Before I tell you about my exciting week, I have to give you an up-to-date grandpa report. Our first grandchild finally came home, after spending more than a week in the NICU. It was great to finally meet him! His mom on the other hand is still recovering, but we’re so happy she finally came home. Everyone is happy, safe, and complete. Throughout the years, I have heard many stories about the special bond you feel and develop as a grandparent. I can confirm it is true. I’m loving this new job!
I speak often about new experiences, and I encountered another this week. We have a local business that is in trouble with our City Clerk’s office for failing to follow city regulations. The problems are magnified by the fact the business owner does not speak English, and for that reason, I’m not sure our message was being understood. I have a great friend named Yue that speaks Mandarin, so I arranged for him to interpret. Yue did a great job, and we now have a clear understanding going forward. My hope is our city will continue having successful businesses. Thanks, Yue!
Parking is a constant conversation in our downtown. This past week, the Downtown Business Association held meetings to discuss what the business community would like to see regarding parking. I met with Sam Galeotos to learn his thoughts on how to improve the business climate downtown by fixing parking. He has been working downtown for quite a while now and has seen a big improvement in the business climate. I learned a few things that should be easy to implement that should also make the parking situation better. I appreciate the downtown business community engaging in this conversation.
We swore in two new police officers this week. Across the country, the public’s respect for law enforcement is not great in many areas. I am proud of the way our community treats our police officers. One of the officers sworn in is a lateral transfer from the Platte County Sheriff’s Office. It is wonderful when you get officers who are already trained and experienced; a quick training period to learn our policies, and they’re able to step right in and perform their job. The other officer comes to us after leaving the military. We still have a couple of job openings for the police department, if anyone out there wants a great career serving their community.
Some meetings are not as fun or comfortable as others. I met with Ryan and MJ from Redco Construction to discuss ways the city could improve the way we work with the building community. Small world, I worked for Marv right out of high school with Redco. It is so cool to see a third-generation family member running the company and doing so, successfully. During this meeting, I learned a few things we could improve on and got a chance to catch up with old friends.
Tuesday was the day to meet with our building and development community. Another group stopped by for a visit and filled my conference room to discuss our current situation and how we can better serve their businesses. The city controls the building and development process; from the very beginning to the certificate of occupancy once the project is finished. One thing I really liked about our meeting was the positive way challenges were discussed. I like to hear what the customer service goal is and then work to find ways to meet them. They were clear on expectations, so I know what success looks like from their point of view.
Interestingly enough, The United States has a program where state national guards are matched with foreign countries. The Wyoming National Guard is paired with Tunisia. As a result of this relationship, I had the distinct privilege of meeting many members of the Tunisian government. I met members from the Tunisian Ministry of Agriculture, civil protection, and education for a meet and greet. I enjoyed the experience and learned there are many similarities between our countries. By virtue of their kindness and stories about Tunisia, Judy and I are planning to visit this fall. Before arranging our plans, I visited our county’s Health Department to see what kind of vaccinations we should get. We received the Hepatitis-A shot and now we are ready to go.
On Wednesday morning, we had our department director’s meeting. We have a great team and I like spending time discussing issues they are dealing with. I find these municipal discussions stimulating. Running a city requires such a diverse set of skills and our team has them. Homeless issues, annexations, traffic, bridge design, freedom of information requests, audits, zoning, ARPA funding, abandoned houses, fire stations, recreation programs, and performance reviews are just a few of the items we discussed at this week’s meeting.
Youth Alternatives is an amazing asset, which supports the youth in our community. Ronn Jeffrey started the program 50 years ago, and today, Jay Sullivan is their fearless leader. He stopped by to update me on the department and staff. Taking care of the mental health aspect within our community is such an important mission and they do it all so well. With their small staff, I wanted to also discuss succession planning to make sure this important mission does not miss a step.
Another interesting meeting, this time happened with our Board of Public Utilities, engineering, and planning. We potentially have a very large new business that could choose to come to Cheyenne. I sure hope so! We met to make sure we are all on the same page moving forward and to maximize our chances of getting this business sold on our community. What made me really happy was the fact, we were all thinking the same way and have a great plan to get them to say yes! LEADS is doing its job of finding the companies, so we must work hard to make sure we deliver and don’t let them down.
Our group of the six largest cities in the state met also met this week, in preparation for the Corporations Committee meeting on liquor laws and affordable housing. We had a great conversation on why we need additional liquor licenses. All of us are sold out of retail liquor licenses and see the lost opportunities, due to the lack of liquor options for new businesses. We also discussed the need to approve a constitutional amendment this November. Amendment A would allow cities to invest their reserves with the state treasurer, which would allow cities to make so much money and support the delivery of municipal services. Our treasurer has more investment options than we do, resulting in better returns. Remember, if you leave this blank on your ballot, state law records it as a no vote. Please educate yourself on this important issue and check the box that matches your assessment.
I drove to Casper on Thursday for the Corporations Committee meeting. Our legislators do a great job of soliciting comments and working to find ways to get our ideas passed into law. This meeting was the same thing. They listened to hours of testimony and have three bills moving forward in the process. A big one is a bill to give us more bar and grill licenses. We have 14 great restaurants currently using this license and Cheyenne is sold out. This bill will give us seven more licenses starting July 1, 2023, which may result in more dining options. They also are working on a bill that would allow entertainment businesses a way to get a liquor license. The big challenge is how to define entertainment. Our next opportunity to get the bills ready for the legislative session is in October. We will be ready to join our partners to advocate for more opportunities in Cheyenne and the state.
In a lighter fare, I’m excited that football season is finally here, and our beloved Cowboys will be playing against Illinois. Go Pokes!!
If you have a question for me, send it to email@example.com. I’ll continue to answer them in the following Mayor’s Minute column.