September 20, 2022 |

Two big issues and very different issues will come before the Rawlins City Council tonight. The first will be a rate increase to the water bill residents receive. Council will consider a recommendation for a $20 per month increase.

Water rate specialist Carl Brown, who analyzed the city’s infrastructure and the money needed to fund it, made the recommendation. Council will decide the matter tonight in a resolution that requires just one vote, not the usual three. At stake is a $7.5 million loan the city is seeking through the State Loan and Investment Board. Both SLIB and Governor Mark Gordon’s office have made it clear that any state funding hinges on a rate increase.

At the September 6th council meeting, City Attorney Gwendolyn Wade asked Mayor Terry Weickum if he wanted to hold the public hearing on the rate increase and the vote at separate meetings, or on a single night. The mayor said the decision needs to be made in September.

SLIB will meet in October to consider some 200 reported requests from local governments. Only $50 million of federal money is available for local government support projects from the $1- billion in ARPA funding Wyoming received. Competition for the funding will be stiff.

While the governor is supportive of the city’s request, he has made it clear that it hinges on a water rate increase.

Also, on the agenda for tonight’s Rawlins City Council meeting will be the second reading of a vicious animal ordinance. The city attorney said the current ordinance has no teeth. Attacks by vicious dogs that cause serious injuries cannot be prosecuted in the court.

Councilmember Chris Weisenburg of Ward 3 said the rewrite of the existing ordinance is the result of a recent dog attack that was unprovoked.

Under the amended language in the code, a vicious animal is defined as “any animal which attacks, bites or menaces persons or other animals in any public or private space without just provocation.”

Taunting or harassing an animal in a way that results in being bitten would not be covered.

The ordinance passed unanimously on first reading. It will come up for second reading tonight.

The work session starts at 6 p.m. followed by the regular city council meeting.

Pictured above: File photo of Rawlins City Hall. Photo by Cali O’Hare/Bigfoot 99.

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