I love to brag on our city staff. This week we got good news from our auditor, MHP on our city audit. In a work session, MHP Partner Stephanie Pickering gave us the results from her team spending months going over the city books. I am proud to say we got a very clean audit again this year. Robin Lockman is our Treasurer, she and her team work year round to make sure your money is well taken care of. I am so proud of our team and the results their work has produced.
The Fire Union and mayor’s office have met weekly for a while now. I have shared how important this relationship is to both sides. Working collaboratively, we can prevent disagreements that end up going to expensive arbitration. I am amazed how much I have learned about being a fire fighter. One thing I do know is that I am not wired for their career. Running into a burning building is not in my abilities but supporting them sure is. We have a few more weeks until we are required by state law to begin negotiating a new contract. I am sure the time both sides have invested will prove to be worth it.
We lost a beloved member of our council family with the passing of Margaret Laybourn, December 18th of last year. She was an energetic woman who spent her days raising 10 children and working for social justice wherever she saw the need. Judy and I attended her funeral on Saturday to support Councilman Laybourn and honor her memory. It was said she squeezed every bit of juice out of her 99 years of life. She will be missed.
The legislature is in town for the next two months. It will keep all of us busy tracking hundreds of bills that may affect our city. I had a chance to have lunch with Senator Pappas to discuss bills that are important to the city and to learn about the legislation he is supporting in the session. We are blessed to have legislators who do so much for our city, county, and state. I look forward to working with them and helping them understand our municipal issues.
Our Chamber of Commerce has been a great partner in Cheyenne for decades now. Paula Poythress and Dale asked for a meeting to discuss the development process and concerns they have heard in the community. I appreciate their taking time to advocate for their members who are in the building trades. It is one of my top priorities to provide great customer service to those who build our community. We have come a long way, but I know there are ways we can make development easier.
I had another first this week. I am now an avatar. Superintendent Margaret Crespo and I voiced a cartoon for crosswalk safety in school zones. Too dang funny to see us in that form. Margaret and I took some time to catch up and work on all the things we do together. I am constantly amazed with the number of ways we partner, share facilities, and help each other out. She is the best!
We had the longest council meeting of our administration Monday night. I did not think the agenda was going to require a long meeting, but I was four hours wrong about that. We had long discussions about annexation, building code changes, requirements for boards and commissions, and changes to our CDBG program. I like lively discussions and dissent, as long as we keep from getting personal. The folks who came to our meeting did just that. I appreciate the input and that they cared enough to attend.
Talk about housing is the topic of conversation at the capitol, and in city hall. We just don’t have enough, and I am worried about those who can’t afford rent anymore. Brenda and Dan who served on our housing task force came to see me about extending their service to take the suggestions made in the final report and see them to fruition. I am excited for the help with this incredibly difficult challenge.
I shared with you about our meeting with the DDA board to chart the future of the organization. Dave Teubner is a new board member and was not able to attend our meeting last week, so I met with him this week to catch him up on our conversation and get his vision for our downtown. He has enthusiasm for downtowns and has studied them across the country. I left our meeting so excited by what our downtown could be. I also don’t want to forget to celebrate the successes our downtown has achieved over the past years. We have such beautiful buildings and folks dedicated to maximizing the possibilities. We can’t help but be successful.
The next step in the sports complex we talked about last week is the feasibility study to learn what our community needs and can afford. I zoomed with the team from HVS who has been hired to do the study. They asked all the right questions, and I am excited to learn what our community can support. Building a complex like this will be transformational for Cheyenne.
I got a call from the new owner of the Hynds building and got an update on the project. Good news! Things are still on track, and they are excited and committed to filling the Hynds and the downtown hole. It will take around a year to finish the architectural work, but that work has started. I will keep checking in and sharing updates as the project moves along. Filling the hole and getting the Hynds filled up will make such a difference for our downtown.
I had another example of extreme volunteerism again this week. Justin Kallal was on vacation and saw an outdoor exercise system he fell in love with. He came by the office to discuss leading an effort to pay for it and get it installed in a south side park. I am always amazed by way Cheyenne folks step up and give of their time and money to make our community better. Stay tuned as we get this project started. Thanks go to Council member Jeff White for bringing Justin by the office and for his support of this plan.
I am excited for the NFL playoff games being played this weekend. We have four former Cowboys that will see a ton of time on the field for playoff teams this weekend. Rooting for Josh Allen and his Buffalo Bills has been fun this season, and I will be watching Logan Wilson and his Bengals along with Chad Muma and Andrew Wingard with the Jaquars. Love to see a Wyoming Cowboy win it all!