The Mayor’s Minute from Mayor Patrick Collins – May 20th
Published on May 20, 2022
CHEYENNE – We have great partners in Laramie County. We get together once a month to talk about our agencies and discuss what is happening in the community. This week we had Cheyenne Regional Medical Center (CRMC) President and CEO Tim Thornell, County Commissioner Brian Lovett, Visit Cheyenne/DDA Director Domenic Bravo, LEADS CEO Betsey Hale, Representative Henderson, Chamber Director Dale Steenbergen, Councilman Dr. Mark Rinne, and I all on the line for over an hour. These meetings started during the pandemic, and everyone felt it important enough to continue it today. I think it speaks well of the collaboration and cooperation of everyone involved. Thank you.
Our fire union contract requires me to meet with the union once a quarter. We meet many more times than that, but our official quarterly meeting was this week. We talked about everything from the upcoming Fifth Penny Sales Tax and how it could help equip the fire department, to the status of our new fire stations, to a new schedule the firefighters would like to adopt. Both sides have worked hard on our relationship in an effort to get from being adversarial to cooperative. It has taken a bit of trust, but we are definitely making progress.
I have nominated Jason Sanchez to replace the retiring Teresa Moore as the director of our Community Recreation and Events (CRE) Department. This is a huge department with many moving parts. I will write about Teresa in July as her retirement date gets closer, but I met with both of them to discuss the transition and the hiring of a new deputy director. This change has the potential to see five or six promotions as folks move up. It is exciting to see the growth for our team members. I will miss Teresa and am excited for this opportunity for Jason.
Last Saturday was an amazing day for me. It started with the Day of Service. A bunch of folks showed up to help clean up the city. I saw bags and bags of trash collected and placed to be picked up, flower beds cleaned out, and families volunteering to make Cheyenne a better place to live. I stopped by the Spiker Parking Garage and met members of the Cheyenne Underground and 307 Motor Mafia car clubs painting over the graffiti. It took hours and they had their nice cars and sound systems working to help make the time fly by. When I left, the garage looked amazing. Sadly a few hours later someone started tagging it again. On Thursday the 307 Motor Mafia was back to clean the garage up again. Good news is our police department caught two 14-year old’s painting the garage on Tuesday and arrested them.
Later Saturday afternoon, I joined the Rooted in Cheyenne crew to plant their 1,000th tree. This volunteer group has worked for five years with our forestry department to replant our dying urban forest in the older parts of town and starting an urban forest in the newest neighborhoods. I laughed as I watched 20 people, one baby, and a dog make short work of the planting. I think the beautiful tree canopy we have in the historic parts of our city are what really make it so desirable. The 62 volunteers will make future generations marvel as I do today at our gorgeous trees.
Saturday evening, I joined the Union Pacific Historical Society at their annual banquet held this year in Cheyenne. They have over 2,000 members, and they are truly railroad fans. The highlight for me was the honor of introducing Jim Ehernberger. He was hired on by the UP Railroad at 16 and spent his off time taking pictures of the steam engines of the day. He donated a bronze for our Capitol Avenue Bronze Project of an engineer and conductor comparing time. You will have to come see the bronze to learn the reason for comparing time. It will be a beautiful addition in front of the Albany Restaurant.
On Sunday, Judy and I went to the air guard base to attend Elizabeth Tolin’s change of command. She will now be in charge of a maintenance group working on the C130 aircraft flown by our 153rd Airlift Squadron. It was great to see the airmen from her previous command there to support her and the new team there to welcome her. Our guard units are very busy, and the maintenance groups are essential in keeping them flying.
Meals on Wheels have been feeding folks in Cheyenne for decades now. It was nice to have Stephanie and Rhianna stop by to educate me on their mission and to invite me to their Hikes for Hunger event at the Hynds Lodge on October 1st. I had no idea they make 300 meals a day and deliver them to people in need. They have 40 new applicants each month and they must meet the diverse dietary needs of each of them. I was happy to hear that meat and potatoes is the favorite thing they serve. Ditto here!
Not every meeting is fun. I met with a team from our Board of Public Utilities (BOPU) about a business that is not meeting the industrial pretreatment requirements established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Restaurants are required to have grease traps and service them regularly. This particular business has a broken grease trap and is unwilling to fix it. This could cause sewer backups in the area and damage our system. I hate that we have folks that think they don’t have to follow the program and that we may have to shut them down. I am a small businessperson and understand how hard it is, but without communication and cooperation, the EPA requirements will force us to act.
There is one agency I wish would go out of business. Safehouse Services has been working for the residents of Cheyenne for 43 years and I hate that we need their services. I attended a fundraising luncheon where Senator Tara Nethercott spoke about the amazing work this group of ladies does to help protect those who are victims of domestic violence. One of the most touching parts of the program was when the names of the 12 women who have been killed by a domestic partner were read out loud and a short story from a family member was shared. I read the story about Lynaya Nichole Brown, age 27 who was killed by her husband with a shotgun. She left behind two beautiful girls, Alexis, 12, and Ireland, 9. Her husband is eligible for parole in August of 2023. I hope someday they have to close shop for lack of business.
I can’t believe Cheyenne Frontier Days (CFD) is just nine weeks away. I stopped by the grounds with our Chief Building Official, Bruce Trembath. CFD is looking to build a couple of pole barns and with such a tight time frame, wanted to make sure everything was on schedule. I just bought my tickets to the shows and appreciate Frontier Days reinvesting in making every new year a bit better than the last. Can’t wait to see Brooks and Dunn.
I don’t enjoy the trip to Denver like I used to. The traffic and construction have made me avoid the trip at all costs. We got a team together to start planning the location of a passenger station for the Front Range Rail project. This Amtrak line is projected to run from Pueblo, Colorado to Cheyenne with multiple trains daily. I would love to avoid the traffic and ride a train to the Broncos, Rockies, or Avs game; you get the picture. There are many options for this station, and the team will begin to decide the best one.
We held a Committee of the Whole meeting on Wednesday evening. This is the first time the city council gets to vote on our upcoming budget. The general fund budget is just over $59 million dollars. The council spent almost two hours going over the details and asking many very good questions. With the tight revenues, we were not able to add many of the pieces we would have liked to. I took good notes and as revenue allows, I know the pieces the city council has prioritized.
If you have a question for me, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll continue to answer them in my following Mayor’s Minute column.