City approves new ordinance
Jess Oaks/Torrignton Telegram Kirk Haas, Chairman of the Goshen County Republican Party, spoke to the Torrington City Council at the Wednesday meeting.
TORRINGTON – The Torrington City Council met Wednesday, February 6 in the council chambers for the first meeting of the month. Councilmen Shane Viktorin, Dennis Kelly, Dr. Richard Patterson, and Wayne Deahl were present, along with Mayor Doby.
The meeting was called to order promptly at 7 p.m., by Doby, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.
During the mayor’s informational items, Doby, reminded listeners of the up-and-coming budget session.
“The legislation will begin its 20-day budget session on Monday, February 12, 2024,” Doby said. “This is the biannual time when the legislation primarily works on the Wyoming state budget. Legislation does take up consideration of non-budget bills but there must be a 2/3 majority vote in each chamber, house, and senate, to take up consideration of non-budget bills. I do know that your legislators do listen to you,” Doby said.
Doby listed off the contact information for local government officials before making an announcement on another way to receive city notifications.
“The City of Torrington has had for a while, now it’s up and running and it has been for a while, ‘text my gov’ service for all community members,” Doby explained. “By this ‘text my gov’ service you may communicate, by text, to the city regarding any concerns you may have, and you will receive any important notices from the city by cell phone text. To sign up for this service, just text the word ‘hi’ to 1-307-338-2802.”
The next item on the agenda was the approval of the consent agenda, which approved the minutes from the January 16 council meeting as published. A motion was made and the motion to accept the consent agenda was approved.
The council also voted on approving the regular agenda, which passed.
“The next item on the agenda is what we call the ‘public forum,’” Doby explained. “There are no people up for the public forum. If you want to be up for the public forum there is a black box in front of Councilmen Viktorin and there are forms one can fill out.”
“The next item on the agenda is an information item, a public safety resolution which was passed recently by the Central Committee of the Goshen County Republican Party,” Doby said.
“Thanks Mayor Doby and council, thanks for giving a few minutes tonight,” Kirk Haas, Chairman of the Goshen County Republican Party began. “I am hopeful that you guys do have that resolution and you were able to review it. There was some supplemental information. Harriet Hageman, our representative had released a statement on January 7, do you guys have that,” Haas asked the council.
Haas continued to talk about a growing concern, illegal immigrants and what an influx could do to the community. Haas spoke about different towns and how they are struggling to adapt to illegal immigrants.
“The concern from the party is ‘what would happen to our community’ if something like this started happening,” Haas said. “The hope and the idea here is that we start a conversation and that we have some thought put into this before you’re actually presented with this issue.”
Mayor Doby reassured Haas and the audience, Torrington is prepared to handle a possible situation.
“It seems like the resolution is concerned the federal government, at this current time, is not holding up its end of things, so to speak,” Doby stated.
“It is an issue,” Haas said. “I don’t know if Wyoming is face with any of that today, but it is a possibility.”
“I wanted to let you know, I have had an in-detail conversation with Matt Johnson the chief of police, and also with Patrick Connelly, the assistant chief and I can assure you that Torrington, within its jurisdiction, has ordinances. If people are violating a law, they will be arrested and dealt with according to the law of our city ordinances or they can be charged in circuit court or if it is felony level, originally circuit court and then on to district court. We fully intend to enforce the law. We do so in this community.”
Haas then spoke to the council about becoming a ‘sanctuary city’.
“I am aware that some jurisdictions have declared themselves ‘sanctuary cities’ or even ‘sanctuary states’ perhaps,” Doby explained. “We have no intention to do that. That has not even been an issue in my mind and to my knowledge, of any other councilmembers.”
The council moved on to action items.
“It is an ordinance creating and enacting chapter 5.28 of the Torrington Municipal code 2024 revision relating to permits work within city rights of way,” city attorney, James Eddington read.
“Basically, this is codifying our permit requirements for people who want to perform. I handed out kind of a revised ordinance earlier to you earlier with highlights in red. It was brought to our attention today, at our staff meeting, that some of the issues that might come up is this is really for utility work and not necessarily for any type of work within the city right away such as replacing driveways or sidewalks it is mainly for people trying to connect to or replace sewer lines or water lines. People, companies installing fiber optic cables. Basically, anything in the ground and within the city rights of ways,” director of public works, Jeff Harkins said.
Harkins went on to explain the old procedure for work being done in city rights of way. He spoke about preparing the ordinance to prevent any further damages such as the damages caused by a waterline rupture at Eastern Wyoming College and Banner Medical Facilities, in Torrington.
“Unfortunately, the ordinance is coming a little too late,” Harkins said. “It would have been nice it we would have had it a couple of year ago so that we could enforce some of the stuff that was going on that we didn’t have any control over.”
“Mr. Mayor, it looks like we are off to a pretty good start here, I realize we have two more readings to go through so what I would do at this point is to move this approval on the first reading,” Councilmen Patterson said.
The ordinance was then voted on and approved.
Dennis Estes, building and grounds superintendent for the city, briefly spoke about the lease and purchase agreement between the City of Torrington and WAM/WCCA Joint Oversight Board for the Wyoming Local Government Energy Lease Purchase Program.
He addressed the repairs needed on many of the buildings owned by the city and a zero percent loan for energy update.
After a brief discission, council approved the lease and purchase agreement.
Chris Nichols, deputy city treasurer, answered a few questions on the January 17 to February 6 bills. The council approved the bills.
The council moved on to the public comment section of the meeting where both Councilmen Patterson and Deahl offered some comments for residents.
“I just like to remind people the flu is pretty prevalent right now so be careful and watch out for folks if they need some help,” Deahl said.
“I could piggy-back off of that, so is COVID after the three-week episode I just survived,” Patterson said.
“Watch yourselves and take care of your health,” Doby ended.
After a short fire report, the council then entered an executive session and was adjourned thereafter.