Council hears of progress on court issue
October 13, 2022
At last week’s regular meeting, the Sundance City Council heard that progress has been made on the municipal court issue. The city has not had a municipal court judge for the last couple of years after opting, as a cost-saving measure, to instead request permission for municipal cases to be heard in circuit court.
However, due to switch-ups in the court and the pandemic, progress stalled.
Since the issue was raised last month, Sheriff Jeff Hodge and City Attorney Mark Hughes reported that things are moving along.
“There have been some ideas flowing,” said Hodge.
Judge Matthew F.G. Castano has rejoined the conversation, said Hughes. Mayor Paul Brooks explained that the Wyoming Supreme Court’s original response to Castano’s request was not, as expected, queries about the practical side of things, but was, “Why would you want to do that?”, which threw him.
Judge Lynda R. Bush and County Attorney Joe Baron are also both now on board.
“We’re still moving forward and I hope we get something done,” said Hughes.
At Tuesday’s meeting, the council also heard that the city will be sending representatives to testify in front of the State Lands and Investments Board regarding the projects submitted for American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding at the end of October, said Public Works Director Mac Erickson.
He told the council that he hopes to have confirmation by November as to whether the proposals were successful. He and Brooks agreed that the project of greatest importance is the 3rd Street bridge and fix to a major leak in the water line.
The mayor spoke to the importance of seeking funding for such items, noting that it’s a $1.2 million project that the city could never find the money for alone.
“Where would we come up with $1.2 million?” he said. “We would never be able to do it.”
Brooks acknowledged that there are people who disagree with the concept of grants, but said, without them, “We’d be closing 3rd Street permanently”.
Theresa Curren was appointed as the new Clerk Treasurer for the city. Her first official request was to create a line item for pee wee football within the summer rec budget and another for the renovations to the fire hall.
The former, according to Erickson, will allow for the available money to be spent on new equipment to keep the activity going.
Brooks commented that he approves of this move, as line items allow for public tracking of the city’s fiscal actions and ensures that money is tagged for the purpose it was intended for and not used for something else.
“I think running it through our budget is important,” he said.
Curren also confirmed that the city has received its deer permit from Wyoming Game & Fish, and that the permit actually allows for 50 animals to be taken, rather than the anticipated 40.
A motion was made to take the extra ten and pay contractor Nick Kaminski accordingly. The city continues to build its list of people interested in donations of meet from the cull, and currently has around 16 new names, with the food bank willing to take the remainder.
Jeremy Holt reported on behalf of the city’s economic development committee, stating that one of the biggest issues it is working to solve is the lack of daycare facilities in Sundance. It’s one of the big things businesses have asked for, he said, and definitely a problem locally – he pointed out that Kid Prints currently has a big backlog.
Erickson reported on the pickleball group’s efforts to fund a new and improved court for their sport, which has been growing in popularity here in Sundance. The group’s grant application was turned down, he said.
According to Erickson, a grant through the Land Water Conservation Fund is available, but is a 50% match and is reimbursable, which means the city would have to come up with the full amount and be paid back through the fund later. Though unsure exactly what the cost would be to build the new court as requested, he said, it would be a cost that, “I know is going to scare us”.
It would be nice to bring it back to life, though, he said, so he is going to take a look at what the city can do to rehab the asphalt, fences and other items without the high price tag.
According to Erickson and Karla Greaser of Trihydro, City Engineers, the Sundance Kid Tank project is now all but wrapped up. Greaser presented a change order from contractors Hot Iron Inc. that reconciles real costs with projected costs and resulted in a deduction of $10,948.28.