A regular meeting of the Wykoff City Council was held on October 11, with all members in attendance: Rocky Vreeman, Mary Tjepkes, Mayor Al Williams, Clerk Becky Schmidt, Mary Sackett, and Richard Gleason. The council discussed the proposed change to an entirely mail-in voting system, in which voters would not come to a polling place. Rosanne Strain addressed the council on this topic, stating in part, “I know you’re trying to save money,… but sometimes you have to work for your freedom. I don’t think you should do it.” The council discussed the cost of an election, which Schmidt said is generally $2,000 to $3,000 (which includes election judge pay, training, meals, etc). She also said the city sent out 242 questionnaires about the issue, and so far 50 have been returned, with 42 saying yes to mail ballots, and 8 against. After discussion, the council chose to wait until more questionnaires have been returned, to see what the city’s consensus is.
Lyman Hare addressed the council regarding the possibility of the city obtaining the Wykoff school property from Kingsland. He said that such buildings can often turn into a financial liability, and he encouraged the council to “really seriously look into it” before agreeing to accept any buildings. The council discussed this issue, with Gleason sharing that, “To my surprise, about two weeks ago, the superintendent brought it to us that they wanted us to look into the possibility of taking on the whole school. This was far and above what our original conversation was.” He added his opinion that there are “Too many unknowns. I like the idea of the property, but not the school…” Schmidt stated that she’s heard from other cities that have taken on such properties, and incurred significant expenses as a result. Council members agreed to have Schmidt write a letter to Kingsland explaining the city’s concerns.
On the topic of the street project, Mayor Williams explained that financial planner Mike Bubany had encouraged the city to “do it the right way” by replacing old water and sewer lines at the same time that street improvements are made, although this obviously increases the cost of the project. Vreeman spoke up, saying, “I don’t think that’s the way to go, because you’re going to go partway up with curb and gutter… when are you going to do the rest of it? And we’ve still got these other streets that have been in dire need for years, South Line Street, South Silver Street.” The council discussed the possibility of just “grinding down” the surface of some streets and resurfacing them with crushed rock, preferably in the spring so the rock would be well packed before snow plow season.
Schmidt asked the council to consider a change in the timing of when water shutoff letters are sent to citizens with unpaid water bills. She said the current system allows too much unpaid debt to accumulate, and she suggested sending the letters one month sooner. Vreeman suggested she read through Ordinance 200, and make suggestions for amendments, which can then be taken to the city attorney for review.
Wade Baker, representing the fire department, said there was good attendance and participation at the recent pedal pull event, as well as the dance, chili feed and 50/50 raffle. He summarized that, “It all turned out well.”
The council voted to approve the request for a liquor license renewal for Shooters. The council also voted to set the proposed levy for 2018 at $178,613, which Schmidt pointed out is no increase from the previous year. The council’s next regular meeting will be Monday, November 13 at 7 p.m. The public is welcome.