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Residents will be able to continue enjoying liquor delivery to their front doors, thanks to an ordinance passed by the Cheyenne city council Monday night. Photo by Ardalan Hamedani on Unsplash

CHEYENNE – Residents will be able to continue enjoying liquor delivery to their front doors, thanks to an ordinance passed by the Cheyenne city council Monday night.

The council originally allowed for alcoholic deliveries in April 2020 because the “COVID-19 virus (was) causing significant economic harm to alcoholic liquor and malt beverage licensees,” the ordinance stated, and now those rules will permanently go into effect.

During the committee hearings, Susie Dudenkaus of the Laramie County Liquor Association said, “I think it’s great for all of the liquor license holders that want to participate in delivery.”

Businesses with retail liquor licensees, microbrewery permits, winery permits and satellite manufacturing permittees will be permitted to provide delivery service for the delivery of alcohol to customers, so long as they notify the city. Microbreweries and wineries will only be allowed to deliver the products they manufacture, and the delivery drivers need to take an alcohol serving training program.

However, you will not be able to order booze to be delivered to a park or other public location. The service is also limited right now to city limits, but the Laramie County Board of Commissioners can pass a resolution allowing it county-wide.

Fiscal year 2020 budget approved, no shelter solution

The council approved the city’s fiscal year 2022 $54 million general fund budget Monday, after weeks of discussions, work sessions and budget amendments.

While this budget doesn’t undo all of the COVID-19 cuts, it includes funds to refill a number of positions and puts city staff in a better position to perform their duties, whether that’s nuisance abatement of caring for the city’s green spaces.

“Last year, when I was providing the budget overview to the council, I expressed a great deal of doom and gloom because of the economic uncertainty of the pandemic,” City Treasurer Robin Lockman said when she introduced the budget proposal at the start of May. “Thankfully, tonight’s budget overview will be much more positive, and I’m happy to report the city of Cheyenne is in much better shape financially than we were during last year’s budget.”

Fortunately, the city did not see an increase in health insurance premiums or a decrease in the state’s $4.1 million direct distribution this year, which allowed more flexibility for fiscal year 2022. Still, City Treasurer Robin Lockman said city departments had an additional $3.8 million in unfunded requests this year.

One area that the council placed a bigger emphasis on in this budget is nuisance abatement and code compliance, pumping more funding and more staff into the Compliance Division, Planning and Development Department and the City Attorney’s office. With a new city attorney to help with enforcement and a new designated code enforcement officer, as well as an additional $18,000 for nuisance abatement, the hope is that staff can enforce the city’s rules and make Cheyenne a more beautiful place to live.

"What this will allow is for us to address those zoning violations — the landscaping issues, the problems that we see in the community that are on our major corridors and in our major shopping districts — so we could be the initiator of laws to help beautify and better the community,” Planning and Development Director Charles Bloom said during a budget hearing.

However, the city did not reach a solution for its Cheyenne Animal Shelter contract, because they are working out an alternative path forward.

The city proposed $675,000 for the shelter, but Shelter Board Vice President Richard Mincer said the board decided they needed $850,000 for fiscal year 2022 in order to continue forward with the contract, due to the costs of service and operations. Still, no action was made by the council to change that level of funding.

In a letter to Collins, Mincer said the shelter would work with the city to initiate a smooth transition of services, and Mayor Patrick Collins said the city was currently working on finding the best path forward for both sides. He said one option they’re looking at is a hybrid model, but that they’re doing more research on how other cities handle animal sheltering and control.

"They've given us some time, and we need to understand what those options are — Is there a hybrid model? What can we do to make this work for both sides?" Collins said after Wednesday's meeting. "Our police department and other folks are reaching out to find out what other communities are doing, how they're doing it, what does that cost, and we'll figure out what the best way to promote the animal shelter and the city is going forward."

Water, sewer rate increases approved

After rates were frozen last year during the pandemic, the council on Monday approved 5% water and sewer rate increases that will go into effect Jan. 1. The increases will help fund Board of Public Utilities operations and any unforeseen costs, as the utility is paid for solely by rates and fees, not taxes.

“As the city of Cheyenne grows, infrastructure needs to be expanded. We also need to be able to maintain the level of services for the incoming influx of people into Cheyenne,” BOPU Administrative and Public Affairs Coordinator Erin Lamb said. “For the most part, our water and sewer rates are invested back into the construction and maintenance of the water and sewer systems.”

For the average residential customer using 6,000 gallons of water, that will translate into a 22 cent increase each month – from $4.42 to $4.64. On the commercial end, monthly water rates per 1,000 gallons will increase from $5.08 to $5.33.

The monthly fee for ¾-inch and 1-inch water meters will also increase from $6.12 to $6.43, after receiving council approval.

For sewer services, both commercial and residential rates per 1,000 gallons will increase from $5.15 to $5.41 each month. Those with 5/8 inch and 3/4 inch meters will also see a monthly service fee increase from $5.23 to $5.49.

Other increases for 2022 include:

  • Increasing late payment penalties from $3 to $3.15
  • Increasing water service reconnection/disconnection fees from $34.10 to $35.81
  • Increasing septic waste dump rates for up to 100 gallons of waste from $10.50 to $11.03
  • Increasing commercial water system development fees from $7,630 to $8,011
  • Increasing single-family residents’ water system development fees with a ¾ inch meter from $8,670 to $9,103

Margaret Austin is the Wyoming Tribune Eagle’s local government reporter. She can be reached at maustin@wyomingnews.com or 307-633-3152. Follow her on Twitter at @MargaretMAustin.

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