Pine Bluffs Post - Serving all of Eastern Laramie County since 1908

By Cynthia Shroyer
Pine Bluffs Post staff 

New council members take oath in Burns


Cynthia Shroyer

Monday night’s meeting of Burns Town Council started off with the swearing in of second-term mayor Judy Johnstone by town clerk Toni McNamar. Johnstone then proceeded to conduct the swearing in of re-elected councilman Harvey Humphrey and newly elected councilmen Dennis Bastian and Charlie Vosler before attending to the remaining agenda items.

Johnstone cleared some “new year” hurdles by asking the council to appoint Monique Ojeda as the town attorney and making appointments of the council to various town boards and areas of responsibility. Council approved Ojeda as town attorney and Humphrey as mayor pro tem. Humphrey will continue as utility board representative and will pick up the care of the town’s parks and recreation department. Councilman Ralph Bartels will continue to supervise streets and alleys. Bastian was appointed as council representative to the cemetery board. Vosler will continue as the town’s fire marshal and building inspector, as well as serving as the town safety and compliance officer.

Prior to giving her report to council, Erica Maddison, head of the town’s ambulance crew, joined fellow crew member Scott Maddison in accepting a donation of $1,000 to Burns ambulance service. The donation was made by John Thompson on behalf of his employer, Cheyenne Light, Fuel and Power to add to the fund-raising efforts the service conducted as part of Saturday’s 4 Neighbors Day celebration.

While she had the floor, Erica told council she had completed paramedic training and has all her equipment ready to respond to calls as needed.

She also said Saturday’s chili cook off raised about $150 after expenses.

“We sold out of chili,” she said. “It was a pretty successful first event.”

Erica said the $10,000 grant sought for a power cot for the ambulance has been awarded and the next steps in the process were being followed.

After a new recruit to the service expressed her orientation was not detailed enough, Erica brought a new orientation process that is much more detailed to the council for approval. Council agreed the changes were good and asked Erica to change the standard operating procedures of the service for council approval.

Later in the meeting council approved the move of the ambulance service office to the south building of the Burns-Plex. The move is temporary, pending completion of the ambulance storage building.

Sabrina Matthews reported 4 Neighbors day was a good one with lots of volunteers.

Asked if the change of the celebration’s name from Burns Day was a good one, Matthews said, “renaming it was probably one of the best decisions we made,” emphasizing volunteers came from Pine Bluffs, Carpenter, Albin, Burns and other areas.

Quite a bit of discussion was had concerning the lease for the old town hall. Matthews is the current lease holder and plans to put in a store. She presented a new lease to council late Monday afternoon. The lease expires at the end of October, but Matthews was seeking vacation of the lease in lieu of a new one being drafted that would cover a year’s span of time.

“I really object to tossing the lease we have when doesn’t expire until October,” Bartels told Matthews.

“I’m not going to throw out money for improvements and not have a lease until then,” Matthews replied.

She added her concern comes “mainly because of what happened with asbestos project. You made me wait four months and didn’t go out for bid. It stopped me from being able to open in January.”

“I wasn’t aware we were dragging out feet,” Humphrey said. “We got Terra Con here to inspect and go about fixing. All this takes time.”

He added AVI advertised the bid, though the town did not have to do so, due to it being good business practice.

“We didn’t know if it would be a $500 fix or a $50,000 fix,” Humphrey said.

“Things were changed and it didn’t go how it was supposed to, so I don’t want to put money out without at least a year lease,” Matthews reiterated.

Johnstone said she was not prepared to go ahead until the town obtains a legal opinion and is able to look at the terms in the lease.

“By presenting this lease, are you asking us to vacate current lease,” Johnstone put to Matthews.

“I’m asking to as of July 1,” Matthews said.

Johnstone stressed that means the town does not have a lease holder on that building and made sure Matthews understood there were others who were interested in leasing the building. Matthews said she understood that the town could proceed to rent the building to someone else.

Cynthia Shroyer

At the end of the discussion, Johnstone requested Matthews forward an electronic copy of the lease to her so it could be passed on the Ojeda to look over. After legal consultation the council will make a decision on the matter.

In council reports, the four council members each complimented the 4 Neighbors Day committee on a successful celebration. Those who were sworn in thanked the town voters for their confidence in them to take office.

Under old business, the council approved the third reading of Ordinance 18A.37, which establishes a fiscal year budget for 2013/14. Members also approved a quote of $9,705 for the Lock Shop in Cheyenne to complete the electronic locks on the south building of the Burns-Plex.

The next regular meeting of Burns Town Council is slated for July 8.


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