The Lovell Town Council Tuesday night selected four projects to be funded should voters in November pass an optional sixth-cent sales tax for Big Horn County municipalities.
Meeting in special session ahead of a planned meeting of the nine Big Horn County mayors Thursday night in Deaver, the council voted not only to present two projects already discussed but to add two more.
All of the projects presented by town councils throughout the county will be presented in a proclamation that will go before the county commissioners this summer, and if they approve, to voters at the General Election in November.
The Town of Lovell initially considered three projects for sixth-cent funding: a building for the fledgling Lovell-Kane Museum, improvements to the Lovell Rodeo Grounds and an addition to the Pryor Mountain Wild Mustang Center. Projects must be on town-owned land, and that led to the elimination of the wild mustang center from consideration.
With the museum building remaining at an estimated $1.1 million including design work and a new restroom/concession stand building among improvements at the rodeo grounds estimated to cost $110,000, Mayor Bruce Morrison then offered up a new cart barn for the Foster Gulch Golf Course, estimated to cost $40,000.
Then as the council discussed the projects, Councilman Scott Allred asked if street paving could be included in the projects, noting that there are portions of several streets in town that remain unpaved.
“It’s a prime opportunity to do it all,” Allred said.
Town Clerk/Treasurer Valerie Beal noted that the town has a recent estimate for simple paving, without curb and gutter, from compiling a list of possible projects for county consensus money from the State of Wyoming. She said the estimate for engineering and paving was $186,375 and said areas that could be paved included Big Horn from First to Second, First from Big Horn to Oregon, Ninth from Shoshone to Montana, Kansas from Ninth to the Globe Canal and Second from Jersey to Idaho.
Allred asked if $500,000 would cover curb and gutter in addition to the asphalt, and while no one had an answer to his question, the council went with the rounded off $500,000 figure. Morrison said the mayors need firm figures by Thursday’s meeting but not exact figures.
“I’d like to see the streets in there,” Allred said, and Councilman Bruce Wolsey noted that Lovell, as a community, would pay about one-fourth of the sales tax, judging by existing sales tax revenue figures.
Councilman Dickson, while not tipping his hand on whether he supports the sales tax or not, said voters must be consistent about one thing when they enter the voting booth this fall:
“I hope those who vote for the tax will choose to shop in Big Horn County to pay for the tax,” Dickson said. “If I vote for the tax and then shop in Billings, shame on me. I feel strongly about it.”
With that, the council voted to go forward with the four projects considered that night, then voted to authorize funding up to $3,000 for bonding assistance based on estimated costs to be shared by all nine municipalities.
Pryor View agreement
The special meeting began with one more discussion with residents of the Pryor View Subdivision regarding a utility license agreement for the pressure reducing valve vault located within the town right-of-way adjacent to the subdivision just east of McKinley Avenue.
The council had met with Pryor View residents on April 17 to consider the license agreement that would allow the PRV to remain on town land. The pressure reducing valve was installed because a new water main to that part of town installed late last year would likely cause existing, older water lines to the subdivision to leak due to increased water pressure.
During the discussion two weeks earlier, the residents expressed concern with a paragraph in the agreement concerning indemnification and hold-harmless language that protects the Town of Lovell, but by Tuesday, the residents said they had little choice but to accept the legal language.
“We’re probably OK with number five, the hold-harmless section,” resident Rick Parmer said, adding with a chuckle, “I was disappointed not to find it in English, though.”
The residents discussed in greater detail a section of the agreement having to do with the termination of the agreement, especially when it comes to an individual in the subdivision wishing to terminate. The council and residents agreed on language that states: “If an individual property owner chooses to be removed from this license, the supply of Town water to the individual property being removed shall be terminated according to applicable Town ordinances.”
The council voted to authorize the mayor to sign the license agreement pending the approval of changes made Tuesday night by the town attorney.
In other action Tuesday:
•The council voted to enter into a contract with Cora Weinand for regular cleaning of park restrooms and occasional cleaning of picnic pavilions at a rate of $1,000 per month for restrooms and $15 per hour for occasional cleaning of pavilions.
•The council voted to authorize the mayor to sign an employee health insurance agreement stating the plan is to be continued by the town.
By David Peck