City council meets at new time

Jess Oaks
Posted 6/7/24

TORRINGTON – The Torrington City Council convened on Tuesday, June 4, at the new meeting time of 5:30 p.m., to conduct regular town business.  

Mayor Herb Doby called the meeting to …

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City council meets at new time


TORRINGTON – The Torrington City Council convened on Tuesday, June 4, at the new meeting time of 5:30 p.m., to conduct regular town business. 

Mayor Herb Doby called the meeting to order at 5:30 p.m. councilmember Dr. Richard Patterson lead the group in the Pledge of Allegiance. Present were Doby, Patterson, Dennis Kelly, Shane Viktorin, and Wayne Deahl.

During the mayor’s informational items, Doby reminded the community to get outside and enjoy the parks, pools, and golf course. Doby also thanked the community members for maintaining their yards and reminded those who haven’t fines can be imposed. 

Doby, again, reminded the community to only dump grass in the grass-only dumpsters and to remove the grass from any bag it may be in. 

Doby also extended gratitude to the city employees who keep the public recreation areas maintained and he also reminded the community to stay off their cell phones while driving as there is an increase in pedestrian traffic. 

A motion was made to approve the consent agenda which included the minutes from the May 21 council meeting and the minutes from the May 30 public hearing as presented by Paterson which was seconded by Deahl. The consent agenda was approved.

“Next item on the agenda is the approval of the agenda and gentlemen, I would entertain a motion to amend the first amend agenda item number two on the resolution,” Doby explained. “That’s an incorrect amount that’s listed on the agenda that amount is listed $519,732 should be $400,000 so I think the best way to approach this is I would entertain a motion to amend the agenda as presented,” Doby said.

Viktorin made a motion to amend the first amend agenda, item number two to reflect the correct dollar amount which was seconded by Kelly.

A motion was made by councilmen Deahl to approve the amended agenda. Kelly seconded the motion which carried on vote. 

There were no participants during the public forum and the council quickly moved on to action item number one, the third reading of an ordinance relating to the Power Purchase Agreement with Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska (MEANS). 

“It’s an ordinance amending and reenacting section 13.20.016 in the Torrington municipal code 2024 revisions relating to authorizing and directing the execution of the amended and restated total power requirements power purchase agreement by the city of Torrington, Wyoming with the MEAN,” city attorney Jim Eddington said.

“Gentlemen, this is third reading. My understanding of this is the same as if it was on the first and second readings,” Doby said to the council. “This was an updated contract that MEAN developed. It hasn’t been updated for something like 40 years. It is essentially the same contract as it was before with a slight benefit to the City of Torrington. It allows us to withdraw from the agreement after a period of 25 years which we did not have in previous years so we can look at it as a slight benefit to the city with the updated version of the MEAN agreement,” Doby concluded. 

Patterson made the motion to accept the ordinance on the third reading which was seconded by Kelly. The motion carried and the ordinance was approved on the third reading.

Moving on to action item number two, resolution number 2024-6 authorizing the submission of a Capital Construction Loan application to the state loan and investment board on behalf of the governing board for the City of Torrington in the amount of $400,000 where Doby called on Jeff Harkins, director of public works.

“As you know we have this East D Street improvements project that we’re trying to get going,” Harkins said. “It’s going to be replacing water lines, storm sewer and reconstructing the street, curb, gutter, sidewalk, and the street section itself. We’ve got loan applications submitted for drinking water SRF and clean water SRF. Those two parts take care of the water line replacement and the storm sewers what we have remaining is the actual reconstruction of the street section itself,” Harkins said.

Approximately $1M of the funding for the project will be Urban Systems Committee, according to Harkins. 

“We went back and requested to borrow ahead because it’s a part of the program that if you would need additional funding, you can borrow ahead on the funding that the state gives to the county every year which is about $116,000,” Harkins explained. 

