korea, 6 from Columbia, and 4 from Finland. The hosting lease expires in Dec., and Duda, the hosting company, would likely send a bill then.

Biamon reported the town only had $20,000 to buy two generators, but the fire department could get one from Homeland Security or FEMA. She wanted the fire department to pursue getting more grants.

Public works director Charlie George said he had received only one application for the Maintenance Operator position and he was expanding the search to Rawlins and Casper. He said the road project would require more road base and concrete. Operators of the batch plant should be contacted to ask if they would be able to supply the project. He said he had four different quotes for road base ranging from $22 per ton to $31 per ton. George said there was funds to start on the west side drainage, and Sunrise Engineering had estimated about two weeks more of engineering work to do, then they were 60 days out from starting construction.

JJ Griggs of Sunrise Engineering gave the Town an update. He said they had a couple options for the drainage on West Spruce. One was to have the water go underground, which would cost $300,000 to $320,000 and the other was to do a concrete channel above ground, which would cost $240,000. Both estimates contained a 20 percent contingency. Cowdin said if it was above ground, they would have to fight sand filling it up. Biamon said the town would have to worry about kids drowning, especially in the spring when the ditches overflowed.

George said Sunrise needed two weeks more to finish the design and afterwards it would take 45 days for the bid process. He said it was part of the overall project and had to be done before the rest of the project could be done. The council approved the underground option. Griggs said the streets would be 39 feet wide with 30 inch curb and gutter for drainage. George said the Town could save 15 to 20 percent if they bought the materials versus letting the contractor buy them. He added the concrete would be cheaper to buy from the batch plant. Biamon asked him to call the batch plant company. The design of the road showed two driving lanes and two parking lanes. Griggs said the town was looking at $5 to $6 million including a base and sub-base the chip seal.

Smith gave a report on the HCJPB. He said all the equipment was running again, the landfill was getting covered properly, but the senior operator quit and the assistant operator’s final day was Nov. 30. The board was waiting for DEQ to sign off on the design of the transfer building. That might be Jan. 1. Smith said they would not be able to start collecting garbage until the last of day June. George said the landfill would have to close if there were no operators. Smith said Elk Mountain and Medicine Bow would be able to haul their garbage to the Laramie landfill, but Hanna wouldn’t have any where to take theirs. He said Medicine Bow also needed another board member. Biamon asked if there had been any interest, and Heath said not yet. George suggested the council contact Waste Management so they would have a backup plan if the landfill closed. Heath suggested the board contact Honeywagon Sanitation, out of Laramie, to place a roll-off for Hanna so the town would have somewhere to take their garbage.

Smith said he would take the suggestion to the board to consider.

The council went into executive session at 7:58. It came out at 8:27 and approved Public Works director salary at $60,000 annually starting the first payroll of 2020.

 

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