Ask the Administrator

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Here are the answers to the questions that were asked in the October 2018 "Ask the Administrator" Facebook session. 

When is the city or whoever is responsible going to finish widening Boxelder between 4J and the curve????? That old road is falling apart... 
We are hoping to get this repaired or replaced in the next 2-3 years.  The best case scenario is construction in 2021.

Is there any way to fix drainage issues in a finished subdivision? In my cul de sac the drainage is on the opposite side of my house but all the water pools in my driveway and in the winter it causes a hazard.
I think in order to address this in more detail, you should plan on visiting with our Engineering Division.  Generally, the City is responsible for the movement of water once it is in the gutter, street, and stormwater system.  When a subdivision is created, drainage from the homes is addressed in the development plans.  However, as homeowners landscape their property, they often change the contour of their property and create negative drainage.  This is a common occurrence and is often the cause of water draining in the wrong direction.  In these instances, we cannot assist in "fixing" the drainage on private property, but we may be able to provide some suggestions.  

What is the city planning at the Burma/Warlow intersection? We are seeing utility markings/flags.  
Black Hills Energy will be making improvements to its infrastructure at that intersection. In conjunction with that project, the City will be removing a small section of overhead power lines and moving them underground.
 
What is the process to have the city allocate more funds to our recycling program so they can accept more types of materials? Is it in the works to add blue dumpsters to the homes that pay for curbside? Our wind makes it hard to keep lighter bags and cardboard in place.
Technically, the City does not engage in the recycling program.  We have entered into an agreement with a private contractor to assist in the pick up of recycling.  The extra fee that is assessed for recycling is used to offset the costs of the private contractor.  It is important to remember that when we are addressing recycling, it is a financial loss for the City in all instances.  The City is too far from any regional recycling center or any financial market for recycled goods to ever make the program self-sufficient within the City.  Consequently, the City cannot generally justify additional expenses for the program whether it be for additional types of materials or to expand to blue dumpsters.  The private contractor might be able to do so, but not without considerable expense which would need to be passed directly onto the customer.
 
What’s going on at the old landfill with all the dirt work?  
The old landfill is owned by Campbell County, and so they may be able to provide a better response.  However, the short answer is that old landfills are generally required to be lined and ultimately sealed to prevent water from leaking into and out of the retired/abandoned landfill.  In this case, the County is in the process of putting a cover over the landfill in order to comply with State and Federal law, but more importantly, to protect the citizens and the environment.
 
What do I need to do to get the city to activate the Christmas lights earlier than normal?  
Ordinarily, the lights are installed and turned on around Thanksgiving Day. Turning the lights on earlier in the season is a matter of installation time. The City largely uses independent contractors to assist in this matter. They have other clients they serve as well so it becomes difficult to put demands on our contractor. The reason we have chosen to extend the time we keep them up is that it costs no extra to extend the season, and at some point, the lights have to come down anyway. However, getting them up sooner is the concern. By the way, not everyone approves of the lights and adamantly object to them. The overall costs for the low wattage LED lights to be lit over the holidays is about $300/month. A relatively minor expense for the community.  
 
A year ago I asked about re-introducing the idea of public transportation in Gillette and you said it wasn't a good time with the economy the way it was. Is this year a better time to start those conversations again?  
Public transportation is always going to be a difficult conversation.  It is simply uneconomical to run a transportation system in such a small community.  Additionally, the City has to determine why the request is being made?  Is it for convenience, the lack of personal vehicles, costs less than driving your own vehicle, avoid the stress of driving on congested roads, it is better for the environment or some other consideration?  Statistically, ridership tends to increase with City size, with a community of 250,000 citizens being the starting of most analysis.  With a population of 250,000, about 1.4% of the community will take public transportation at least ONCE a month.  In the case of Gillette that would be about 300 individual rides per month or about 10 passengers per day.  When looking at the overall expenses involved, it remains difficult to justify the expense, particularly when the data indicates that it cannot and will not pay for itself.  A very good study may be found at www.vtpi.org/tranben.pdf.  Any analysis must also be weighed in terms of the rideshare businesses such as Uber, as well as the bus run by the Senior Citizen Center.  It simply does not appear to make sense financially.