CHEYENNE – I love the holidays once the pressure of buying presents is done. We were blessed to have my youngest son Jac and his fiancé Whitney home for Christmas, as well as one of my little sisters and her husband join us. I got to spend a bunch of time in the kitchen. Thanks to Susan from the Prairie Panty, I have all the cool tools. Watching White Christmas and wrapping presents is one of the joys of the season for me. I hope you all spent the holiday with family and friends and enjoyed a perfect day.
The week between Christmas and New Year’s day is too quiet for me. Many if not most of my co-workers take the week off and there are not many meetings to attend. It is a great time to reflect on the past year and plan for the next one. I would like to say again how much I appreciate the opportunity to serve you as mayor. The support you have shown me, and our team is amazing and again, thank you.
One of the things I most enjoyed this year was the days we spent with the city council in goal setting. It was an opportunity to spend some quality time together, share our visions, and agree on how we will work together as a team. We are planning to do a goal setting session for 2022 next Wednesday and Thursday. It will be a time to look back at our current goals and check most of them off as completed. I am excited to see what goals our city council members will bring to the meetings, and what we will agree needs to be our priorities. I will report next week on what is decided.
I spent a lot of time this week on the phone checking on projects we have in the hopper. Checking progress on our new fire stations, Hynds building and the hole, repairs to our municipal building boilers, 15th street railroad experience, Reed Ave Corridor 6th penny project, thinking about our upcoming budget work, goal setting, hiring for vacant positions, how to invest Opioid settlement money, Laramie’s ordinance on rental property regulations, how to better manage the Belvoir Ranch, Tax Increment Financing of the Hitching Post, and road maintenance. I hope the work pays off in the new year.
During our meeting of the governing body on Tuesday, a couple of items were passed that will be very good for our employees. First, we passed a $1.50 raise for our employees. Inflation is whittling away at the buying power of all Cheyenne residents, and it has hurt our employees. This raise, while not enough, will help fight inflation and keep the city competitive in the retention and hiring of employees. Second, we reinstated longevity pay. It was cut at the beginning of the Covid pandemic and was a cut in pay for our longest tenured employees. It is my opinion that cutting employee pay is something we should avoid at all costs. It gives an additional pay for employees that have worked 6 years or more for the city. it goes up every five years from a start of $60/month to $90/month at the highest level. Combined it is a well-deserved recognition of the hard work our employees have done during these unprecedented times. They have shown resilience, resourcefulness, and dedication to our residents, and I love them.
One more thing of note from our governing body meeting. We passed a Climate Wellness resolution that proposes to help our environment by improving soil health. The healthier the soil, the healthier the plant life. Healthy plants take more nitrogen from the air and store it in the soil, and that is good for the environment. At least that is what I learned in Jr. High science classes. The city council voted to look at the proposal and have the mayor’s office bring back a memorandum of understanding that lays out all the details. I look forward to this learning process, as the devil is in the details on these kinds of agreements.
I would again like to thank Cheyenne’s residents for their support this year. You have been awesome! I wish you and your families a happy and healthy new year.