City Council gets update on utility round-up plans, changes for parks, cemetery

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By Crystal Nelson

BRIGHTON — City Council received an overview of projects that will be coming before them throughout the year during its 11 meeting.

Directors from the Finance, Budget and Policy, Streets and Fleet, and Parks and Recreation departments took their turn highlighting projects they hope to move forward with this year.


Utility Round-up

Finance Director Dan Frelund said the city is still working to get the new utility billing system in place before it can get the utility round-up program up and running, which could be as soon as the second quarter. He said there are also some administrative things that need to be put in place to make sure residents would be eligible for the program

City Manager Manuel Esquibel said the program is similar to United Power’s Round-up Program. Through United Power’s program, customers are able to round their payment up to the nearest dollar and provide assistance to community organizations and families who are struggling to pay their bills. Esquibel said council has set aside $25,000 to start a round-up program in the city.

“I sit on the United Power Round-up Board and it’s powerful,” Councilman Ken Kreutzer said. “And the amount of dollars coming in is incredible, and the amount of good you do with it is just mind-boggling.” 


South Main Street & Highway 85 alignment

Work on the South Main Street and Highway 85 alignment is well underway.

“Right now if you drive by Main and Bromley, you’ll see that we’re excavating a lot of that old landfill,” Streets and Fleet Director Joe Smith told council members, adding that as soon as the excavation is done they will start building it back up with a base on top of the work. 

Smith said the biggest part of the project will be working on Bromley Lane, but that particular part of the project won’t start for a few more months. 

Management Plan 

Parks and Recreation Director Gary Wardle said the Cemetery Management Plan is slated to come before council during its Feb. 25 study session. He said the city would like to make the cemetery’s operations into more of an enterprise fund. 

Wardle said the city has selected a new cemetery manager who is expected to start with the city later this month. In addition to a lot of experience with cemeteries, the new manager has marketing experience, which was something the city was particularly interested in. 


Parks and Recreation Facilities Plan

Wardle said the city has a lot of recreation needs and that they will be conducting a study to identify all of the needs within the city, prioritize those needs and identify some costs as well. He said the Eagle View Adult Center still has plans to add a fitness center and pool, and that the Rec Center could use an expansion, as it’s operating about its capacity.

“You go there at 5 o’clock on any night and most of the time people leave because the place is full....We’re starting to see a lot of use and you’ll probably start hearing from some of the residents about how full it is,” he said. 

Additional needs include the expansion of the water park, soccer complex and more basketball courts to accommodate about 700 kids in the city’s basketball program.


Ken Mitchell Plan

The Parks and Recreation Department will be drafting another master plan for Ken Mitchell Park. Wardle said the last master plan was drafted in 2006 and that there have been a lot of changes made since then. He said a bid for the plan will come before council in April and that the department will be holding neighborhood meetings during the summer to finalize what that master plan will look like.  


Bike Brighton

The Bike Brighton Subcommittee is working to make Brighton the Saturday-night stop for cyclists participating in Pedal the Plains, a three-day bike tour of the state’s eastern plains.

Wardle said the process is “pretty political,” but that they’ve submitted an application to be the Saturday stop where bikers could spend the night and participate in a party before heading off to their next location. He said they’re expecting a response within the next three weeks or so.