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The Mayor’s Minute from Mayor Patrick Collins – January 28th

City of Cheyenne Mayor Patrick Collins
City of Cheyenne Mayor Patrick Collins(Mia Johnson)
Published: Jan. 28, 2022 at 5:15 PM CST
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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Press Release) - We have had much success lately with family-owned companies choosing to move to Cheyenne.  I met with one of those entrepreneurs, Steve Bedeeman.  Steve runs a company called NobelBiz.  Their business supports call centers with software and phone carrier services.  Leaving California and adding 20 quality jobs to our economy is great news.

WARM is the Wyoming insurance company that covers many of our cities and counties.  We met to discuss how we can modify our billing process in this Covid environment to help get our repairs done.  We get bids on work and by the time we get it through our city council process the bids have expired due to how fast prices are changing.  I appreciate their helping us understand the hurdles and our staff is working on a solution.

The 153rd Airlift Wing is our local National Guard C-130 unit.  I attended the Chamber’s Military Affairs Committee luncheon on the guard base to tour the new C-130 simulator.  It is a state-of-the-art way our airmen can train and work to improve their emergency skill set.  This simulator will support many C-130 units across this part of the nation.  It will bring teams of pilots to train in Cheyenne and their trips will support our hotels and restaurants.  I was amazed at the graphics and how realistic the cockpit was.  The pilots and flight engineer were fun to watch, they worked together seamlessly.

One of the hardest conversations I have participated in as mayor happened last Friday afternoon.  I shared with you my conversation on racism with the base commander, Colonel Barrington.  I invited school superintendent Crespo, the Colonel and two of her airmen to my office to hear a detailed account of what is happening.  I was devastated to learn that the airman’s 7th grade son is confronted with the “N” word daily in school.  Seeing the pain in the father’s face broke my heart.  His high school daughter had it so bad she chooses to do school virtually.  I do not know the answer to this problem, but we need a community conversation to address it.  You will see this happen across the community and very soon. I appreciate Superintendent Crespo and everyone else who has agreed to help in this matter.

Jr. Leadership of Laramie County is a great program made up of juniors in high school.  I met with the 8 ladies who make up this year’s program to talk about what it is like to be mayor.  I shared my excitement and love for the job.  It was an opportunity to ask them what they see and hear regarding race in the school.  I learned the use of the “N” word is rampant by both black and white students.  As you can imagine, it was disappointing to hear.  I believe this word has no place in our lexicon, and now realize how much work we must do.

I attended the monthly chamber of commerce board meeting.  The end of the meeting is a chance to hear updates from other governmental agencies.  We are so busy in our schedules; it is great to get time with them to talk and sometimes work out issues we may be facing.  I appreciate the chamber giving us this opportunity.

Our city council meeting on Monday night had the shortest agenda since I have become mayor.  The meeting flew by until we got to the other business portion.  This is when residents can address the entire governing body on subjects that are important to them.  We had Ms. Layman and Mr. Ridgeway challenge us on the state of 26th street right in front of the capitol complex.  This project is very important.  It involves the installation of a large storm water interceptor that will catch the flood waters that have historically flowed into downtown and have caused so much damage and move them safely to the crow creek drainage system.  The problem for our residents in the area is the project has been going on for 8 months, and it is still not finished.  The roadway is full of mud, and the project has been paused until spring until warm weather will allow paving. What is disappointing is the project was left by the contractor is a state that is not safe and is not great for the quality of life for the neighbors.  Since the meeting we have worked with the contractor to develop a plan to get the area cleaned up, and hopefully get Carey Ave opened to traffic.  I believe the blame lies with the city and we will do our best to remedy the situation.  It is a great lesson about the impact our projects have on neighborhoods, and I appreciate the neighbors bringing it to our attention.

I know you have all read about employee shortages in our nation, state, and city.  Unfortunately, the city of Cheyenne is not immune.  We met this week to discuss ways we can meet the needs of the community and still take care of our employees.  We are in challenging times, and Covid has made the situation even more challenging. A shameless plug, the city is a great place to work.  Great benefits, and a state pension when you retire.  Come serve your community and become a city employee!  Back to our normal message.

If you enjoy sports, and especially basketball, you should consider a visit to LCCC to watch the basketball team.  Judy and I joined our friends Bob and Agneta to watch LCCC beat Casper College 97 to 90.  It was a great game, and I would recommend the experience.  By the way, Bob is a great cook.

The Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) is a federally funded planning group for population areas larger than 50,000 people. There are two in Wyoming, and I got a chance to meet our Casper partners.  It was fun to compare our organizations and talk about the future.  I am focused on ways Wyoming cities can work together to make governing easier, and more effective. The MPO is essential in making sure our transportation system is ready for what our communities will look like in 20 or 30 years.

Judy and I had our first experience at the Denver Stock Show and Rodeo.  It was great to see a rodeo and to see the cowboys, cowgirls, and animals compete.  One thing that really stood out was the great job the Frontier Days General Committee does as ambassadors for Cheyenne and Wyoming.  I saw the best mutton busting ride, a young girl rode the entire length of the arena.  She rocked!

Dennis Christopherson asks this question this week. “When is the Code Enforcement Department going to begin enforcing code violations on the upkeep of residential yards?”

In 2021 our Nuisance Abatement Team responded to over 1,500 cases, with a total of 2076 individual violations.  We inspect each case twice, once to verify the violation, and again after the property owner has been notified.  We will also follow up to make sure the violation has been cleaned up.  Our staff is busy enforcing the ordinances.  I think in some cases, there is a question of whether the complaint meets the definition of nuisance in our ordinances.  Some residents have different views, and it puts our staff in a tough situation.  It would be my hope that someday we would not need a nuisance staff, that folks would keep their properties up to code.  We would be a more beautiful place if they did.

If you have a question for me, send it to media@cheyennecity.org. I’ll continue to answer them in my following Mayor’s Minute column.

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