Mayor Louise Carter-King participates in the city’s April 7 City Council Meeting from her home via Google Hangouts. H/t City of Gillette, GPA TV.
The Gillette City Council took to Google Hangouts to conduct its regular first Tuesday monthly meeting as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, tabling the skill games discussion, rejecting a $5 million Lakeway Road sewer construction project bid and amending city code before declaring a state of emergency. All six council members and Mayor Louise Carter-King joined in on the under one-hour video meeting from their respective homes and offices.
Anticipated discussion included the Council’s consideration on the third and final reading of rules regulating “Games of Skill,” but when the item came to pass on the agenda, Mayor Carter-King suggested it be tabled until a later date. The Council concurred and the matter was tabled until the May 19 meeting, with the Mayor noting that the future date assumed that Council would be meeting back within its chambers in order to allow further comment from the public and did not rule out tabling the matter again if necessary.
With little discussion, Council approved on first reading an amendment to the City code to expand the definition of “intoxication.”
City Administrator Pat Davidson briefed the Council on the issue, stating that the proposed amendment simply added the word “substance” to the existing definition in addition to the term “controlled substance,” which is already present. The change is necessary, Davidson said, as the City sees intoxication from substances besides alcohol and other “controlled substances” designated in Wyoming State Statutes.
With the amendment, “intoxication” within the City of Gillette will be defined as, “If any person shall be drunk or under the influence of any intoxicating liquor, malt beverage, substance or controlled substance, as defined by Wyoming State Statutes, in any public street, thoroughfare, or place: or within view of any public street, thoroughfare or place; or in any vehicle or place within the City to such an extent that his drunkenness or intoxication is manifest by boisterous or by profane, vulgar language, or loud and violent discourse, or indecent conditions or actions which render that person incapable of caring for him or herself so as to create a nuisance or hazard, he or she shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.”
Council also considered a number of other items, including awarding a bid for sanitary sewer main replacement on Lakeway Road. The project, which consisted of replacing 4,700 lineal feet of sanitary sewer lining and 1,800 lineal feet of sanitary sewer main, had a base bid engineer’s estimate from HDR Engineering of $3,582,760. The City only received one bid for the project from local contractor DRM, Inc., with a base bid of $5,079,784.
Davidson discussed the project with Council and recommended that the City not award the project and instead provide staff the opportunity to adjust the project and rebid it again at a later date. The recommendation was overwhelmingly accepted by Council, who voted against awarding the bid.
Council also considered amendments to the city code for monthly wastewater and water rates, ultimately approving the recommendations of city staff. Council again expressed concern about the need for the public to be able to comment on the proposed changes and had some discussion about when the change would become effective given the accelerated approval proposed by Davidson.
Currently, Davidson plans to bring the amendment back to Council for its second reading at the Council’s work session on April 14, and have the amendment considered on a third and final reading on April 21.
The proposed amendment would not impact usage charges (i.e. charges per 1,000 gallons), but would instead change monthly fixed charges, with wastewater and water being adjusted as noted below.
Wastewater rate charges:
- 1″ meter (or smaller): $12.26/month to $16.30/month
- 1.5″ meter: $46.59/month to $61.94/month
- 2″ meter: $65.35/month to $86.88/month
- 3″ meter: $122.60/month to $163.00/month
- 4″ meter: $204.37/month to $271.72/month [changed from 4″ (or larger) to 4]
- 6″ meter (or larger): $543.28/month (added)
Water rate charges:
- All (City and wholesale) transmission: No changes
- City only: Residential and commercial customers: Small meter rate (less than 1.5″ water meter): Fixed charge eliminated (was $1.10/month)
- City only: Residential and commercial customers: Large meter rate (1.5″ or larger water meter): $83.06/month to $86.00/month
- Water haulers only bulk water: No changes
The amendment also adjusts the Wastewater System Fixed-Cost Monthly Service Charge table, which currently taps out at 4-inch or larger with regard to water meter size, by adding a new category of 6-inch or larger.
If approved, the new rates would become effective May 1. The reason for the proposed changes, as noted within the Council’s agenda packet, is the need to generate an additional $187,000 from water distribution rates and an additional $800,000 from sewer rates for the City’s fiscal year 2020-2021.
Though part of the Council’s consent agenda, wherein multiple items are approved with one motion, the Council also approved Tuesday a resolution declaring a state of emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The resolution allows Davidson to expend necessary city funds and use additional staff hours in response to COVID-19.
The resolution stated, “WHEREAS, the extent and level of impact from COVID-19 cannot be determined at present and the City Administrator needs the authority and funding to react promptly and without delay at this critical time.”
The resolution also directs city staff to track expenses related to COVID-19 and seek reimbursement, if possible, from state and federal government sources.