MTC committee ordinance reaches first reading

By Grace Moore

Moorcroft’s town council gathered for a special meeting last Wednesday morning to quickly go through a few items, among which was the first reading of the advised ordinance governing the to-be-created MTC special committee.

Town Attorney Jim Peck had formerly suggested an ordinance for the protection and guidance of said committee because the state has no construct within the statutes recognizing a “MTC” affiliation to the municipality; consequently, the group could be vulnerable to litigation.

Mayor Steve Sproul, while not present for the preceding budget work session, attended the special meeting. After reading through the initial ordinance written by Peck, he asked the council to consider not allowing applicants from beyond town limits, “Seeing that the building belongs to Moorcroft and we pay the taxes, operating fees [and] everything on it, I think it should be limited to the town.”

Councilman Dick Claar disagreed, explaining that many of the people most interested in working for the MTC “live a mile out of town, but this is their community.”

Councilman Owen Mathews shared Claar’s opinion, saying, “If we can pull from that greater area…Having more people willing to put that investment into the community is good. They are not an autonomous organization; they are still under the control of the town council.”

Peck appreciated both arguments: the smaller pool from which to draw interested volunteers if the only applicants are from within town limits and the concern that county residents or even citizens of other municipalities, who have no investment in the Moorcroft community, could overwhelm the group.

He suggested a compromise: “You can have people from outside of town, but the majority comes from within the town;” thus keeping controlling power under council and subsequently municipal guidance.

Councilman Paul Smoot had previously advised his fellows that they would have to exercise caution in accepting too many county residents onto the seven-member committee so as to keep the town members as the majority. He recognized the mayor’s expressed concern, but again reminded that the council has control of applications accepted, mitigating possible issues.

The mayor stated that such discretion is his as he appoints the standing boards and the council reminded him that, if he chooses an individual of whom they do not approve, they can veto that choice. The MTC committee is, though, not a standing board and Claar stated that, to his understanding, the governing body is to “go over the applications and come to a consensus on which the board should be from those applications”.

To which Mathews agreed, “The idea of the ordinance is that it spreads the responsibility of the group to work together instead of it being one person to dictate and I would like to see that it’s through an interview process and appointed by the council as a whole.” Sproul subsequently agreed that the body can go through the applications.

Peck reprimanded the governing body in its entirety, admonishing, “You guys need to be thinking of cooperating; whoever’s on that board, everyone needs to feel comfortable with.”

After further adjusting the text to everyone’s satisfaction, the first reading of the new MTC ordinance was unanimously accepted.