I enjoy our relationships with the military here in Cheyenne. We get to meet so many great people. One of those is Major General Fred Stoss. He was assigned to serve in Cheyenne three times over his career. His last duty was the Commander of the 20th Air Force. He retired last Thursday, and I traveled with a fun group to his ceremony. Fred’s last job was Director, Plans, and Policy for USSTRATCOM at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska. I appreciate his service and wish him great happiness in his retirement.
We have not updated our employee handbook for many years. Our HR team has spent parts of the past couple of years revising it. I had no idea how involved this effort would be. So many people spent time giving feedback and now we have a great product. It is important to keep current, and I appreciate the effort and results.
Our Chief Building Official (CBO) stopped by to talk about growth and how we need to make sure we are keeping up with hiring of inspectors. The building community expects good customer service, and our CBO is committed to making sure his department provides it. We will need to add some staff as building intensity increases.
Visit Cheyenne hosted a great conference of travel planners. 300 folks came to Cheyenne, and it gave us a chance to show off our beautiful city. I was pleased to welcome and thank them for coming. I hope they will help us fill our hotel rooms in the future. I always enjoy the energy and enthusiasm these travel groups bring.
I have no artistic ability, but really do appreciate those that do. I also appreciate those who have artistic ideas. Art Cheyenne has the idea of painting designs in some crosswalks in the West Edge. They showed me some designs from other cities, and they were brilliant. The plan is to have our high schools design and paint crosswalks. It has been shown to slow down traffic and is really a way to beautify our city. June 4th will be a fun day to watch it happen.
We listened to the last four applicants for our newest retail liquor license. I was again impressed by these entrepreneurs and their proposed plans. We have now listened to 10 proposals, and it is going to be a very tough decision for the Committee of the Whole next Wednesday evening. I wish state law would allow us to reward all these applications. Sigh!
We are working on the budget, and the hardest part is projecting what revenues will be for the next fiscal year. Our Treasurer, Robin Lockman, does a great job in handling our finances. We spent a couple of hours working through the inputs and determined our revenues will be $58,368,852. With all the requests from departments we are $6,114,071 in the negative. We have a lot of work to do, but we will have a balanced budget by the end of the process.
Tim Bradshaw is our new airport manager. I really appreciate his efforts in reaching out to the community to introduce himself and talk about the future of the airport. He is bullish on our city and how the airport can contribute. We had lunch and discussed the future of the old terminal, the upcoming runway construction, economic development potential on the airport, and the future of air service. It is great to welcome Tim to our city team!
The Chair of the Mayor’s Youth Council (MYC) is a senior at East High School. Zoey stopped by my office to share her DECA presentation that she will take to nationals at the end of April. Her team has been working on the effects, both positive and negative, of social media. I was impressed by the amount of work that went into the presentation and wish them well. Our whole Mayor’s Youth Council is an impressive group.
A bit of sad news for our city team. Teresa Moore is the director of our Community Recreation and Events department. She has decided to retire and spend time with family, ride her bike, create her beautiful art, spend time with friends, and volunteer. She has been such a great member of our team and her shoes will be very hard to fill. Her last day will be July 5th and I hope you will thank her for her service to Cheyenne when you see her. You will find her and her granddaughter on the water paddling their kayaks.
We are working very hard to get the construction of our three new fire stations underway. We met with a landowner to continue discussions on siting the western most station on his property. He is not interested is selling but will trade for like lands. We have spent time finding the right property, getting it appraised, and designing how a station would fit on his property. Good news is we have a good fit for trading and are close to getting it done. I so appreciate him for being willing to make this happen. His location is so important in getting the proper spacing of stations that will let our fire department meet the four-minute response time. Thanks again to our Sixth Penny Sales Tax voters for their support of public safety in Cheyenne.
Our city hires many seasonal employees that are essential to meeting the mission of the city. Mowing grass in our parks, trimming around monuments in the cemetery, and many more work so hard to keep our city beautiful. We have worked to make the wages attractive and write their paychecks twice a month to make the job more appealing. Shameless plug, the city is a great place to work for a summer job. Pass the word. We met to make sure we are doing everything we can to make the city an employer of choice for summer work, and a career.
Our first department budget meeting was with Vicki Nemecek, our Public Works director. Vicki has a vast department with sanitation, landfill, transit, street and alley, traffic, and facilities. With the largest number of employees, it takes a good manager to balance all the diverse responsibilities and personalities. I enjoy the opportunity to discuss upcoming needs and priorities. One thing I am going to need to remember is as the city grows, we will need more snowplow drivers, pothole fillers, sanitation drivers, etc. We are growing and can’t forget to keep up with the necessary staffing. Vicki also discussed our upcoming computer software purchase and the need to inventory all our buildings and their condition to populate the software. This new program will help our facilities crew with projecting when maintenance needs to be done. I can’t wait to have these tools.
Last bit of good news. In October we were forced to close the municipal building due to a bad boiler that was putting carbon monoxide into the building. The plan to remedy the situation was to fix the boiler and change the way we vent the boilers outside. We finally got the parts to fix the boiler, but the piping to vent them took months due to supply chain problems. Great news, we finally finished the necessary repairs and got permission to move back into the building starting April 1st. It will take a bit to get everyone moved back, so the building will reopen to the public on April 11th. Our facility team, Chief Building Official, and others have worked so hard to make sure our building is safe for our employees, and I want to express my thanks for their hard work and dedication.
If you have a question for me, send it to email@example.com. I’ll continue to answer them in my following Mayor’s Minute column.