The Mayor’s Minute from Mayor Patrick Collins

It is an unfortunate sign of the times, but my first meeting of this week was to discuss security in our city buildings. It is our responsibility to provide our employees with a comfortable and safe environment to work in. Over the past few years, we have had too many situations where people have come to our buildings and posed a threat to our staff. We are constantly looking to balance the need for the public to access our buildings to do city business with the need to provide a secure workplace. More to come.

This week continued our department budget work session presentations to City Council:

  • Community Recreation & Events has 12 divisions and is requesting to replace the office manager position lost due to the reductions during Covid.
  • The Mayor’s Office has grown with the grant writer and community development director transferring into the office.
  • The Municipal Court has 8 employees and no real changes for this coming fiscal year.
  • The City Clerk requested a code compliance officer that will be shared with the compliance department.
  • The Treasurer saw a procurement specialist recently hired, no other changes.
  • Youth Alternatives has 15 folks working to help the kids and families in our city. They needed $10,000 to update their well-used ropes course.
  • Public Works is one of our largest departments and their major request is another traffic technician to help with our expanding road network.
  • The City Engineer needs an additional engineer to keep up with the incredible growth we see across our city.
  • Our Planning Department grew over the past few years, they have no major additions or requests this year.
  • Similar to Planning, our City Attorney’s Office is fully staffed and hard at work.
  • Human Resources asked for more resources to attract and mentor our employees. We are almost fully staffed with just a few open positions.
  • Our IT department is also fully staffed and working to connect our new fire stations and the BEAST facility to our system.
  • The Building Department has grown to meet the needs of the development community and are getting used to their new team members.
  • Nuisance is asking for two new positions to help manage the homeless population all cities across our nation are dealing with.
  • Risk Management was the last to present this week. Their big ask is for our employee group to create a culture of safety.

I appreciate the City Council for their attention and great questions. Next step is the Committee of the Whole on Wednesday.

We had another employee hit a milestone anniversary with the City. Dennis Fanning has worked for the City for 40 years now. Wow! He worked a year in Facilities and unfortunately there was a reduction in force that he thought would be the end of his city service. An opening in the Traffic Division gave him a chance to stay with the City and the rest is history. Today he runs the Traffic Division and his crew of five full-time and four part-time folks keep our all our city signs, signals, and road painting done. It is a blessing to have long-term employees and their institutional knowledge. Thank you, Dennis!

Another 7 a.m. LEADS board meeting. Sigh! I know it is too early, but it is so exciting to hear about companies looking to invest in Cheyenne or expand their existing Cheyenne business. This month they added eight new companies to the prospect list. One thing LEADS is looking at is the potential creation of a Firearms and Ammunition Manufacturing Center of Excellence (FAME). The idea is to explore creating an institution that is a natural fit for Wyoming to determine best practices, professional development, and quality. The University of Wyoming School of Law has been doing great work on the 2nd Amendment for years. I am not sure where this effort will go, but with the firearms and ammunition industry expanding in our state, finding a way to innovate and improve safety seems like a worthwhile effort. LEADS is taking the lead in exploring this opportunity. There are great partners at the table, and I am excited to see where this effort leads our firearms industry going forward.

I spent time with a team from Casper to learn how they handle abandoned buildings. Councilman White and I learned about their use of the 1988 Uniform Code for the Abatement of Dangerous Buildings. All municipalities are struggling with how to deal with these dangerous buildings, and we are trying to learn best practices used in other communities. Casper sent us their codes and we will compare them to our codes to see if we can find new tools in our effort to secure dangerous buildings. I always appreciate the folks in Casper and their willingness to engage with us.

This week was the last meeting for this year’s Mayor’s Youth Council. You can tell that school is coming to an end as they were bouncing around just a bit. It might have been ice cream, cupcakes, and sugary drinks. This was a great group of students, and I enjoyed our discussions. I would encourage any high school-aged student to apply for the council. It is a great way to learn about what local government does and to meet a great group of peers.

I am enjoying the warm spring weather. I was at my favorite coffee shop the other morning and the birds were singing so loud. It was beautiful!