Let me be clear: I do not believe anyone on the City Council feels a problem with our roads is nonexistent. It is evident that our roads need help – lots of help.
Our mayor ran, and won, on the premise that Cheyenne’s roads are a disaster, and that she would fix them. We are almost 75% through her first term, and potholes are worse than I ever remember.
The delivery on fixing roads, apparently, is a complete failure. The mayor and the Public Works Department suggest as much by declaring an “emergency” to rectify the pothole situation.
Mayor Marian Orr suggested in a recent op-ed (“Pothole misinformation needs to be corrected,” WTE, Sept. 7) she did not use the word “emergency.” Refer to the memorandum dated Aug. 9, 2019. The word “emergency” is used FOUR TIMES!
First, Cheyenne, like other municipalities in similar climates, experiences pothole repair as a matter of course. It is, and should be, part of the natural course of business. Again, I, like my colleagues, believe a proper pavement management program is appropriate. The city has the money to accomplish this. The question is, does the administration have the intestinal fortitude to execute?
Apparently, for 2019, the answer is no. The tack of the Orr administration this year is reactive … proactive is a better tack.
To my knowledge, council has not been presented with a priority list of pothole repair. The bid that was considered regarding the “emergency” had no priority list, scope of work or identified problem areas. If such a plan had been presented to council, vetted by the public and moved through proper procedure, I believe council could have considered, discussed and possibly approved action on Aug. 26.
Mayor Orr decided to declare an emergency and attempt to circumvent proper council procedure. This ask rose above the city ordinance maximum allowable spend of $35,000. Above that amount requires council approval – emergency or not.
Ours is not a system of one individual rule. You, the public, deserve to know exactly what product you are receiving for your dollars. A $250,000 ask to “fix potholes” is absurd. Which potholes? How many? Where? Quality? Guarantee?
The largest responsibility of the City Council is to steward taxpayer dollars. Bottom line, potholes are not an emergency. Taxpayers deserve to know what will be fixed, how it will be fixed and the quality of the product they will receive. This “emergency,” and the bids received, fail to answer all these questions.
These are the reasons I moved to table the motion to let this contract this week. Perhaps this item can be reconsidered at the next council meeting, if the administration can provide answers to these questions and explain adequately why an emergency exists.
The city of Cheyenne needs a comprehensive plan to address the street maintenance issue. Mayor Orr ran on this platform. Declaring emergencies is not the mechanism. Creating and executing on a plan is.