by Laurie D. Morstad
At the Nov. 14 meeting of Basin Town Council, Mayor CJ Duncan announced that there would be a parade prior to a pig roast for the community Home for the Holidays celebration. Baked beans, cole slaw and a dessert will also be served. Council members will be serving the meal. The event and meal is free to all who attend. Warming barrels will be set up as well as a tent for the meal serving area. The parade will start at 6 p.m. on Nov. 30; the meal will be served following the parade. Vendors of crafts and products will also be present throughout the evening. This is the second year of the annual event.
Tammy Keele, chair of the Home for the Holidays celebration, addressed the council about their progress in planning for the event. They now have the owners and animals committed for the live nativity for the night. They do need appropriate costumes for those involved and are requesting that community members who have costumes appropriate for the shepherds and the time period to bring them to the town office. Owners of animals are to be present with their animals throughout the celebration to assure safety for the animals and the public. According to chamber president Barbara Anne Greene, a llama, goats, sheep, and a calf have been committed for the live nativity.
The council is looking for more businesses and individuals who would prepare a float for the parade. Float sign-ups may be registered at the town office or the Basin Chamber on C Street. Santa will be present at the Big Horn County Library for visits and pictures with Santa throughout the celebration.
In other business:
• After much discussion, the council voted to replace the stop signs at the corners of A Street and Ninth as well as B Street and Ninth Street. According to Chris Kampbell, the police chief, there has been concern that vehicles leaving the new school are going too fast without the stop signs present. Some students walk to and from school and may be at risk without these stop signs. Councilman Brent Godfrey echoed this concern and also suggested that this be a designated crosswalk. The council was in agreement with that plan and those stop signs will be replaced and crosswalks added. They tabled a discussion about other stop signs that may be needed in other places around the town. The police department has been tasked with observing the flow of traffic to evaluate any further need of stop signs that would increase the safety for drivers and walkers.
• Mayor Duncan reported that there are two open seats on the rec board. He stated, “This is a large district. It goes nearly to Manderson and north of the town halfway to Greybull.” Interested residents are encouraged to send letters of interest to the town office.
• During community discussion time, town resident Vicki Davis asked about any statute the town had regarding the number of vehicles allowed on properties for residents. She stated that on Myrtle there is a residence that has 12 vehicles – some of which are unlicensed – on their property. She expressed concern that it was difficult to see around them to safely enter the intersections. Chief Kampbell said there is an ordinance that requires vehicles not be parked in an area that obstructs the view of intersections. He has committed to speaking to owners who have vehicles that are causing this safety violation. “No vehicle can be left where it causes a public nuisance,” Kampbell stated. As to the others, the council tabled the discussion to explore how many unlicensed vehicles can be on a property.
Town attorney Kent Richins opined, “If their registrations are up to date, there is not much we can do. It becomes an issue of property rights being respected.” They also will be looking at an ordinance for trailers and boats that are often parked on the street yearround.
• The council discussed the need to get renters to have the owner of the property co-sign as a responsible party in the case of default on utilities debt. There have been problems collecting from some renters who move and fail to pay the final bill. Once the ordinance is written and passed on three readings, landowners will be required to sign onto the utility accounts with the renter. Duncan summarized the need, “The Town of Basin cannot work without payment.” He praised the clerical staff for staying on top of delinquent accounts and getting residents in arrears to make financial arrangements to pay current bills while consistently making payments on old balances. There were five shutoffs processed but all made payment or arrangements prior to shut-off. In total, 11 payment agreements have been signed at this point. “We noticed how well you all have been doing,” he said.
• Steve VanderPloeg the head of public works, reported that the area north of the cemetery that had been used for branches and trees has now been locked. A person had again dumped construction materials on the pile. Residents who have branches and wood may bring them to the area near the settling ponds on the north side of town (near the compost piles for leaves and grass).
VanderPloeg announced that they opened and closed two full graves and one cremation. A certified funeral director is responsible for the lowering of caskets and urns and for exhumation when needed. The town sells the plots and the deeds are registered at the courthouse for gravesites at Mount View Cemetery.
• Duncan announced that the rec department did not feel the command post vehicle that the town possesses would meet their needs and declined the gift. The vehicle was one the town received as surplus government equipment made available to towns via the Department of Homeland Security. The council tabled further discussion to see if another community may have need for it. They also want to explore the legalities of offering it for sale to a private entity. First choice was to see if either the Basin Fire Department or the Manderson Fire Department might have use for the mobile command post.
The town has hired a new town clerk. Ashley Patrick started her orientation on Oct. 21.
The next meeting of the Basin Town Council will be at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 26. At press time the town office was unable to confirm if it would be at the town hall or the Basin City Arts Center.