Evanston City Council passes $22 million budget

City of Evanston Treasurer Trudy Lym addresses the city council last week to discuss the 2019-20 fiscal year budget, which passed unanimously. (HERALD PHOTO/Kayne Pyatt)

EVANSTON — First on the agenda of the June 18 Evanston City Council meeting was a public hearing to receive public comments for the proposed modification to the budget for the current fiscal year. 

Evanston Treasurer Trudy Lym went over the 2019 budget summary. Lym said she had increased the amount from the Lodging Tax Fund from $10,000 to $50,000, as they had used more for marketing and promotions than the revenues. She said there is $900,000 available in reserves. There were no other changes to the current budget.  

Lym then moved to the second item, which was the public hearing to receive public input regarding the City of Evanston budget for fiscal year ending June 30, 2020. 

Lym read a prepared budget summary to the council, some of which is included here:

“The amounts in this budget are a forecast of potential revenues and estimated expenses. The City’s main source of revenue comes from tax collection in our community, which can vary greatly from year to year,” Lym said. “Currently, we are 8 percent ahead for the year in sales tax collection as compared to last year. We continue to rely on the direct distribution from the State of Wyoming as well as Federal Mineral Royalties and Severance Tax. Lottery proceeds were down slightly for this last quarter compared to the same quarter from last year, but for the year to date we are still up 56 percent. Pari-mutuel distributions have been our biggest increase this year, 89 percent higher through December 2018.

“… We have budgeted for a 1-percent cost of living increase beginning in July, with other amounts budgeted for later in the year if revenues continue to be positive,” Lym continued. “Health insurance through Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wyoming will go up by 4 percent. … City employees … will see a .25-percent increase in their contributions to Wyoming State Retirement, bringing the city’s contribution amount to 12.9 percent. Wyoming State Retirement will continue to increase by .25 percent … for the next three years.”

Lym said an increase in utility rates is planned as the cost of repairs and maintenance has increased. She said that Evanston’s fees are still considerably lower than those of surrounding communities. Also in the budget are expenses for various equipment needed in departments and for proposed projects and purchases if revenues allow. 

The overall proposed budget for 2020 is $22,340,678, and Lym said it is very comparable to the 2019 budget amount. She said the budget for the upcoming fiscal year had been published and the council had reviewed it several times,

City Attorney Dennis Boal reminded the public in attendance that they could ask questions or make comments at a public hearing, though no community members participated.

On the consent agenda was a street closure permit request from Rick Slagowski for a neighborhood 4th of July block party on Thursday, July 4, on Sage Street between 8th and 9th streets from 5 p.m. to midnight.  

Also, a parade route was requested by the EHS Alumni Association for the annual noise parade on Saturday, July 6, beginning at 10 a.m. at the Uinta County Library parking lot and ending at Depot Square.

The council approved both permit requests.

Under unfinished business, Ordinance 19-05 and Ordinance 19-06 came up for vote on second readings.

DuWayne Jacobsen, senior planner, said Ordinance 19-05 now has a second amendment in Section 2, which removed the term “light rental services” and replaces the wording with “rental establishments.” The definition of light rental services is then removed from Section 24 – 105 and replaced with the new definition of rental establishments, which was approved on first reading at the last council meeting.

The council voted to approve the second amendment. Ordinance 19-05 was then approved on second reading as amended.

Jacobsen then presented Ordinance 19-06, which enacts Section 24-108.1 of the City Code authorizing the Planning Department to approve the transfer of a Conditional Use Permit and an existing use in certain circumstances. Ordinance 19-06 was approved on second reading.

Last on the agenda were several resolutions.

Lym asked for approval for Resolution 19-29 and Resolution 19-30, which were discussed previously in the meeting concerning the current year and upcoming fiscal year budgets.

The council approved both resolutions, passing changes to the 2018-19 budget and approving the 2019-20 fiscal year budget.

Scott Ehlers, director of the Evanston Parks and Recreation District, presented Resolution 19-31, which authorizes the city to enter into an operating agreement with the district. It was approved.

Resolution 19-32 involves a lease between the city and the Evanston Child Development Center (ECDC). Melynda Epperson, ECDC’s director of development, was present to answer questions and review the reason for their request for a 30-year lease agreement in order to meet the requirements for a grant from the federal government. 

Council member Evan Perkes asked, “If ECDC wants to purchase the building, say in 15 years, can they do that and break the lease?”

City Attorney Dennis Boal said, “Yes, they can. This 30-year lease is just important now so they can apply for federal money to remodel and renovate the building. That will be a benefit to the city, too.” The council approved the resolution.

Concerning Resolution 19-33, authorizing the execution of a cooperative agreement with the Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) to purchase and stockpile a salt and sand mixture, Boal explained that the agreement is renewed every year in hopes that the city can negotiate price changes. Resolution 19-33 was approved.

Resolution 19-34, a resolution authorizing the execution of an agreement for professional services with J-U-B Engineers Inc. to provide engineering services for the Evanston water ditch pipe project, was approved.

Director of Engineering and Planning Dean Barker said the city had advertised and received bids from at least three firms and the ditch project committee went over them and selected this company. The Evanston Ditch Company is actively seeking funding to complete the project. Barker said that the storm water aspect is 100-percent funded by water shed funds.

“This ditch project will be a money saver for the city in less water loss and maintenance costs,” Barker said. “As it is we have had to maintain the ditch and clean it of debris and tree roots which cause a lot of problems.”

Barker addressed the next item, Resolution 19-35, authorizing the execution of an agreement with Consolidated Paving and Concrete Inc. for the completion of all work required for the pavement overlays project.

Barker said Consolidated did the work last year and went over budget so he put an extra $40,000 cushion in this year. There are nine streets listed in the project contract. The proposal consists of asphalt overlay including tack coat, manhole adjustment, valve box adjustment and asphalt milling. The bid total is $444,821. It was approved.  

Resolution 19-36, a resolution approving and authorizing the final plat for the Janet Kindler Addition, a subdivision within the city, was discussed. 

The owner proposes to subdivide a 5.34-acre parcel of land into a two-lot subdivision. The land is zoned as low density residential developing and is located north of Centennial Valley Estates first addition, east of Constitution Avenue, west of Purple Sage municipal golf course, and south of a 19-acre plus parcel of land and Kindler Drive. An existing single-family residential dwelling is located within the southeast corner of subject parcel.

Jacobsen showed a map of the area and explained that the city subdivision review committee had reviewed the final plat of the Janet Kindler Addition and recommended approval subject to the following: the applicants come to an agreement with Rocky Mountain Power regarding the additional easement for an existing transformer prior to approval of the subdivision plat; water and sewer services shall be extended into Lot 2 per the direction of the City of Evanston Public Works Department; and a certified reproducible Mylar copy of the final plat shall be provided to the City after the plat has been recorded.

Eric Wall of Uinta Engineering and Surveying also added information regarding the property and answered questions from the council, which approved the resolution.

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