The Casper City Council hopes to fill its vacancy the first week of August, council members agreed during a July 9 work session.
Chris Walsh resigned from the council last week to take a job in Douglas. Now the council must fill that opening, and they hope to do so sooner rather than later.
“If we look at the time frame, we still need to have nine members as often as we can,” Councilman Bob Hopkins said.
The council opted to use the same mechanism it has used in the past for similar situations. The council will seek applications from interested parties and then will hold a special meeting to interview those candidates.
Anyone living in Ward 3, or east Casper, is able to apply. The council began accepting those applications July 10, and applications are due by July 19.
Once the applications are filed, the council will publicize the names and then take input from Ward 3 residents on which candidate they favor. The council will consider that input when selecting a candidate.
Casper City Council will select its new member 4:30 p.m. Aug. 5 during a special meeting, which will be open to the public. Council members will ask each candidate a pre-written set of questions. After each candidate has answered the questions, the council will go into executive session to make its decision, which they will do the same day as the interviews.
The last time council had to go through this process was when now-former Councilman Dallas Laird joined the council in 2017 to replace Todd Murphy.
New art collection
In other City Council news, members had a preliminary discussion on what to do with a large art collection in the city’s possession.
Casper obtained the collection, historical items from the 1920s Tripeny Drug Store that used to sit on Center Street, in February under the condition that the collection be displayed in full at Fort Caspar Museum by January 2022.
Making room in the museum to house the collection will cost anywhere from $250,000 to $900,000, depending on the funding the Fort Caspar Museum Association can gather.
The $250,000 figure is based on the cost to redesign an existing multi-purpose room in the museum. The $900,000 figure would fund a 1,500-square-foot expansion.
The museum association has pledged to raise funds but is also looking for city support.
Councilman Kenneth Bates was in favor of supporting the whole cost of expansion.
“The more we invest in our museums, it’s going to attract people from all over,” Bates said.
But the rest of the council was more reluctant. Hopkins suggested coming up with a match program but to not commit to the entire cost. Other members of the council agreed with that idea.
City Manager Carter Napier reminded the council this was just a preliminary discussion and that city staff would do more research on exact costs and funding models and bring back a report.