Mayor proclaims Arbor Day

Jess Oaks
Posted 4/19/24

TORRINGTON – The Town Council for the City of Torrington met on Tuesday, April 16. In attendance were mayor Herb Doby and councilmembers Dr. Richard Patterson, Dennis Kelly, Shane Viktorin, and …

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Mayor proclaims Arbor Day


TORRINGTON – The Town Council for the City of Torrington met on Tuesday, April 16. In attendance were mayor Herb Doby and councilmembers Dr. Richard Patterson, Dennis Kelly, Shane Viktorin, and Wayne Deahl.

Mayor Doby called the meeting to order promptly at 7 p.m. and Deahl led the council and attendees in the Pledge of Allegiance.  

In the mayor’s informational items, Doby briefly addressed natural gas selection noting that Wyoming Community Gas gives back to the community. He also reminded the residents of Torrington spring clean-up dates will be Saturday, May 4 through Saturday, May 11. Doby also mentioned there will be a water restriction in place due to the sewer work which began at the beginning of April. He also reminded the community to be aware while driving as spring has brought many residents outside to enjoy the weather. 

The council then went on to approve the consent agenda which included the minutes from the April 2 council meeting and then they quickly approved the agenda.

There was no participation during the public forum. 

Moving on to informational items, Heidi Wayland, center director at the Torrington Learning Center, and Jessica Rohrer, center director at the Lincoln Infant and Toddler Center, on behalf of Wyoming Child and Family Development presented on development disabilities local match.

Wayland spoke to the council about the services provided at the center, expressing it is suggested children should receive development testing at least one time before the age of five. Rohrer expressed regardless of where the center performs the services for children, there is no charge for their services. Wayland also mentioned services are also provided at the Wyoming Medium Correctional Institute (WMCI) in Torrington for expecting mothers. 

“I’m at TLC, Torrington Learning Center,” Wayland explained to the council. “I have one classroom that ages 0-3 and three classrooms that are ages 3 to 5. We also do a home-based program where we go into family’s homes and then we also go into WMCI and serve incarcerated pregnant moms.”

“I have the area at the end of the building here. I have three classrooms that are birth to three and we have eight kids in each classroom, so I serve 24 children in my program,” Rohrer said. 

Wayland expressed the program at WMCI was a new addition and the facility has been welcoming to Wayland and her team.

In the action items, mayor Doby proclaimed April 26, 2024, as Arbor Day. 

Doby gave a brief description of the history of Arbor Day and called on Denise Estes, building and grounds superintendent, to provide a brief discussion on the city’s involvement in the celebration this year.

Estes invited the mayor and council to attend local Arbor Day celebrations with the fourth-grade elementary class at the sports complex on April 30 at 1:45 p.m. with the state forestry department later this month. Estes and the city officials present at the meeting noted approximately 40 trees have been planted in Torrington by the Arbor Day Foundation. 

Moving on to the second item in action items, the council voted to approve an ordinance relating to special events permits and fees on the third reading. 

Mayor Doby called on Torrington Police Chief Mathew Johnson for a brief explanation of the revisions made for the second and third reading of the ordinance. Johnson also provided detailed information about how the ordinance was developed as far as manhours working together. 

“I want to thank those who were involved in this. This is a substantial ordinance. I think it is necessary,” Doby said mentioning the new ordinance works well for all city departments. 

Dealh motioned to approve the ordinance on the third reading which was seconded by Kelly. The motion carried.

The council moved on to the first reading of an ordinance relating to regular meetings. 

The ordinance would change the time of the city council meeting. 

Lynette Stricker and Jim Eddington both informed the council the standard meeting time for the council meeting had been 7 p.m. for many years. Doby went on to explain he felt 5:30 p.m. would be a more considerable meeting time for the city council. 

“We’re not asking anybody to consider business hours,” Doby said. “I thought 5:30 (p.m.) was a good hour and my explanation for that is we have staff that are here and have very long days on the first and third Tuesdays of the month.”

“I am in favor of this change,” Patterson said. “Because I don’t see the real advantage, I’m retired so I have a lot of flexibility but trying to be sensitive to people who are not retired. Especially the city employees who are on salary, by the way, while they’re here all these hours, the meter isn’t running so to speak but they’re putting in time.” 

A motion was made to accept the ordinance on the first reading by Patterson which was seconded by Dealh. The ordinance passed on the first reading narrowly by a three to two-vote. Viktorin and Kelley voted against it.

Moving on to item four, the council heard staff recommendations to agree with Avfuel Corporation to supply both Jet-A and 100LL fuel to the Torrington Municipal Airport. Mayor Doby called on Jeff Harkins, director of public works, to discuss fuel contracts.

After a brief comparison of the current fuel company and Avfuel, citing the airport will have the ability to select the amount of fuels ordered and the length of the contract.

“One of the things that was brought up was the length of the contact,” Harkins said. “We weren’t really in favor of signing up for a seven-year contract, so we wanted that modified to a three-year contract.”

“We discussed this contract at length with the airport board on April 9,” Harkins said. “Avfuel is one of the largest aviation fuel companies in our region. They’re very large and I think their main office is in Michigan if I am not mistaken.”

Harkins expressed one of the added benefits of selecting the company for fuel supply was the $50 million liability insurance policy.

Doby noted the new proposed contract was much more flexible than the contract the city had previously. 

