Diamondville council holds workshop session

The Diamondville Town Council held a council workshop session on Monday, Oct. 30. No deicisons were made at the session; it was a discussion meeting.

The council discussed possible grant applications, a sixth penny tax, and revisited the idea of combining Kemmerer and Diamondville police departments.

Grant ideas included a new fence and sprinkler system at Miner’s Park in Diamondville.

Workshop attendees and council members also mentioned that they would like to see more improvements at the fishing pond. Mayor Eric Backman reminded the council of the $1500 Dominion Energy grant the town received in October. The grant will likely be used to plant trees at the fishing pond after the winter.

The council also discussed the county’s interest in a possible 6th penny tax. This tax was discussed at a recent WAM regional meeting, which was attended by Diamondville council members Kathy Stukel and Clint Bowen.

Kemmerer City Administrator Andrew Nelson was present at the workshop meeting. He had presented about the 6th penny tax at the WAM meeting.

“This tax would help county projects like roads and parks, and it would benefit each community,” Nelson said.

“It was interesting to see the other communities that would like to see roads fixed in all of Lincoln County, not just in their own communities,” Stukel said.    

“The projected revenue from this tax is between $15.4 and $16 million countywide,” Nelson said. “Municipal governments and county commissioners must pass a resolution stating what the tax will be used for, and then it is placed on the ballot for the public to vote on. Once the project is funded, the tax goes away.”

The next discussion item was the merging of Kemmerer and Diamondville police departments.

There was a miscommunication at the Oct. 30 workshop, however. Diamondville council members had expected the Kemmerer Police Department or council to present a pro/con list for merging the departments; Mayor Backman cleared this up by stating that the Kemmerer council “wasn’t formally invited to present anything at the workshop;” any Kemmerer council members present were just there to listen.

Chief Thompson said the “only benefit of combining the police departments would be 24-hour coverage, which is not quite necessary because our response time is very quick, and the community seems content. We don’t have to merge to help each other out.”

All the Diamondville council members agreed that they did not want to discuss the issue further.

“I don’t think we should drag it out any more,” Councilwoman Megan Hansen said.

Andrew Nelson said a mutual aid agreement (which details how the departments work together while still remaining separate entities) is on the city attorney’s desk and should be coming to council soon.

“We just wanted to have the conversation,” Nelson said after the meeting. The intent is to save taxpayers money, but I appreciate the council’s time and consideration. For now, it sounds like both towns have their answer.”