Maintaining city services, organizing parking and jogging conversations about economic development were just some of the items on Laramie City Council member’s New Year’s resolution lists.

Below, councilors explain what they would like to see the council accomplish in 2017.

Councilors Charles McKinney and Bryan Shuster were not available for comment at press time.

Andi Summerville, Ward 1

Councilor Andi Summerville said she planned to focus on communication and transportation in the new year.

“I’m really looking forward to reinvigorating the Albany County Transportation Authority and expanding bus routes to the rest of the city,” she said. “And I’d like to continue to make the City Council more accessible to the public.”

Despite the bleak financial outlook, she said the city had several positive developments underway as well.

“I’m looking forward to continuing to work on our successful economic projects such as HI-VIZ Phase II, a new airport terminal and downtown’s community ready grant to fill the Empress Lot,” Summerville said. “It’s important to remember we can still move Laramie forward, even in lean times.”

Vicki Henry, Ward 1

Retaining the city’s health inspector position, known in Laramie as an environmental health specialist, was at the top of Councilor Vicki Henry’s priorities for 2017.

“I would like council to commit to continuing the health inspector position through fiscal year 2018 at least by implementing re-inspection fees to offset the cost to the city,” Henry said.

Researching development opportunities for West Laramie also ranked high on her resolutions.

“I would like to begin real conversations about revitalizing West Laramie, especially the Snowy Range Road corridor,” she said. “I’d like to see more restaurants and retail along the corridor to spark economic development.”

Also, she said she was looking forward to working with newly elected councilors Pat Gabriel and Charles McKinney.

“I’m hoping for more positive interactions between the council members,” Henry said.

Dave Paulekas, mayor and Ward 2 representative

Mayor Dave Paulekas said 2017 was going to be a challenging year financially.

“My goal for the next year is to maintain,” Paulekas said. “If we can maintain what we’ve accomplished given the current financial outlook, we’ll be doing pretty good.”

With the help of the newly elected councilors, Paulekas said he thought the task of managing the rough times ahead would be significantly less daunting.

“I believe that the council we’ve got coming in has the potential to be a tremendous council,” he said. “Taking nothing away from what councils have accomplished in the past, I believe this one could be just as good if not better.”

Jayne Pearce, vice mayor and Ward 2 representative

Working with the University of Wyoming to straighten out the congested parking situation in residential areas surrounding the university was Vice Mayor Jayne Pearce’s first resolution.

“I think there’s a few folks on council that have been working really hard to improve relationships with UW,” Pearce said.

For 2017, Pearce said she would like the council to improve communication lines with residents and the county. Together, she said they could tackle the problem of how best to protect the water supply.

“I’d like the residents of Laramie and Albany County to really get behind the idea of Casper Aquifer protection,” she said. “If we could get together with the county on the same plan for the Casper Aquifer Protection Plan that would be like a dream come true.”

Pearce said she would also like to investigate the possibilities of developing portions of the Monolith Ranch.

“I’d love to see the Monolith Ranch Committee do some planning about how to use that Monolith Ranch in terms of transitioning the ranch,” she said. “In areas that are not as productive for ranching, I would like to see the committee make a plan for appropriate uses — everything from recreation to business and industry.”

Joe Shumway, Ward 2

Councilor Joe Shumway said parking was also high on his list of priorities for 2017.

“One major thing we’re working on is parking near the university,” Shumway said. “We’re meeting with (UW) next week to see if we can come up some solutions.”

After the council approved a purchase and sale agreement Dec. 20 for property on which to develop a new public works facility, Shumway said he was looking forward to seeing the project progress.

“We’re embarking now on the public works center, so we’re working on securing some grants or low interest loans to help fund that,” he said.

Also, he said he would like to continue working on programs that involve youth in local government.

“I want to continue to ensure the Laramie Youth Council continues getting funded and doesn’t hit the chopping block,” he said. “I think it’s a great program.”

Klaus Hanson, Ward 3

Reassuring residents the council has the best interests for the Casper Aquifer in mind and bolstering the public transit system were high on Councilor Klaus Hanson’s New Year’s resolutions list.

“We need to again deal with our aquifer,” Hanson said. “There is growing concern we are loosening regulations on what can be done on the aquifer.”

Given the increasing number of seniors in Laramie, he said building the city’s public transportation system was of growing importance.

“I would like to see us get a more robust public transportation system,” he said. “The current system is insufficient.”

Although he said he is eagerly anticipating working with new council members, he would like to see what they want to achieve as a council.

“There is a saying in my native tongue, ‘new brooms sweep well,’” he said. “But, there are certain limits on what we can accomplish. The basic rule is provide the best we can for the most people.”

Pat Gabriel, Ward 3

Newly elected Councilor Pat Gabriel said he was not going into 2017 with an agenda, but he would like to see what the council could do to fix some of the streets around Laramie.

“I’m going in there with my eyes wide open, but (street repair) is going to be one of my main focuses,” Gabriel said. “There’s so many streets in town that need attention.”

He said he would also be keeping an eye on how legislators “divvy up” the budget during the Legislative Session as well as the Casper Aquifer development options.

“I know Spradley Barr is going to be a big discussion because of the aquifer area it is proposed to go in,” Gabriel said. “I’m going to watching that carefully.”

(2) comments

Ernest Bass

In spite of the fact that Albany County voters defeated a proposed tax to fund a bus system, Summerville and Hansen both want to resurrect this boondoggle. Why are they going against the wishes of the majority of voters in Albany County? What’s in it for them? According to a Boomerang article (4-29-2016) the proponents of a bus system want to fund public transportation by raising property taxes and/or increasing the sales tax in Albany County to seven percent. Do we really want a seventh cent sales tax generating $4 million a year to provide free bus rides for UW students?

From the Eppson Center website: “The Eppson Center offers door-to-door transit service for senior citizens, the disabled, and the transportation disadvantages. All P.A.T.S buses and vans are wheel chair accessible….For the general public the cost is $2 per ride. For qualified persons including those ages 60 and better, this is a suggested donation.” Laramie already has public door-to-door transportation for a suggested fee of $2. Why do we need a multi-million-dollar bus system? Andi? Klaus? Why do you want to force senior citizens on fixed incomes to pay for free bus rides for UW students when they already have a bus system funded by UW? I thought elected officials are supposed to represent the wishes of their constituents and not their own personal politics. Oh, right, this is Laramie.

Matthew Brammer

A small town of 30,000 people already has 3 private taxi companies, 2 free UW-run taxis, UW-run campus commuter bus routes, a UW-run LaramieLink/Dial-A-Ride system, a UW Paratransit service, amd an Eppson Center-run transit service....yet Summerville continues to push her little pet project of some massive, taxpayer funded bus system that A) Won't be used by the majority of residents that actually pay taxes, B) Has already been rejected by voters, and C) has already proven, in previous runs, to be a costly, inefficient, seldom-used disaster that folded in upon itself within a few years.

Meanwhile, the council can't be bothered to fix, update, or repeal existing transit ordinances that are ACTUALLY causing tangible problems on the ground.

This council lives in its own bubble so much it's ridiculous.

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