This week started off with a meeting with the Cheyenne Animal Shelter’s director, Britney Tennant, to discuss the details of a new three-year contract. We shared a cup of coffee at the Central Café and worked on the terms of the contract. In our two hour meeting we were able to agree on all but one of the issues before us. During our discussion I learned a couple of interesting facts. One fact is approximately 30,000 kittens will be born in Laramie County this year. Unfortunately, there is a 60% mortality rate for these little ones. I tell you this with the hope folks will get their cats and dogs spayed or neutered to prevent overpopulation of animals. Another concern is court holds placed on animals that are put into detention at the shelter. This happens for legal cases and for some domestic disputes. While the court cases slowly roll on, the animals in detention tend to go crazy. This leads to many of them having to be euthanized at the end of the cases. We need to find a better way to handle these unfortunate situations. Our goal is to present a new contract to the governing bodies by the end of May.
The budget was again the focus of our attention this week. I met with our fire department, municipal court, and city attorney. This was the last of our meetings with city departments and outside agencies. Now the focus is to confirm our revenues and funding the budget requests we can afford. I wish we could fund all the requests, but we will prioritize what we can afford. I am required to present a balanced budget to the city council in the next two weeks.
Our DDA has a new leader, Thom Gabrukiewicz. I got to meet him at a lunch meeting and was impressed with his skill set and energy level. I am excited to add Thom’s experience to our downtown partners like Visit Cheyenne and the Greater Chamber of Commerce. Our downtown’s future looks bright! Welcome Thom to our team.
I got a bit of a history lesson this week. Mayor Sean Fitzpatrick from Astoria Oregon stopped by to introduce himself and share his Cheyenne family history. Sean’s great great grandfather started the Devine Grain Company in 1917 where the Bread Basket is now located. It is now called the A&C Feed Store. Sean and his brother just purchased their great great grandfather’s old building. They visited family in Cheyenne growing up and have a love of our town. Their purchase keeps that connection alive. We will see mayor Sean a lot more in the future
One of our great businesses on 15th street is Chronicles Distilling. Aaron Lesher came by to update me on their business and to look for ways the city might be able to help support their business. I stopped by their distillery during a walking tour of the area a year ago. I was impressed by the operation and the amazing furniture Chase Lesher has built for the tasting room. We have big plans for the 15th Street Railroad Experience and businesses like Chronicles are a big part our planned success.
A year ago, we rolled out a new employee handbook. We needed to modernize our handbook and make it more relevant. We also promised to get an employee group together annually to review the handbook and to recommend changes. I was able to review their suggestions this week and came away impressed. They did a great job. I really appreciate their willingness to serve.
We have another addition coming to our municipal court. Andrew Sickenberger is joining the court as the full-time public defender. Our court is unfortunately too busy. Folks who can’t afford an attorney are guaranteed one by the law. Adding Andrew will make sure we meet the law and provide another piece to make the court function efficiently. I wish we did not need the court, but until that day we will make sure we do it well.
The Wyoming Montana safety council is an organization dedicated to improving safety for their customers and our city. I joined a drivers education class to encourage the students to avoid distractions and read a proclamation declaring April Distracted Driving Month. The drivers ages ranged from 15 to 54 and I enjoyed meeting with them. I would encourage all of you to take the pledge to avoid distractions while driving, especially your cell phone.
Our Board of Public Utilities is joining the green energy revolution. A hydroelectric plant is about to be finished next to the water treatment plant. The water line going into the plant will turn the turbines that will provide the electricity needed to run the water treatment plant and the excess will be added to the grid. The 20-million-dollar plant is expected to save the BOPU 30 million dollars over the 50 year life expectancy. I don’t like heights but found the tour of the facility fascinating. I commend the board and staff for their foresight.
We are blessed with GIS resources in Laramie County. It is a partnership with the county, city, MPO, and BOPU where we share resources to make sure we have the necessary data needed to support government, and business. The technology used to map our county blows me away, and the maps they produce are amazing. We have quarterly meetings with the GIS team. I find it hard to follow along sometimes as they have a jargon all their own. I hope they don’t mind me stopping to ask for definitions and explanations. This was the last meeting for Ken Guille as he is leaving the assessor’s position to take command of the property tax division of the department of revenue. After 10 years Ken will be missed, and we wish him well in his new adventure.
My last meeting this week was with a great team dedicated to creating a new parking opportunity for visitors and residents going to Cheyenne Frontier Days. CFD, city, county, Air Force, Greater Chamber of Commerce, and WYDOT are all working together to build a bridge across I25 to an area that used to be the base golf course. Building a parking area where patrons can easily walk to the venue and back will enhance the visitor experience. It should also create a way for folks living on base to safely access the greenway. This will be so much better than queuing up for the school bus for the ride. I appreciate the legislature for their support of this effort.
This has been a tough week for our facility team at the city. We lost a transformer in our almost 50-year-old building. The biggest problem is we keep getting fire alarms many times a day. It got so bad we had to disable the system and our facility team members have to stay in the building 24 hours a day on fire watch. I can’t say enough about Steve and his team for their dedication and willingness to stand watch. The new transformer has been installed and we are waiting for the service company to reset our fire alarm system. Thanks guys!!
I hope you all have been enjoying this early spring weather. I swear I have photosynthesis for an energy system, amazing what a bit of sunshine does for my energy level.
If you have a question or comment for me, please send an email to email@example.com. I’ll continue to answer your questions or concerns in the following Mayor’s Minute column.