At the April 1st Gillette City Council Meeting, there was plenty of public comment on an ordinance to amend section 17-21 of the Gillette City Code concerning water wasting. Six different citizens took to the microphone and provided mostly concern over the ordinance. Ultimately, the council approved the water wasting ordinance on its third and final reading. Council members Robyn Kuntz and Forest Rothleutner provided the only votes against the ordinance on its third reading.
One development before the third and final vote was the removal of an amendment proposed and approved on the second reading of the ordinance. The amendment, which had been brought forward by Rothleutner, was referred to as the “sunset amendment”. The amendment would have “sunset” the water wasting ordinance once the current Madison Pipeline project is completed.
Gillette Mayor Tom Murphy said the need to remove the ”sunset amendment” was made clear after input from state legislators.
“It's thought that other folks in our state would look at the sun setting of the ordinance as a slap in the face. As if this community doesn’t appreciate the value of water.”---Murphy
Murphy went on to say that the amendment could risk 25 million dollars in funding from grant money. Murphy described that funding as absolutely necessery for the completion of the Madison Water Project by 2016. Kuntz and Rothleutner voted “no” to the removal of the amendment, as well as to the ordinance itself.
“I would just like everyone to note that today in the council chambers, instead of doing what is best by our citizens, we are going to do what looks right to the State of Wyoming.”---Rothleutner
Kuntz followed those comments by saying he had a “real problem” with local legislators showing support for the Field of Dreams project and then useing influence to remove the sunset amendment from the water wasting ordinance. Kuntz told those in attendance that support for the Field of Dreams, and in turn the watering needed to accompany it, sends a message of “do as I say, not as I do” sent to the public.
Councilman Ted Jerred said he felt that the sunset amendment would have sent a message that it would be acceptable to waste water in a few years, which would be the wrong way to go.