The committee voted the city could borrow ahead one year and as a result, according to Harkins, there is still about $4-500,000 needed. Harkins expressed the capital construction loan will offset that expense. 

Doby explained the street currently is a paved street however after the project is completed, the street will be concrete, and he handed the floor over to Harkins to provide an explanation of why concreate is preferred over paving. 

“Well, for this project, it’s mainly for the connivence of the homeowners that live on East D Street,” Harkins explained. “As we come through and we’re going to tear up, obviously, we’re going to tear up pretty much all the street when we just do the waterline replacements and the storm sewer, there’s not going to be much left. So, if we do the curb, gutter, sidewalk, and the street section at the same time. We will probably do it in two-block increments so that those people are only inconvenienced for a short period of time instead of the whole construction period when it goes from highway 26 all the way up to 30th avenue,” Harkins continued. 

Harkins explained because the project will be done in sections, the price of completing the project with asphalt would cost more. The design of the project began in 2009, Harkins explained. Harkins further explained in order for the project to qualify for funding from the Urban Systems Committee, the area needed to be part of the urban system streets, like East D Street. 

Doby commented on the age of the water lines, explaining some of the lines were nearly 50 years old and the scale buildup in the pipes was causing many issues for fire departments, homeowners, and the city departments. 

Viktorin explained the loan would be repaid by gas tax revenue and he asked city clerk/treasurer, Lynette Strecker, the loan term. 

“I think we are going to try to do a 20-year loan that way we can spread out those payments as much as possible,” Strecker explained. “That way we have the flexibility and can spend that tax money somewhere else.”

According to Harkins, the anticipated start date will be near April 2025 and a probable completion date of late November. 

Viktorin made the motion to accept the resolution number 2024-6 in the agenda which was seconded by Deahl. The resolution carried by vote. Before moving on, it was brought to the mayor’s attention the resolution had not be read by Eddington by title. 

Eddington read the resolution by title and the council moved on to action item three, the second reading of 2025 fiscal year budget.

Strecker gave an update on the budget to the council. 

“We are working on our property and casualty insurance renewal,” Strecker explained. “I did find, after going through it, we do need to add some money in for the waterworth program. Our new subscription to that, we did not end up budgeting that into the funds so I will be making that change after this meeting. I’d like to add back some fencing for sanitation. I still need to look at the final cash carryover and I have not heard from IT on the final repair monies that can be given back to the city,” Strecker continued.  

Strecker went on to explain cities and towns were struggling to purchase property causality insurance, and Torrington was no exception, noting Wyoming Association of Risk Management has received multiple calls for quotes.

“I did contact Wyoming Association of Risk Management which allows for property tax coverage for Wyoming cities, towns, counties, and districts,” Strecker said. “I gave them my information and I asked for a quote. They did say they have gotten requests because of private insurance is not giving them quotes or they are pretty outrageous. So, they are pretty busy,” Strecker continued. “I am confident it is going to increase significantly. I just don’t know how much.”

A motion was made to accept the ordinance on the second reading by Paterson which was seconded by Deahl. The motion carried with a 4:1 vote where Kelly voting against the motion.

The next action item on the agenda, item number four, approval of the bills for May 22 and June 4.

Kelly made a motion to approve the bills which was seconded by Viktorin. The motion carried and the bills were approved. 

Next, the council moved on to the public comment portion if the meeting where Torrington Volunteer Fire Department Chief, Luis Correa spoke to the council on the last few weeks of activity. Correa explained there was another fire under river bridge, a BBQ grill on fire, unattended grass fire, exposed gas lines and more since the last council meeting. 

“It’s picked up and I suspect, with the warmer weather, it’s going to get a little bit worse with burns and grass fires,” Correa said.

Correa also explained the water pump had been replaced on engine six. 

Patterson spoke the council and public regarding how well maintained the landfill in Torrington is.

The meeting was adjourned at 6:14 p.m. and will reconvene on June 18 at 5:30 p.m.