Patterson won’t seek reelection

Jess Oaks
Posted 5/10/24

TORRINGTON – The Torrington City Council convened on Tuesday, May 7 for the first monthly meeting in May.  

Mayor Herb Doby was present along with council members Dr. Richard …

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Patterson won’t seek reelection


TORRINGTON – The Torrington City Council convened on Tuesday, May 7 for the first monthly meeting in May. 

Mayor Herb Doby was present along with council members Dr. Richard Patterson, Dennis Kelly, Shane Viktorin, and Wayne Deahl were present and mayor Doby called the meeting to order promptly at 7 p.m. 

Viktorin lead the council and community in attendance in the Pledge of Allegiance. 

During the mayor’s informational items, Doby reminded the community of the city of Torrington about the clean-up dates, May 4 to May 11, where residents can use the city dump for free. Doby also explained the sewer line project was completed at the end of April and Doby expressed his gratitude for the community members who were affected. 

“This year’s sewer line project was quite successful, and I want to thank all the residents who were affected during the project for their patience and cooperation,” Doby said. “You played a great part in the sewer line project’s success.”

Mayor Doby then expressed the month of May is a big month for proclamations, noting four proclamations on the agenda for Tuesday evening. 

“One that is not on the agenda but is nonetheless important and relevant is May as mental health awareness month,” Doby explained. “Mental illness ranging from mild to severe is pervasive in America and right here in Torrington and Goshen County unless you or a family member suffers from a mental illness or you work in the court system, the school system, the medical system, or law enforcement you may not be as aware of the pervasiveness of mental health mental illness and how it impacts our community in so many ways.”

Doby also reminded the community to slow down and refrain from using cell phones while driving with the increase of residents outside in the community. 

The council then moved on to the approval of the consent agenda which included the minutes from the April 16 council meeting. 

Patterson noted two typing errors in the meeting minutes due to a misspelling. Patterson then made a motion to approve the consent agenda with the amendments of correcting the misspelling which was then seconded by Deahl. 

The motion passed and the meeting minutes will be amended and approved. 

Moving on to the next item on the agenda, the council approved the agenda for Tuesday evening’s meeting. 

During the public forum, there were no participants. 

Moving on to the action items, the council heard appointments for the official voting delegates and alternate. Doby was appointed as the official voting delegate and Silvia Anaya, deputy city clerk, was appointed as an alternate voting delegate as recommended. 

The council moved on to the first proclamation for May, “Drink Water Week,” for May 5-11, 2024. 

Tom Troxel, water/wastewater supervisor briefly explained the EPA testing and regulations for city water, mentioning Torrington has no lead water lines. 

“Our water is treated by reverse osmosis. I want to say to the public, that reverse osmosis is probably the best treatment that the city could have went with 20 years ago because reverse osmosis takes out the majority of the contaminants that aren’t regulated in drinking water,” Troxel expressed.

A motion was made by Viktorin to approve the proclamation and have the mayor sign the proclamation, which was approved.

“Mr. Mayor, Tom, I hope I’m not speaking out of turn but I’m sure you would are open to anybody coming to see our state-of-the-art treatment facility and see how the city’s water is treated and distributed,” Viktorin said.

“Absolutely, councilmen,” Troxel said. 

The council then moved on to the next item on the agenda, proclaiming May 19-25, 2024, as National Public Works Week. 

Troxel extended his invitation to the public to learn a little more about the behind-the-scenes activities of the town’s employees. 

“A lot of people take a lot of things for granted nowadays,” Troxel explained. “They just turn on a tap and there is water or they set their garbage out to the alley or the front of the street and it’s gone. They don’t know what it takes to process that to get it taken care of.”

“I’m offering the water department until the end of May. If any of our residents want to see the treatment plant, I’d be glad to show them that,” Troxel explained. 

In another proclamation on the agenda, the council approved to proclaim May 19-25, 2024, as “Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Week”. 

Doby mentioned Darin Yates, EMS executive director was absent from the meeting due to a vacation.  

“I know the head of our EMS, Darin Yates, executive director is actually out on vacation. He doesn’t take enough vacation, so he is out tonight with my approval and encouragement,” Doby explained.

“I came to know those guys when they invited me to the Christmas party. They hadn’t had one for several years. They’re quite an entertaining group they are well-trained, and they are dedicated,” Doby said. “It takes a special person to live that lifestyle crazy hours all of the stuff that goes along with it.”

“Mr. Mayor, I would also like to make a few comments and show my appreciation for the for the emergency services department that we have,” Viktorin said. “A lot of people don’t know this but, every month, we as the council, get a report from our director (Yates). I wanted to share with the public just in the last month of April how fast our emergency medical service team responds to the scene, responds to homes, wherever they’re needed. In the month of April, the average time from notification to arrival on the scene is just a little over four minutes. I think our community needs to be very appreciative of how quickly and how fast not only our dispatch team dispatches those personnel to the scene but how quickly those personnel arrive and can start giving aid and care to those in need,” Viktorin said. 

Viktorin noted EMS had responded to nearly 100 calls during the month of April. 

In the final proclamation on the agenda, the council made a motion to proclaim May 2024 as “Tennis Month.”

Curtis Burkely and Andrea Matlock, both tennis coaches for Torrington High School were present for discussion.

“With this proclamation, the United States Tennis Association actually gives a little bit of a grant to programs to help support tennis,” Burkely explained. “Whether it’s through tennis balls or rackets or anything to help support people who want to play tennis.”

