By Ernie Over
Riverton City Administrator Tony Tolstedt announced his resignation following an executive session at the end of Tuesday night’s regular city council meeting. Tolstedt said he has accepted an assistant city administrator’s position in Spring Hill, TN, about 30 miles south of Nashville. He’ll leave the first week in August.
In making his announcement on the Wind River Radio Network’s Let’s Talk Fremont program Wednesday, Tolstedt said his five years in Riverton have been wonderful and he appreciated the support of city staff and the city council. He said Riverton is an amazing community with great volunteer spirit. He said it will be difficult to leave at this time, but the opportunity to move up in his career was hard to pass up. A native of Sheridan, Tolstedt came to Riverton after service with the City of Douglas, Wyoming.
He’s headed to a city about the size of Casper, just over 50,000 residents in the 2020 Census. The city is included in the Nashville Statistical Metropolitan Area.
Mayor Richard Gard said the city will now start the process of finding a new City Administrator.
Utility Problem at Sunset/North Broadway
The council also debated who was responsible for locating a buried fiber optic bank that has stopped construction of the Sunset Drive Improvement Project at the intersection of Sunset and Broadway. The fiber optic bank, containing a dozen conduits, was discovered when excavation was underway for the Armstrong Lateral Extension. The fiber optic bank was not damaged, thankfully, but the estimated cost to move the line and realign the lateral will cost the city an additional $50-thousand. A change order to that effect was proposed.
City Council Member Kyle Larson objected. He asked, “Why is it our responsibility to pay something someone else screwed up? It’s Century Link. For us to shoulder those costs is absolutely ridiculous,” he said. “The city is not as big as Century Link, we don’t have deep pockets like they do, they should pony up what they have cost us.”
City Administrator Tony Tolstedt said Larson had a good point, and he said if the council directs the staff to find a financial remedy, we can do that. Tolstedt said “that’s why the city has an attorney.”
Mayor Richard Gard said he didn’t want the project at the intersection to be held up any longer. “If the city doesn’t sign the change order, the work won’t get done.”
Community Development Director Michael Miller, a former Century Link employee, said that fiber optic line has been there for 30 years and he said he didn’t know why it wasn’t found in research before the work. He also said any claim would probably be passed on to the subcontractors that Century Link hired to do the line location work.
Ultimately, knowing that the work has to continue, councilors, including Larson, voted to accept the change order.
In a Special Session last Tuesday, June 28, the city’s Finance Director, Mia Harris, in a memo to the council, said that per statutory requirements, “staff must review the fiscal year budget before yearend and recommend appropriation adjustments to the governing body if cost centers have been or will be over-expended. Line item transfers and funds allocated by the Council through the budget adoption process cover the changes.”
This past Tuesday, July 5, Mayor Gard said there were substantial savings as no additional funding was requested for the city’s general Fund or Enterprise Funds at the special meeting, as indicated by Harris. He said there was one increase to the Riverton Rendezvous Fund, of $23,000, to help replace a hot air balloon envelope on Cloud Kisser II that had failed inspection. He said most of the money for the balloons comes from private donations and fund raising, but that effort was falling short this spring.
In terms of budget savings per fund at the end of the 2021-22Fiscal Year, Gard was happy to report that the savings in the General Fund was $1,187,039 or 14 percent; the Water Fund savings was $278,597 or eight percent; the Sewer Fund saved $366,563 or 13 percent of its budget, the Sanitation Fund saved $99,604 or four percent and the Airport Operations Fund saved 22 percent or $374,144. Overall, according to statistics provided by Harris, the total budget savings was $3,267,255 or 14 percent of the approved budget. Harris noted that some of the savings will be rolled forward into the current Fiscal Year Budget and some items that had been budgeted, were postponed, leading to the savings. Most were in Capital Projects.
In other actions
• Councilors approved, on third and final readings, Ordinances #22-005 and #22-006 of the Riverton Municipal Code for Title 17 Zoning Definitions and R$ Residential Zoning Revision. Both deal with multiple-family units.
•The Council aproved Resolution No. 1451, The Wyoming Cooperative Liquid Asset Securities System (CLASS) which provides cash-management investments designed exclusively for Wyoming public entities, with its primary objective focused on the safety of public funds. As explained by Harris in a memo to the council, the city engages in activities with designated investment programs and, by resolution, name its custodian bank as an official depository for the account transactions of City funds including Reserve Capital and Endowment Funds. The primary objectives, in priority order, of the City of Riverton investment activities shall be safety, liquidity, return on investment, and community investment. The City currently participates in the state-approved WyoStar and Wyoming Government Investment Funds and adding CLASS will further diversity opportunities for city investing.
• A Public Hearing was held and Resolution no. 1452 was approved that will allow the city to apply for a Safe Routes to School Grant from the Wyoming Department of Transportation for pedestrian safety and drainage improvement in the area of Willow Creek Elementary School. The grant, if approved, would provide sidewalk, curb and gutter from Riverview south on Major to the school on West Monroe. There are no sidewalks there at the present time. According to Public Works Director Kyle Butterfield, the 2023 projects from WYDOT are funded at a ratio of 90.5:9.5. The anticipated budget for the improvements is $800,000. The grant would fund $723,920 and the city would be required to cover $76,080. Under the rules of the program, if awarded, the grant monies would not be available until the 2023-24 Fiscal Year.