Sundance Times - Continuing the Crook County News Since 1884

City projects gear up for spring


February 13, 2020

Several projects took a leap forward on Tuesday as the Sundance City Council began to prepare its construction schedule for the spring.

Public Works Director Mac Erickson reported that the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has deemed the city’s application to open a new construction and debris pit “technically adequate”. Now starts the chain of advertising, sending letters and awaiting the issuance of the permit, he says, with the timeline now appearing to suggest that the pit can be open this spring.

Meanwhile, said Karla Greaser of Trihydro, the city has “made some good traction over the last month” on the project to replace the water tank in the canyon area. Final signed easements are now in hand and the city is waiting for the permit to construct to arrive from the DEQ.

Trihydro is ready to begin advertising the bid once the permit actually arrives. DEQ has 60 days to get it to the city, Greaser said, but she believes the project will be ready to go this construction season.

Clerk-Treasurer Kathy Lenz reported that the Abandoned Mine Lands money requested by the city has arrived. The intention is to put this money towards the next water project, which will involve replacing the tank on the other side of the interstate and the pipes that lead to it.

However, said Lenz, the contract has not yet been signed, so the money is not yet in hand. The city is waiting to find out what National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process will be for this project first.

Speaking of NEPA, the council heard that Senator Ogden Driskill has been able to place the Cole Water Tank replacement project on the legislature’s omnibus water bill. Due to an oversight, FEMA has requested the City of Sundance repay the almost $300,000 contribution that helped to replace the Cole Water Storage Tank when it was found to be sliding off the hill in 2013.

Despite the tank’s new location on private land, it transpired that the NEPA process should have been followed. The city was not aware of this stipulation and has been seeking forgiveness for the repayment, or assistance to pay it, since 2018.

Final designs are also complete for the new Central Park recreation site that will be situated next door to Old Stoney. The city should receive the designs within the next week or so, said Lenz, and will likely go to bid next month in time for work to begin this season.

Regarding a nuisance report on a Sewell St. property, the council heard that Fire Chief Gari Gill and Fire Marshal Chris Tomford have been working to move forward with how they want to handle that. Mayor Paul Brooks commented that the city has been hearing feedback from the public since it became clear there were plans to do something about the property, mostly that it is a mess and could be dangerous to children.

A motion was passed for Gill and Tomford to discuss their plans with City Attorney Mark Hughes to move forward with the process of demolishing the property.

In departmental reports, Police Chief Marty Noonan reported 34 calls for the month of January, the most exciting of which was a mountain lion sighting in the city. Tomford and Game Warden Chris Teter attended the scene and the reporting party showed them the predator, which turned out to be a house cat.

The council discussed street closures for the upcoming Sundance Winter Festival, with Noonan explaining that the organizers would once again like to close Main Street from Thursday morning. Erickson added that they may even start trucking in the snow on Wednesday.

Lenz stated that contact has been made with some of the businesses along the street who rely on foot traffic and they all seem good with it. Noonan has also offered to assist with emergency prescription delivery runs if needed.

Permission was granted to close the street on Wednesday, but only if the need arises. Mayor Paul Brooks commented that it would behoove the city to make sure contact has been made with all businesses, especially those to which Valentine’s Day is important.

Erickson reported that it’s testing time again at the city landfill. A motion was passed to authorize Trihydro to perform said testing.

Lenz reported that the Local Government Liability Pool has requested the city put work orders in writing, rather than relying on its current informal system of noting things that need done on a whiteboard. This would also allow tracking for such things as grants that ask for in-kind matches, she said.

Lenz also proposed that the council review a couple of its policies and procedures each month, with department heads bringing forth those policies they feel could do with an update.

The next regular meeting of the Sundance City Council is scheduled for March 3.


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