Cheyenne Mayor: No Excuses for Pothole Problem
Cheyenne Mayor Patrick Collins says there are no excuses for the city's pothole problem, the city simply hasn't been doing the basic maintenance required to keep its 350 miles of roads in good shape.
"Our Street and Alley crews are working so hard to patch the potholes, but they do not control the required maintenance of crack filling, sealing the roads, and milling and overlays," Collins said Friday in his Mayor's Minute column.
Currently, $4.5 million in 5th penny money goes to roads each year, but Collins says it's not enough to stabilize them.
"You will see a $14 million dollar item on the next 6th penny sales tax to supplement our maintenance efforts," he said. "Staff tells me we need to make this kind of effort over the next decade to reach every street in Cheyenne."
The Mayor’s Minute from Mayor Patrick Collins – May 14th
CHEYENNE – Monday was a City Council Meeting day. We meet the second and fourth Monday of each month. A City Council member and I meet at KFBC radio station the morning of a Council Meeting to talk with Reece Monaco to discuss the agenda and topics of the day. I really enjoy the experience of talking with the callers and those that text. A few hours later I was on KRAE radio who started a new program, and I was fortunate to be their first guest. Two generations of the Proietti family made the interview fun.
We have had budget meetings all this week between our department directors and the City Council. The staff has been brilliant is sharing the needs of their departments and what we were able to fund in the budget. I have heard very clearly some areas the Council wants to fund. Now comes the hard part of making the revenues and expenditures match.
I met with Jan Spires from Youth Alternatives, and Emily Lucero the chair of the Mayor’s Youth Council (MYC). Emily has been the chair for the past two years and has done a great job. She is graduating and headed to the University of Wyoming. The reason we met was to pick next year’s Youth Council members. I signed the letters offering them membership and cannot wait to work with them during the next school year.
Tuesday, I met with a paving contactor that does business with the city. Running a small business is hard, but we are making it harder by holding what is called retainage for months after a project is finished. We have been holding $56,000 since August on projects long ago finished. Another thing to put into my “things that have to get done file”. I think being a small business owner makes me more empathetic to his pain.
This week has been a busy speaking week for me. Tuesday I was honored to meet with the Cheyenne Rotary After Hours Club. Cheyenne Rotary does amazing work in our community and I enjoyed the opportunity. Wednesday morning, I was invited to speak at the opening of the Wyoming Business Council board meeting. I shared my thanks for all that the Business Council does to make Cheyenne and Wyoming successful. Thursday morning at 7:30 I was invited to open the Wyoming Trucking Association annual convention. What many of you do not know about me is I am not a morning person. Amazing how many groups pick the start of their workday to coincide with the sunrise!
This group has spent the last 81 years working to make our roads and their industry safer. It was so nice to be out and with people again. Thank goodness for the vaccines.
During the last legislative session, questions came up regarding water in Wyoming. Senator Affie Ellis reached out to me to find out if any of these discussions would affect Cheyenne and our water supply. Thursday, we spent a couple of hours together with our Board of Public Utilities (BOPU) going over our whole system so the Senator will be able to help protect our water supply. I appreciate Senator Ellis reaching out and showing interest in this issue.
Thursday morning, we had a Department Director’s meeting. I love standing outside my conference room and listening to the animated conversations going on in the room. They like each other and work so well together. Through this budget process, 6th Penny Sales Tax conversations, and the day-to-day work life they communicate and get the work done for all of us. I could not be prouder of a group of people. Shoutout to former Mayor Marian Orr, she hired some of these folks and I love them.
Thursday evening, I had dinner with General John Allen Jr., Commander of the Air Force Civil Engineer Center. He was here regarding the new missile upgrade coming to our base. We had the opportunity to talk about the need for housing for the Airmen and our community. It was great to talk with the Air Force leader in building infrastructure and know he understands and is supportive in helping solve our housing crisis. The Bunk House on Happy Jack Road did an amazing job of feeding us, thanks Vicki for the great service.
Friday morning, I met with members of the Laramie County Community College (LCCC) Booster Club. They are excited with COVID-19 restrictions ending to get our community out to the college to support their athletic teams and athletes. I am looking forward to the fall when school starts so I can go out to a game and support our teams.
Our question this week comes from Ted Durante. He writes, “Mr. Mayor, I have never seen so many potholes in our main primary streets. What is the plan?”
Ted, thanks for the question and teeing up my response. No excuses, as a city we just have not been doing the basic maintenance required to keep our roads in good shape. Our Street and Alley crews are working so hard to patch the potholes, but they do not control the required maintenance of crack filling, sealing the roads, and milling and overlays. Street and Alley has ordered a second patch truck, (it should be here any day) and they can put an additional seven pickup trucks on the street with a bagged patch mix that we have found works well.
You can help us by reporting potholes by filling out our pothole form at www.cheyennecity.org/ReportaConcern. Currently, we invest $4.5 million a year from the 5th penny sales tax to roads. It is just not enough to stabilize our 350 miles of roadways. You will see a $14 million dollar item on the next 6th penny sales tax to supplement our maintenance efforts to do the crack filling, sealing, and overlays to get the roads back in good shape. Our city staff tells me we need to make this kind of effort over the next decade to reach every street in Cheyenne and make the difference you are talking about.
If you have a question for me, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll continue to answer them in my following Mayor’s Minute column.
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