Town focuses on MTC

By Grace Moore

Monday night’s meeting of the Moorcroft governing body started with the council-approved public work session with discussion centered on the MTC. Councilman Dick Claar and Nancy Feehan both advocated the creation of a committee to oversee the MTC separate from the rec board because, “We’ve got people interested in rec board things for the kids and we have people interested in the Moorcroft Town Center.”

The council was favorable to the suggestion and approved the change of appointments at the following meeting. According to Johnnie Faye Claar, several people have expressed interest in joining a committee specifically for the MTC to see the building into the future.

The acquisition of free weights for the exercise room has been put on hold until the council can ascertain whether the town’s insurance would cover them; the question was answered by Local Government Liability Pool (LGLP) associate Judi Just.

She advised, “it’s very important that you inspect them often and document everything”, and with that precaution, as long as everyone using the facility signs a waiver, the free weights are an accepted part of the exercise room and requires no extra cost or coverage. She also commended the council for installing the “key fob” system that, along with the cameras, ensures security measures protecting the town.

Mayor Steve Sproul suggested inviting the Moorcroft Area Chamber of Commerce to join the newly created committee to which chamber vice president Johnnie Faye Claar, who was already enlisted in the discussion, explained that the chamber is aware of the state of affairs.

“I just don’t think the chamber has the time; we’re already loaded,” she said. The mayor then stated that he would talk to other members of the chamber and “see what they think of the idea”.

Sproul also opined on the need for control at the MTC, saying, “We need to know the money coming and going. It’s a little lax, I think, on everything.”

This statement was met with strong disagreement and a question to the mayor as to his reason for such a comment. He responded by saying, “Well, those junk stores kind of come and go, money up and down.”

With the closing of the work session, the governing body convened the regular meeting.

Snow Route Woes

Moorcroft Chief of Police Doug Lundborg expressed his concern over discrepancies between the letter of the snow route ordinance and the reality of people parked along the route.

“It says we’re not allowed to notify anyone prior to 7 a.m. and no later than 11 p.m. I got called from Cory at 6:11 [asking] me to do an emergency broadcast … I can’t even contact them until 7 a.m. and by then the plows are done and gone. So is the snow emergency done then, if it’s not snowing great amounts at that point the streets are clear [except] the cars are snowed in … The ordinance makes it nearly impossible for Cory or me to enforce it,” he said.

Allison agreed with Lundborg’s assessment. “Those snow routes, we need to be able to have clean, I believe. I just don’t want it to become an issue if we do have a blizzard when there’s no way to plow because nobody’s off the street,” he said.

Fire Chief Fred Devish explained the original intent behind snow routes, reminding the audience that maintaining them is imperative for providing clear passage for ambulance and fire. Both department heads asked the governing body for some guidance.

Town Attorney Jim Peck noted that the same issue faces every community, saying, “Newcastle’s way larger than here and they gave up trying to do it.” He explained that there are many people within communities who have no access to off street parking.

He went on to tell the council and department heads that the only sure way to clarify the communication for everyone is to make the law that any car along the snow route during particular hours throughout particular months will be ticketed, regardless of snow fall which will make other people angry.

The council advised the department heads to inform town residents who live on the snow route that, in a snow warning, the streets will be plowed and, if vehicles are parked on those streets, they risk being snowed in.

Medical Bills

Moorcroft received a bill from the Crook County Medical Services for approximately $11,000 for the tests conducted a resident who was arrested after a car chase in January.

“It’s something I’ve never seen before in my 35 years of law enforcement for a guy who ran from us and crashed his car and finally got apprehended and arrested,” said Lundborg.

The man in question, who was arrested for drunk driving and fleeing the police on January 13, was taken to the Crook County Hospital to be medically examined and was released with no injuries at that time. Lundborg told the council that he and Peck are in the process of writing a letter to the medical services denying responsibility for said bill and recommending they, “go after Mr. Humpal”.

The meeting concluded with the mayor appointing his standing committees, but taking the list home to add the newly created MTC Committee.

The next regular meeting of Moorcroft’s governing body will be March 12. However, there is a yearly planning meeting Saturday, February 17 at the fire hall. This meeting is not for public participation, but everyone is invited to listen as the council discusses the projects, budget and issues facing the town in 2018.