Citizens express concerns about health & safety of home in Basin

BY BARBARA ANNE GREENE 

A group of concerned citizens that live near and/or next to a home at 502 S. Eighth St. addressed the Basin Town Council at the Sept. 12, meeting. 

Victoria Davis, who lives next door to the home, was the spokesperson for the group. She said they are concerned about black mold, the dog feces and the smell coming from the property and noted that the garage is falling down. The house has been vacant since January, when the owner passed away. 

Davis said, “The black mold issue now has become a bio hazard. The Wileys who live directly across the street over on the corner have to keep their windows shut on that side of the house most of the time because of the odor. We need help.” 

She said she knows the town doesn’t have funds and that the house is in limbo with the family. Davis also said that the house is historic and perhaps could be put on the state historical preservation list, suggesting there might be grant money available to clean and fix it up. 

Mayor CJ Duncan asked the town attorney, Kent Richins, if the town could do anything about it. Richins said there are a lot of questions that need to be answered first, including if the property is in probate or owned by a bank. 

Richins also suggested that if the town had a health inspector, the property could be considered a health hazard and in need of abatement. The town does not have an inspector. Councilman Brent Godfrey wondered if the county health office could be contacted and if the public health doctor could do the inspection. Richins cautioned that there might be an issue with trespassing. 

Duncan suggested that the group take a petition to public health to request a health and safety inspection. Richins suggested the group also find out if the property is in probate and if possible contact the three living relatives of the owner. 

RAW WATER LINE 

Duncan brought to the council a request for a raw water line for the Nauman residence on Big Horn Avenue. He believes the town overlooked Naumans at the time the line was put in. Godfrey said the Naumans refused to have the line put in because it was going to cost him money. 

Duncan said “We took his water right from him and put it in our raw water pond. We don’t deliver raw water to him. I think that is wrong.” 

Godfrey countered, “It may be wrong but he was offered the same as everyone else underneath the tracks and said he didn’t want it. If he wants to pay for it then he can.” 

The mayor said in his opinion, an injustice was done to the Naumans. “We took his water right from him. So he can’t get water out of the canal. Right now he is getting by using wastewater that comes down from other irrigators. But the town of Basin, it wasn’t us, but the town of Basin took his water right and put it in the raw water pond. And then never gave him or whatever … so he no longer has water rights for 3 1/2 acres.” 

Councilman Carl Olson asked if there was any documentation on the matter or is it just a he said/she said. Duncan said it was more hearsay; he hasn’t seen paperwork. 

 Councilmen Olson and Stuart DeRosier said they would like to research the matter before voting. They will discuss further at the Sept. 26 meeting of the council. 

HAUL WATER 

One item on the agenda was the town’s haul water station. The discussion had been tabled the month before. The usage of the station has dwindled down to three users. Duncan explained that the ordinance stated that each cardholder was to be charged $39.02 monthly but this had not happened consistently. In addition there was a usage charge of $1.29 per 1,000 gallons and a refundable $50 deposit for the magnetic card.

He proposed doing away with the $39.02 monthly fee and raise the per gallon price. “Just bill them for their usage at a higher rate and forget the monthly minimum,” Duncan explained. 

The current average usage per month is 2,000-4,000 a month. Duncan’s proposal was $10 per 1,000 gallons. Olson expressed concern of that price because of businesses that come in to the town to do work and use the water on the construction projects they are working on. He suggested $6-$7 per 1000 gallons. The discussion will continue at later meetings. 

DEPARTMENT REPORTS 

Public Works Director Steve VanderPloeg said the crew had fixed two water leaks, fixed a fire hydrant and found a buried manhole. The crew had also washed 80 percent of the town’s sewers. Raw water will be turned off Oct. 10. 

Town Electrician Stacey Lesher reported that his department had rebuilt a pump at the baseball field, has been trimming trees out of electrical lines and hung a transformer, along with other duties. 

The water report was given by Mike Dellos. He said that along with other day-to-day activities, he helped fix three water leaks in town, fixed a broken curb, fixed several raw water hydrants and took samples at test wells. 

Deputy Clerk Tracy Harper presented the administration report. The report included a good financial audit, new computers were installed and they were continuing to work on delinquent accounts. She noted that there was some preliminary work that still needed to be done by the town prior to applying for a grant from the Wyoming Business Council for the industrial park. 

Later in the meeting Harper requested writing off some of the delinquents to bad debt since some of them would be impossible to collect. Harper will provide a list at the next meeting for the council to review. 

The police department report was given by Chief Chris Kampbell. He noted that he would be interviewing candidates for the vacant school resource officer next week. His report also included the number of service calls, case files opened, arrests and an update on the purchase of a new pickup for the department. 

OTHER BUSINESS 

• Roger Follett gave the council a report on the Planning and Zoning Committee. Setbacks in alleys and how to accommodate dumpsters in the alley with those setbacks was the main topic of the report. There was also discussion about the possible difficulty for homes in mixed use/commercial zones to get loans. 

• Travis Schriner requested a four-way stop be put in near his home at the corner of Ninth Street and Myrtle. Schriner cited speeding as the issue. He is concerned because there are many children walking home from school on Ninth and also the proximity to the football field, which also creates a lot of pedestrian traffic. Duncan asked Kampbell to have officers more present in that area to keep an eye on the situation. 

• Tammy Keele gave a report from the activities committee. She said Home for the Holidays is set for Nov. 30. The committee is working on plans for a parade, free pulled pork dinner, a live nativity and a choir. 

• A building permit for a garage was approved for Carlos Garay on North Eighth. 

• The town is waiting for an environmental review on the Eagles building. They hope to start the demolition of the building in the spring. 

• Duncan began a discussion about changing the town’s billing from the 15th of each month to the end of the month. No decision was made. 

• The Rec Board bylaws were discussed and the following changes have been made. There will now be three community members on the board instead of one. Should the rec board dissolve the assets will go to the town. Previously the bylaws said the assets would go to the school. 

• The town is looking to get electronic meter reading. Bids will be taken. A presentation from one possible vendor will be presented at the Sept. 26 meeting of the council. Duncan noted that the cost may run around $350,000. He stated that while the new meters will not save the town money it would save the town in man-hours. Those saved hours will be invested in other areas of the town. 

• Harper brought to the attention of the council that the types of liquor licenses from the state changed as had the pricing. After discussion the council voted to amend the cost of some of the licenses to be within state guidelines. 

• An executive session was asked for by Chief Kampbell to discuss a law enforcement issue. No action was taken. 

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