Council ups the ante for multiple dogs 

By Laurie D. Morstad

The Basin Town Council passed the first reading of Ordinance 669 which changes the fees collected for dogs within the city limits. The fee for the first three dogs at a home is $15 for spayed and neutered dogs and $25 for those that have not been spayed or neutered. Then the charges change for each additional dog by $50. 

The ordinance states, “The fourth dog is $50, the fifth dog is $100 and so on with each dog being an additional $50.” The sixth dog would be $150; the seventh $200; number eight would be $250 and number nine $300. 

A member of the community who has 10 dogs expressed concern that this was unaffordable. In her situation, the total cost of licensing her family dogs would be $1,445 if the dogs are spayed or neutered. 

Mayor CJ Duncan felt that this was an appropriate way to control the amount of animals within the town limits, which was agreed upon by the council with their unanimous vote on the first reading.

At this time licensing of cats within town limits is available and voluntary. All cats licensed, as for dogs, will need proof of a rabies vaccination at the time.

The council also passed an addition to the employee handbook to clarify the payment for health insurance in response to employees who thought they might be paying more for themselves and their family members. This is not a change in percentages covered; it is now in the handbook so each employee will have the same information.

The Town of Basin pays 100 percent of each full-time employee’s insurance. The town pays 70 percent of each eligible add-on, such as spouse and each child until the age of 26, if needed by the adult child.

Duncan reports that he is not pleased with the coverage their present insurer offers and will continue to explore other options.

Dental and eye care insurance is available, but the employee must pay for that in full. 

In other business, Roger Follett presented the Planning and Zoning report. They continue discussing variances and deeds. Follett reported that variances generally go with the owner and they are looking for a way to attach the variance order to a deed so a future buyer would not assume they also were covered by the variance. A conditional use permit will be registered with the deed so the owners will know there exists a condition on the property that does not transfer. The new owner will have the option of requesting a variance, if needed. When the changes are made, the change must then be approved by the full town council to go into effect.

Clint Moseley, project manager from GH Phipps Construction, and Big Horn County School District No. 4 Supt. Dave Kirby came to the town council to discuss a water pipe they uncovered during the process of preparing to lay pipes to the new school. The old, metal water line has not been used for a long time.  

After consultation with the town and with the agreement of the town engineer, Sherman Allred, the construction company decided it was best to leave the pipe in place – it may have been there for 40 years or more – and add the new water pipes on top of it. Adequate foam insulation will be placed on top to decrease the amount of fill necessary to prevent freezing while allowing for access to the upper pipe  should there be a problem in the future. 

Town Clerk Charlene Anderson reported that “delinquencies are up a bit and shut-off notices for town utilities will be sent on May 15.” Residents who receive a shut-off notice may come to the town office to make a workable payment plan that must be followed. The present month’s bill must be paid as the resident works on the arrears amount. Otherwise, all utilities will remain off until the bill is paid in full.

Joseph Keele requested to be replaced on the P&Z board and Carl Olson has agreed to be the town council’s representative on that board.

The Wyoming Association of Municipalities will be holding its summer convention June 12-14. At least one voting member from the council will attend that convention in Cheyenne. 

The council discussed providing a letter of support to Big Horn County Citizens for Economic Development in their efforts to bring an independent living facility to southern Big Horn County. The group has been exploring options including remodeling the Laura Irwin Elementary School rather than demolishing it. The School Facilities Commission and the school board are open to this option if the proposal shows the need and community support. During discussion, Mayor CJ Duncan voiced his concern about lacking the infrastructure to support the necessary employees and their families. He stated, “There’s a wing vacant at the Wyoming Retirement Center,” and he wondered if that might be more appropriate. The zoning at this time also would not allow for this option at the LIE site, according to Duncan. The council felt it premature to support the independent living center as the surveys to the community have not been compiled yet. The resolution – requested of the governing board and pre-signed by Stan Flitner as the committee chair –  asked that “the town of Basin support the efforts of Big Horn County Citizens for Economic Development to bring an independent living center to the Big Horn Basin.” No site or timetable was mentioned in the requested statement of support. The council chose to table this request as they pursue more information on both the interest of residents and all possible alternatives for such a center. The council would like to see the results from the surveys sent throughout the county the last two weeks.

The next meeting of the town council will be at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 11, Please note this is a change from Thursday to Tuesday to accommodate the WAM summer convention.