SHERIDAN — Sheridan City Council and Mayor Roger Miller heard budget updates and passed resolutions to help move Sheridan businesses and projects forward. 

Budget on track

With the exception of weather-related and public benefit funds, the city of Sheridan’s six-month budget report remains solid, with most revenue totals reaching right around or above 50 percent for the current fiscal year. Golf and weed and pest funds plan on continuing positive numbers once snow begins to melt. Golf sits at 35.4 percent of its 2017 fiscal year budget and Weed and Pest clocked in 28.5 percent after six months. Finance and administrative director Jim Harmon said weed and pest numbers are based on property taxes and carry over, while the golf fund’s low numbers are due to snow. Both look to catch up in upcoming months.

Snow removal updates

Snow and ice control sped through 62 percent of the annual budget and officials anticipate possibly going over budget due to heavy snowfall totals this season.

“The slide says snow and ice control, but we certainly do not have control of the snow and ice,” Public Works Director Nic Bateson joked.

During snowstorms, crews work around the clock. On clear days, crews remain available 20 hours per day. The cost for snow removal remains lower than in the past as crews continue to work more efficiently and strategically with up-to-date equipment.

Bateson said over-burdened snow sites are the biggest challenges for snow removal teams.

The city does not pay for dump sites but created relationships with private land owners who allow the city to pile snow onto parts of their land. The city tests soils before and after to make sure the snow is not negatively impacting the landowner’s soil. Dumping snow on sites outside of city limits, though, makes costs rise.

If snow removal exceeds the budgeted amount of $449,500 for the fiscal year, Bateson said the department will reallocate other funds within the general fund and continue to monitor the costs.

Bateson also brought up frequently asked questions, one of them being “why is my street not getting plowed?”

He said residential areas, if plowed, have no place to conveniently put snow drifts, as pushing it to the curb prevents street parking, makes mail delivery difficult and often freezes storm systems. The city appreciates feedback and will work to maintain rutting and prevent dangerous road conditions.

Resolution approvals

The Sheridan City Council approved three major resolutions involving money to be spent to improve downtown businesses and the North Sheridan Interchange project.

The first resolution continued the Downtown Building Permit Incentive Program for $50,000.

The program waives fees up to $5,000 for businesses and buildings looking to build or renovate in the downtown Sheridan area, reaching beyond Main Street to encompass the railroad district, up to Fifth Street and down to Coffeen Avene.

Initially, the program reached out to those looking to remodel only, but this year will extend to businesses looking to build as well. Downtown Sheridan Association Executive Director Beth Holsinger spoke highly of the program, noting DSA’s improvements completed through the program and offering design consulting and small business loans to help motivate businesses to use the city’s program.

Council approved the second two resolutions regarding applications for state revolving fund grants for the North Sheridan Interchange.

The clean water grant delegated for sewer maintenance would total $1,306,000. The drinking water grant for a water main would total $931,000. If the applications are accepted, both grants would have a 2.5 percent interest rate over 20 years with a requested principal forgiveness of 25 percent.

Utilities Director Dan Roberts said the city does not base its budget on the expectation of receiving the principal forgiveness, but instead considers it extra help if approved.

The utilities department also looks to supplement the project with recoup fees, water and sewer fund revenues once the facilities are in place, and additional grants to help pay back the debts as quickly as possible.

Blood drive competition

Junior Council members encouraged everyone to attend Wednesday’s blood drive at Sheridan High School in the gymnasium. SHS is in friendly competition against Gillette to see who provides the most from the drive. The students added the incentive that donors will receive a free T-shirt.

City Council members also approved:

• two use permits for the No Name Bar, Tyler Bennett for a fundraiser on 305 Broadway St. for Feb. 11 and March 11.

• budget resolution No. 03-17, detailing fiscal year 2017 budget revision adjustments.