The council then moved on to the ordinance’s first reading relating to the power purchase agreement with Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska (MEAN).

Dana Youtz, electric department superintendent was absent from the meeting however city attorney, Jim Eddington read the ordinance aloud for the council. 

“I think that there was a meeting. I know Dana Youtz, of our electric department, attended that. MEAN changed the contract that had been in place for about 40 years,” Doby explained. 

Doby further mentioned Eddington had been consulted regarding the new contract.

“If the changes do anything, they benefit the City of Torrington because my understanding is it allows us to get out of the contract if we think that it is appropriate, after 25 years. Before, we couldn’t get out of the contract at all correct this perpetual so that was to some advantage that,” Doby explained. “I’ve talked to staff about this, and the City of Torrington is served well by purchasing our electricity from MEAN. But we have to have this ordinance which authorizes me as mayor to sign the contract, correct?” Doby asked Eddington. 

Eddington agreed.

In item number seven of the agenda, the council heard the second reading for an ordinance relating to regular meetings. 

“We had a fairly substantial discussion, I thought, when we considered this ordinance on first reading. Just to remind everybody the only change to the ordinance would be to change the meeting time of city council meetings from 7:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.,” Doby expressed.

Doby relayed there had been no public feedback regarding the discussion of changing meeting times. 

When a motion was made to approve the ordinance on the second reading, Kelly and Viktorin voted against the change while Doby, Deahl, and Patterson for the 5:30 p.m. meeting time. The motion passed, approving the ordinance on the second reading.

Next, the council heard the second reading of the ordinance annexing the Wireless Addition. 

“Mayor, since this started, I have had no public comment, so staff recommends approval,” Dennis Estes, buildings and grounds superintendent said. 

A motion was made by Viktorin which was seconded by Kelly. The motion was voted on and carried and the city approved the second reading of the ordinance annexing the Wireless Addition. 

The council then moved on to the second reading of an ordinance establishing I-1 zoning for lots one and two of the Wireless Addition. 

Estes stated there had been no public comment for or against the zoning and he explained the I-1 zoning is the “lightest industrial zone”.

Deahl made the motion to approve the motion as outlined in the agenda which was seconded by Kelly. The council then voted and approved the ordinance on second reading. 

In the next item on the agenda, the council heard from chief of police, Matt Johnson, on a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the State of Wyoming, the Department of Corrections, and the Torrington Police Department.

Johnson explained the MOU would help the prison and Torrington Police Department work together if the need should arise and after a brief discussion, Viktorin motioned for the mayor to sign the memorandum of understanding which was second and carried.

On the agenda next was item 11, waiving of nepotism policy for seasonal swimming pool employees.

Lynette Strecker, clerk/treasurer spoke to the council about the manager of the pool, Jennifer Brummell, and her “daughter,” who the pool seeks to hire for a lifeguard position, would require the council to wave the nepotism policy for the pool for the year.

A motion was made, seconded and the motion carried. 

Next, the council discussed waiving of nepotism policy for the Torrington Volunteer Fire Department secretary position. 

“It’s pretty much the same request here. I believe there are some minutes in the meeting. No one was interested in doing the reports, so I guess his (fire chief, Luis Correa) so I guess his wife (Lauren Correa) stepped up to do it,” Strecker said.

The council next moved on to the approval of the April 17, to May 7, 2024, bills. 

“Thank you, mayor, council. Attach your agenda is a list of bills and then also some handed out tonight was an additional set of bills. We do have a three-week break in between approval so we do have quite a few bills to approve tonight and a quite large dollar amount,” Strecker said.

Estes noted the bid for the cement work recently done was incorrect and the city had to pay additional fees due to a contracting error.

Viktorin abstained from approval of the Z&W Mill bill which appeared on the bills for approval and the remaining council members voted to approve and pay the Z&W Mill bill separately. 

The council then made a motion to approve the remaining bills, which carried. 

During the public comment portion of the council meeting, 

Correa gave the fire department report where he explained the variety of emergency response calls the fire department responded to over the last month. 

Johnson spoke to the council during the public comment portion of the meeting on Tuesday evening. 

“There was a really important event that happened this last Saturday that involves a really humble group of heroes that I think we would be remiss and not recognizing. Saturday was International Firefighter Appreciation Day,” Johnson said. “We are incredibly fortunate as a community to have the team of Torrington Volunteer Fire Department serving us as an agency. We are so grateful for their partnership and for their friendship and help in keeping our community safe. They are a team of volunteers who freely give up themselves to provide amazing service to our community.”

Councilmember Patterson announced his retirement from the council effective at the end of his term.

“I have decided that I will not be running for reelection at the end of my term,” Patterson said. “Now that doesn’t end until the end until January so it’s not like I am going away today. I’ve got about seven months to go. I wanted to announce it publicly so that if someone or maybe several someone’s in the community are interested in serving the filing will be opening soon.”

“I cannot think of a better way to spend your time a better way to contribute to your community than this city council,” Patterson said. “It has been a pleasure to work with all of these folks and those who preceded them. My wife keeps reminding me, that nothing is forever and there are some things that we might want to do before while we can. That is what the decision was based on. I encourage, I especially encourage maybe someone who is female or maybe someone who is younger. I think a good mixture of representation is helpful for the community,” Patterson explained.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:34 p.m. to reconvene on May 21 at 7 p.m.