“One thing I think that troubled our city airport with the current fuel contractor is we can’t purchase basically anything less than a full load so this Avfuel, will they allow us to purchase X amount whatever we need, kind of a custom purchase?” Viktorin asked Harkins.

“Because they are so widely spread out through the state, they can split loads going from one airport to the next airport,” Harkins explained. “They guaranteed Mike Richey the airport manager that is basically how they stay in business is because they do deal a lot with the smaller airports.”

Viktorin made a motion to approve the contract with Avfuel which was seconded by Kelly. The motion carried.

Moving on to the fifth item on the agenda, the council motioned to move the petition for annexation into the city of Torrington of land located NW1/2SE1/4 of section four, township 24 north, range 61 west, annexing the Wireless Addition ordinance on the first reading and the establishing I-1 zoning for lots one and two of the Wireless Addition ordinance on the first reading, three items which were previously tabled by the council during the March 19 council meeting. The motion was seconded by Deahl and the motion carried to add the previously tabled items to the evening’s agenda. 

For item six, the council moved on to a board of adjustment regarding the annexation into the city of Torrington of land located NW1/2SE1/4 of section four, T24N, R61W During the public hearing, the council heard the annexation report from Dennis Estes, building and grounds superintendent. 

“As you remember, like the mayor said, it came up for you back in early March,” Estes said. “What we have here is a petition for annexation from Green Eagle Communications. They are requesting an annexation of 5.74 acre partial of land located in the following location,” Estes said as he pointed to the portion in question of the map for the council. “We are talking about this 500-foot by 500-foot partial of land west of the college and right south of the hospital. Green Eagle Communications wishes to take this entire property, split it down the middle, and annex it.”

Estes stressed he has received no public comment for or against the annexation, noting he spoke to landowners and sent certified letters.

Jim Eddington, city attorney spoke to the council about the planning commission’s inability to obtain a quorum to vote on the annexation. He stated the commission was merely an advisory and there was no reason to continuously notify for meetings. 

“As you recall, they are an advisory committee and I think it is not in anyone’s best interests, not the petitioner to annex and not the city’s, to keep repeating and republishing to try and get a quorum for the planning commission,” Eddington said. “This governing body makes the final decision so we would urge you to go ahead and make that decision.”

After the brief discussion, Doby moved on to the open public hearing where there were no comments for or against the annexation. 

A motion was made to approve the annexation report and accept the petition for annexation. The motion carried. 

In item seven, the council heard the ordinance annexing the Wireless Addition on the first reading. Doby called on Estes to explain the property in question was the same as noted in the previous motion. A motion was made to accept the ordinance on the first reading for the annexation of the Wireless Addition which carried. 

The council moved on to item eight, establishing I-1 zoning for lots one and two of the Wireless Addition where Doby called on Estes for any additional information. 

Estes stated it the lots would be for industrial use. 

A motion was made to accept the ordinance on the first reading, establishing I-1 zoning for lots one and two of the Wireless Addition. 

The council quickly moved on to item nine, approval of the bills from April 3 to April 16, 2024. 

Harkins stated the additional fees on the bills associated with Avfuel were due to issues with the fuel tanks at the airport. There was a brief discussion on lounge chairs purchased for the swimming pool, noting the higher costs were associated with the “commercial grade” purchase.

During the approval of bills, councilmen Viktorin requested to be removed from voting to pay a bill to Z&W Mill due to a conflict of interest, and two separate motions were made to pay the monthly bills. 

“To avoid the optics of impropriety, I will abstain from that payment,” Viktorin said. 

Patterson made a motion to approve the bill to Z&W which was carried. Kelly then made a motion to approve the remainder of the bills as read which was seconded by Dealh. The motion carried and the bills were approved. 

During the public comment, chief Johnson spoke on the importance of the communications team in the dispatch center considering National Telecommunications Week.

“It’s amazing when you read the report how many calls come in and how many are handled a year,” Kelly said. “It’s amazing how you get that much done.”

The council applauded communications officer Heather Kraus and communications supervisor Bailye Goulart, who were in attendance, in appreciation. 

Fire chief Luis Correa read the fire report stating the department has had about four grass fire calls, a carbon monoxide detector, a possible natural gas leak, and a motor vehicle accident in the last few weeks. Correa stated there were a couple of firefighters who were attending training in Cody. 

Doby mentioned the importance of calling in control burns. 

“If one is going to have a controlled burn, the best policy is to call dispatch and let them know who you are and where the controlled burn is,” Doby said.

“It makes sure we aren’t getting dispatched to something they don’t want put out and I’m sure it makes the dispatcher’s life a lot easier when they’re not having to get about three or four different calls on something they knew was going on,” Correa said. “It’s important to make sure you notify when you start and when you finish so when those calls come in, they can handle them efficiently.” 

“Mr. Mayor, I’m glad that you continue to stress that because it’s peak control burn season right now, especially in agriculture with irrigation ditches and so forth getting ready for those seasons so it’s very important to call the nonemergent number (307-532-7001) and alert the dispatch staff of your intent to burn and to call when you’re done,” Viktorin added.

In closing, Estes mentioned dog waste has become an increased problem in the public spaces and he reminded the public planter sponsors are needed. 

Deahl reminded the community of elections coming up. 

The meeting was then adjourned at 8:35 p.m.