The Mayor’s Minute from Mayor Patrick Collins

This week saw a community discussion on police tactics and the use of force. I have to admit that videos of police use of force are many times hard to watch even when the use of force is justified. Our police department has worked hard to earn the respect of our community and I appreciate the community waiting to pass judgement until all the information has been presented. The police department will be conducting a full use of force review by the entire chain of command including a review by our civilian review members. 

We continued our department budget meetings this week with Charles Bloom and the Planning Department. Our planning crew works hard to make sure we build our community the right way today and make plans to ensure our community is ready for future growth. Charles did not have a big ask this year and shared the challenge in the future for Planning is finding office space for his growing team and keeping them properly compensated in the future.

Stefanie Boster runs the City Attorney’s office. It is a team of four attorneys that makes sure we have the right legal advice and prosecute the offenders in our municipal courts. I think their biggest challenge is the large number of clients they are responsible for advising: the nine members of the city council, all our individual departments and their directors, and then there is me asking so many questions. We made a lot of additions to the office over the past two years so their asks were small this year.

The last department budget meeting for this year was with Tony Ross, our Senior Municipal Judge. We have two full-time judges and a part-time judge that works in the youth court. Judge Ross shared the biggest challenges the court faces include mental health, drugs, and homelessness. They are seeing too many defendants coming to the court with obvious mental health challenges that may make them unable to aid in their defense. Too many of the folks appearing in the court that are there due to drug addiction. The court is trying to determine the best way to deal with homeless defendants. Big challenges for our municipal court and staff.

I met with Pat Higgins, the president of the Country Club. It was nice to learn about the significant improvements the club is making to the swimming pool and golf course. They have caught the pickleball craze too. I also wanted to talk about how we can better coordinate during the 10-day rodeo. The country club is in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the celebration. Being out there got my golf juices flowing. Happy to see the warming weather.

The 20th Air Force was founded in World War II and flew the B-29 Superfortress to bomb Japan at the end of the war. They dropped the first atomic bombs that ended the war. Today the 20th Air Force is headquartered at F.E. Warren Air Force Base and is charged with the command of our nation’s intercontinental ballistic missiles. Friday night, Judy and I attended an 80th anniversary dinner for the 20th. The highlight of the evening was five airmen from across the command who shared their stories and reasons for serving our country. Senior Airman Peter Keny was one of the Lost Boys of Sudan whose family was killed when he was 6 years old. He somehow survived for years until he made his way to the USA where he wanted to give back to the country that saved him by serving in the military. A1C Eduardo Sarmento was born in Brazil and wanted to give back also. He joined the Air Force late in life and is proud to serve. MSgt Alexis King was born in America and she has battled injuries that should have forced her to retire. She loves serving her country and has battled to remain eligible to serve. A1C Joshua Monk started out in college and ROTC but had to quit for financial reasons. After years of good jobs but no feeling of purpose he joined the Air Force later in life and is proud of his service in our 37th Helicopter Squadron. Lastly, A1C Hamna Zafar and her family come from Pakistan. Her parents wanted to arrange a marriage to a Pakistani man she did not know or love. She had to get married or leave home at a young age. She left and is today a proud defender in the Air Force. All of the folks who spoke told the same story of wanting to serve the country they love and I wish we could capture their patriotism and sprinkle it on our whole population.

You know I am not a morning person so the 6:30 a.m. visit with the Sunrise Rotary Club was a tough sell. I did have fun sharing the city council’s goals and some of the exciting projects we are working on. I am so impressed with “The Four-Way Test” the Rotary club members use in making decisions: First, is it the truth? Second, is it fair to all concerned? Third, Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Fourth, Will it be beneficial to all concerned? I think having their meetings start later would have been beneficial to me, haha!

I had a representative from a local engineering company ask for time to discuss the frustrations developers are having when they try to build new projects in the area where the South Cheyenne Water and Sewer District boundaries meet up with the city. What is happening is a water line is available in the district and sewer in the city, but they can’t use both. In the example we discussed, a district sewer line runs on the south border of the project and is literally empty. They can’t use it and must build a $1.2 million sewer line to connect to the closest city sewer line. I understand the challenges and politics, but we can and should do better. I think a community conversation on what is best for the whole needs to happen and I plan on starting it. These senseless additional expenses are causing higher housing prices.

A highlight this week was Superintendent Megan Degenfelder coming by the office to talk about housing. As a member of the SLIB she needs to make decisions on the state’s funding on issues including housing. It was an opportunity for me to advocate for the state to help with our affordable housing issues. I so appreciate her willingness to meet and listen to our challenges and needs.

The 19th Cheyenne Day of Giving is coming up on May 9 and 10. This is a great opportunity for us to help the less fortunate in our community. I spoke to the group and read a proclamation. The community groups that get the donations shared the two things they each hope to receive. Diapers, underwear, canned vegetables, craft supplies, furniture like tables and chairs, hygiene products, Hamburger Helper, cereal, socks, prepackaged snacks, laundry detergent, bath towels, peanut butter, canned meat products like Spaghetti O’s, paper products, and single serve food stuff. I hope you will make a plan and give this year.

Rumor has it the weather will be great this weekend. I hope so as I have a lot of yard work I need to get started on.