by nathan oster
The Greybull Town Council’s first regular meeting of 2015 produced no resolution to the question of who would fill the vacancy on the governing body, but it did provide answers about who would serve in other leadership positions during the first year of Mayor Myles Foley’s term in office.
The first issue on the table was the vacancy.
When Myles Foley was sworn in as mayor, it created a vacancy on the four-person council, which includes Clay Collingwood, Rod Collingwood and Scott Mattis. Like Foley, the latter two began their new four-year terms on Jan. 2.
Foley opened the discussion by recommending the appointment of Richard “Pappy” Capen, who ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the council in the November general election. Foley cited the 158 votes cast for Capen as well as the initiative and desire to serve that he showed simply by filing for the vacant seat.
Foley said appointing Capen would be “the most efficient” and “fairest” way to fill the vacancy. Councilman Clay Collingwood moved for Capen’s appointment, but the motion died when it didn’t get a second from either Rod Collingwood nor Mattis.
Foley ended the discussion by saying he’d work on it and raise the issue again next month.
Nothing more was said until the end of the meeting, when Rod Collingwood moved for the council to go into executive session to discuss the process that would be followed to appoint the new council member.
The council voted and proceeded to do so over the objections of the Standard, which contended that the discussion had always and should take place in an open meeting, not behind closed doors and without an attorney present, and did not appear to meet any of the criteria required for an executive session as spelled out in the state’s Open Meetings Law.
When the council emerged from the executive session, it took no action.
Shifting gears, the council voted to approve nearly all of Foley’s recommended appointments.
Randy Royal was appointed municipal judge.
Paul Murdoch will continue on as fire chief.
Rodney Ross, a former member of the council, was appointed to two different position. He will serve as the town’s building inspector, replacing Homer Thompson, who passed away in December, and as the town’s emergency management coordinator, replacing Ernie Smith.
Foley asked the council to appoint Georgia Antley Hunt as town attorney, but the council balked. A motion by Clay Collingwood to appoint Hunt died because neither Mattis nor Rod Collingwood seconded it. Foley said he’d try again to appoint an attorney next month.
In other appointments, Clay Collingwood was appointed mayor pro-tem, Scott Mattis will serve as police commissioner, Rod Collingwood will take over as water commissioner and Clay Collingwood will be the parks and recreation commissioner.
Committee assignments were also announced by the mayor and approved by the council.
John King, Selena Brown, John Coyne III, Hillary Dooley, Ron Fiene, Myles Foley, John Koller, Carla Scharen, Paul Thur, Cassie Wright and Tyson Probst will serve on the Economic Development Committee.
The Lodging Tax Committee will consist of Kay Mattis, Myles Foley, Fawn Goton, Sherri Winkler and Julie Owens.
Ron Wright, Lindsay Casey, Charlene Collingwood, Dave Havener and Randy Waddell will serve on the Planning and Zoning Commission.
Meanwhile, perhaps the most divisive issue of the past two years, the Greybull Police Department, never moved off the back burner on Monday night. The council’s only action was to set a work session for Thursday, Jan. 29 at 5 p.m. to discuss departmental job descriptions.
In other business:
- Administrator Paul Thur reported that on the levee certification front, the town’s MRG application had received a “no funding” recommendation from SLIB. The same thing happened with the town’s application for funding for the sewer lagoon improvements; ultimately it was funded.
Thur said he and Jake Wright, of Nelson Engineering, would be heading to Cheyenne this week to discuss the application with state officials. AMEC, which is doing the levee certification, will also weigh in with its support, as will the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which will “be the icing on the cake.”
- Town Foreman Dalen Davis reported that Big Horn Regional would be doing the tie-ins for its new water line on Wednesday, Jan. 14. After that is completed, it will be tied into the Greybull water system.
- Police Chief Bill Brenner reported that Thomas Shroyer has joined the GPD and is going through orientation. He comes to the community as a certified police officer who last worked in Missouri. He replaced Sean Alquist.
- The council followed the recommendation of Nelson Engineering to withhold liquidated damages in the amount of $7,670 from Pab Good Trucking, which had the contract to extend town infrastructure to the new U.S. Forest Service building south of town. The project is now complete, except for the issuance of the final payment for the work.
Jake Wright, representing Nelson, said the contractor got started late and finished late, but that it in no way held up the overall project, which remains on track. The one thing it did do was extend the time an inspector needed to spend on site. Nelson calculated that expense at 17 days, 118 hours of inspection time, for a total of $7,670.
Going by days only, the town have withheld up to $25,000. Nelson discouraged that stiff of a penalty, however, telling the council his recommendation was anywhere from 0 to a maximum of $7,670. Unforeseen issues also contributed to the delay in completion, he said.
Councilman Clay Collingwood abstained from the vote, citing a conflict of interest.
- Sue Taylor of Grow Big Horn County reported that she would be cancelling the Jan. 19 followup meeting in the “Get ‘er Done” series. She will instead hold one-on-one meetings with people who attended the first meeting and expressed an interest in helping the town.
In her written report, she said she’d provided assists for 23 potential new businesses. When asked where those new businesses were contemplating going, she said two-third to the Lovell area, one-third to the Greybull area.
- Emergency Management Coordinator Ernie Smith presented new weather radios to the two new council members, Scott Mattis and Rod Collingwood, and said emergency personnel are monitoring the river in anticipation of possible spring flooding.
- The council authorized the mayor to approve the awarding of the bid for the water distribution upgrade. Water Commissioner Rod Collingwood will also be called upon to consult in the decision.
- Thur reminded the council of its pledge made last year to help fund needed improvements to the caboose located next to the library. The council’s pledge was to earmark money in its new budget for the improvements. Among other things, the windows need new trim, the roof leaks and the flooring is poor.
- The council agreed to a change order of $30,775 to its contract with AMEC, which is doing the levee certification work. With the change order, the town will be able to meet the requirement for 60-percent complete drawings in order to pursue the next round of grant funding.
- Marian West and Dale Nuttall approached the council on behalf of the Greybull Heights Water Association, which consists of approximately 10 homes on parts of Horseshoe Lane and Rimrock Road. Facing high repair and maintenance costs on a pumphouse, they are contemplating a new waterline that would hook into the town transmission line near the intersection of Sagebrush Lane and U.S. Highway 14. The line would feed water to their homes from above, via gravity, rather than from below, via pump. They emphasized that they just wanted to make the council aware they were considering it. Council members were supportive. The full membership of the water association is expected to consider the feasibility of the idea at its annual meeting later this month. The association would pay the cost of the improvements.
- The council approved the annual leasing of space at the Herb Asp Community Center to the Greybull Recreation District, at a cost of $10 per month, $120 per year.
- When given the choice to get town-issued credit cards, council members balked, saying they preferred to stick with the process of submitting travel reimbursement forms for their work-related expenses.
- The council agreed to advertise for liquor license renewals.