By Grace Moore
Moorcroft’s first pre-budget planning meeting, conducted at the fire hall Saturday, was attended by two of the three department heads and the town engineer. M
ayor Steve Sproul and the council were able to discuss, to a deeper level, the issues facing the town as well as hear the coming department budget requests for the 2018/19 fiscal year.
This meeting was not a formal decision-making occasion, but an opportunity for the town entities to share their thoughts on the coming funding from grants and state and internal revenue.
Having previously ascertained the particular needs of each department, Councilman Ben Glenn drafted a proposed town hall and police department schematic utilizing the newest part of the MTC building on the southeast corner of the MTC. He presented it to the council for consideration.
The governing body, by majority, expressed their excitement and determination to push forward in their efforts to move town hall into the MTC by discovering the “fair market value” of the existing town hall and police department building.
If, after formal approval, the building can be sold with the understanding that the new owners will have to wait a matter of months before taking possession, any necessary modification of the MTC rooms will already be funded and, if the building does not immediately sell, other options were discussed. The anticipated cost of moving is approximately $200,000.
Chief of Police Doug Lundborg expressed the need for a fourth policeman to the governing body and with another officer comes the need for another vehicle. This request wwould cost approximately $70,000 annually for the officer plus about $30,000 for the vehicle.
According to the chief, on call and part time would be reduced by about 80 percent and the holiday pay would be cut back with an extra full time officer, saving between $30,000 and $35,000 annually, which is about half of the funding for the extra person.
He explained how his department has put, “nearly $100,000 into the city coffers in the last two and a half years” and has reestablished the reputation of the Moorcroft Police Department. Lundborg added that his current crew is “pretty motivated and I don’t want to burn them out”.
Clerk/Treasurer Cheryl Schneider talked about the need to show the public the projects the town has completed and will complete this year with its tax dollars.
“We need to be proactive in getting the signs up and putting that on the website so people will know that the money they voted on is going to what they wanted,” she said.
HDR Engineering’s Heath Turbiville discussed in greater detail the coming projects with the governing body, including the buying of a tool necessary to read the newly installed meters without walking in or making estimates, allowing for a more efficient use of time and assets for the public works department.
Turbiville said that he is pretty sure that all of the meters in town after the completion of the Goshen Street Project are “radio read”. Councilman Paul Smoot opined, “I think the more automation we get with that, the more we can actually track.” It was noted that leaks will be easier to recognize.
The council also talked about the future of the road and water/sewer lines on Lincoln Street after the existing infrastructure is finished.