Dan Laffin named interim chief in Lovell

The Lovell Town Council on Tuesday night officially accepted the resignation of Chief of Police Jason Beal, who a week earlier announced his plans to take a position with the Wyoming Highway Patrol.

Gathering for the regular July meeting, the council ran through a number of items, then as the final

Dan Laffin

item of new business voted to accept Chief Beal’s resignation effective at the end of his workday Thursday, July 13. After going into a closed session for about 15 minutes, the council reconvened and Mayor Angel Montanez appointed current LPD sergeant Dan Laffin as the interim chief of police, effective Thursday after Beal’s workday ends. Montanez stated that the appointment is “terminable at will by the mayor.”

Councilman Bruce Wolsey moved to approve the mayor’s appointment of the interim chief, and the council voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

The council has scheduled a special meeting and executive session to discuss personnel on Monday, July 31, at 6 p.m.

Laffin moved to Lovell from Texas and joined the Lovell Police Dept. in April, working part-time initially. He was later elevated to full-time status and promoted to sergeant.

Tower update

Town Administrator Jed Nebel gave the council an update on the water tower project, telling the council that a crane is scheduled to be in place July 27-28 to erect the stem section of the tower. The base is mostly finished at the site just west of the rodeo grounds.

The new water lines leading to the tower have been completed, Nebel said, with pressure testing underway and chlorine tests to be performed at the end of this week or next week.

“It’s been smooth,” Nebel said, adding that he received the go-ahead from the Wyoming Water Development Commission to replace as part of the project five trees on the hospital grounds that were lost in the pipeline work, as anticipated, noting that he got a “really good quote” for the trees from Northern Gardens in Cody.

The huge base for the new water tower has been constructed west of the rodeo grounds, and a large crane will arrive later this month to put the water tower “stem” in place.
David Peck photo

Speed limit change

The council passed on second reading Ordinance 952, which would lower speed limits on streets in town that are not otherwise designated from the current 30 miles per hour to 25 mph.

As in the regular June meeting, the council would like to receive input from citizens on the ordinance. Councilman Kevin Jones said, “I would encourage anyone with an opinion to contact the town and let us know their opinion.

The council is scheduled to consider the ordinance on third and final reading on Aug. 8.

The council discussed at length Tuesday the idea of obtaining a debit card for the purpose of paying a vendor in town that has a history of not cashing checks for charges made by town employees. The uncleared checks must be carried forward on the bank statement each month, clerk/treasurer Beal said.

If approved by the council, Beal and Nebel said, the debit card would only be kept in the office and used once a month for the particular vendor, a store the town wishes to continue to do business with.

Beal said the card would first be used to pay off the checks that haven’t been cleared, after which the bank would be asked to lower the limit as a protection. The card would then be used for the vendor after bills are approved by the council each month.

The council asked if the town’s existing credit card could be used instead of obtaining a new debit card, with attorney Sandra Kitchen and Councilman Wolsey, a former banker, noting that a credit card has better protections than a debit card. Assistant treasurer Ed Allred said a credit card generates more paperwork for the staff, but he would be OK with that.

Kitchen said no action needed to be taken to use the credit card for paying the vendor.

Liquor liability

After the topic came up during a recent meeting, Nebel said he has investigated the town’s liability coverage for town venues such as the community center through the Local Government Liability Pool when alcohol is served. Nebel said LGLP officials told him there is no prohibition against alcohol at venues and suggested that the town consider requiring a private party using a facility to show proof that liability would be covered by a homeowner’s policy or event insurance.

“No one said no, absolutely not (at the state),” Nebel said.

Nebel and Beal asked Kitchen to review the town’s facility use application form and later in the meeting she said the paperwork does have language indemnifying the town but said the council might want to require facility users to carry event insurance. She suggested that the town check with other municipalities, large and small, for their facility policies.

In other action Tuesday:

• The council tabled for another month Ordinance 958, one of several measures designed to bring the town code in line with state law regarding liquor laws, until the ordinance can be further studied.

• The council approved an agreement with Verizon Wireless for a Jetpack mobile hot spot so police officers can use a laptop and access internet data from their squad car. One Jetpack would be obtained initially on a trial basis.

By David Peck