By Tim Monroe, Cowboy State Daily
There are 99 incorporated cities and towns in Wyoming. One of those towns is Mills, on Casper’s western flank. The town may soon become a city according to Mayor Seth Coleman.
Coleman, a high-energy businessman elected to a 4 -year term in 2018, said Mills may not have a choice in becoming a city.
“We have 2,053 residential water connections due largely to new construction,” Coleman said. “It is estimated that there’s 2.21 people per household so that puts us over the 4,000 people needed to become a city.”
He said there’s also at 66-unit apartment complex in the works that will add considerably more people to the town’s population.
“There’s a difference in many rules between cities and towns,” he said. “Towns deal with their finances with everything in a general fund while first class cities operate with their money in separate, specific accounts.”
The town recently hired a Community Development Director to promote Mills and help guide future growth and community enhancements. Sabrina Foreman has been on the job since early February.
“We want to improve Mills’ sense of community,” Ms. Foreman said. “We’ve hired a consultant to help plan some changes that will chart our future.”
Since Mills enjoys the North Platte River, Foreman said one element of future planning is development of the riverfront to make it an attractive place to view and visit. She also said that part of her job will be to seek grants-in-aid from various sources that will help the town make the consultant’s and town’s plans become reality.
The town acquired the former Mills Elementary School a few years back. It sits idle while officials seek ideas on what the building could be used for.
The mayor said the building needs new wiring and asbestos ceiling and floor tile abatement. The town may issue a request for proposals in the future to seek occupants of the building.
Another ambitious project involves annexation of about 1,000 acres of raw land and developed areas. A local realtor plans a housing development on part of the acreage.
“We already provide water and sewer utilities to that land so it makes sense to bring it into the town,” Coleman said.
Foreman said the town hopes to upgrade all town parks, including Eagle Park and First Street Park. And, they hope to tie in trails from Robertson Road to the North Platte River.
The mayor and Foreman also said they hope the town can build a pair of splash pads for use by residents and visitors. “The David Street Station splash pad is very popular,” he said. “We can also draw lots of people with a couple of those.”
The mayor and town council are also looking at ways to cut red tape out of dealing with the town.
“We can’t make changes through code enforcement actions; we need to make it easier to secure permits and approvals,” he said.
The town has four council members and the mayor who govern the community. A town administrator handles many of the details of running the town but he also serves as public works director; both are full-time jobs, the mayor said. The town has 50-55 employees, depending on seasonal needs.
Foreman previously served as Vice President of Business Development at Advance Casper, the organization that came out of the Casper Area Economic Development Authority.
Mills was once a subdivision of the City of Casper. It became independent in 1921. The community of Mountain View lies next to Mills and was annexed in the 1990’s