Happy Birthday America! Today is your 238th birthday. The Fourth of July is always a fun holiday and I hope that you are celebrating. The Lions Club will be hosting all day events in Vesco Park that will culminate with beautiful fireworks for everyone to enjoy. The list of activities will keep anyone busy all day playing games and of course eating at the Taste of the Town. When you are wandering around the park, check out our Pickle Ball court on the east side of the swimming pool. This is a sport for every age level. Another activity to enjoy.

City hall has remained very busy these last few weeks. We have completed the negotiation process with our employees. This is really a very interesting process as it allows both employees and management the opportunity to express their concerns, which include not only salary but also working conditions. It gives me a new perspective as my involvement in business came from management dictating the salaries based on economics and one's ability to succeed in their job. In government, however, any change is applied to all equally. I do appreciate our city employees for working with us for a successful negotiation. This year both associations agreed to a two year contract. Our city is fortunate to have great communication between management and employees.

Our final budget for the 2014-2015 fiscal year has been submitted and we are ready to make a positive impact on what needs to be accomplished this next year. We will be tackling another major project this coming year. Although our sewer has adequate capacity and is still operating property, the system is 50 plus years old and the State DEP is looking for us to update our system and have a new operation plan by the end of 2015. The council had a sewer workshop a couple of weeks ago to look at all of the options available. We are now considering a mechanical treatment plant to replace our current lagoon based plant. The benefits are really long term as it would meet all of the current requirement of the NDEP as well as provide for a system that should take care of our community for the next 50 years. We will need to do financing for the project as we have only about $8 million in our sewer fund. However if we don't go ahead now, we know that the price will only increase and we would have to spend over $10 million to upgrade the current system which still might not satisfy NDEP for more than five years.

The city has been very conservative and has operated very economically over the last decade. We have paid cash for all of our projects and been able to provide long term improvements. The sewer project will be the first project in many years (since the North side water system) that will need financing. Our management team has worked hard to improve the city's infrastructure and position us for the future.

Our city recreation department is in full swing with their summer events. There is swimming at both Sage Height pool and Bode Howard pool. The junior golf program is on Wednesdays at the golf course for ages 10 and up. The children's summer reading program is going strong at the library and the Missoula Children's Theater has already had one presentation. There is dance and day camp as well as youth football and soccer. The Nevada Outdoor School's summer camp and outdoor events run through the summer. The car enthusiast will enjoy the racing events at the speedways on Friday and Saturday nights. Thursday Kruise night, the wine walk and the Farmer's Market is once again downtown on Thursday late afternoons. Fifties Fever is also just around the corner and the town will go retro by five plus decades. The summer is full of community activities so don't be left out.

I would like to conclude by reiterating that communication is the key to success. I would like to keep you apprised of projects, issues, and general information regarding the city and my representation as your mayor. I do appreciate the comment as your input and communication is what makes everything work. Please feel free to call or email me at ladydi@winnemucca.net. My door is always open.

Mayor Di An Putnam writes a monthly column for the Sun.