After months of uncertainty, Casper’s leaders will soon know much money the city will be receiving from the state Legislature.
A bill that would secure $105 million in state funding for local governments unanimously passed through the House Appropriations Committee this week with no amendments, according to Rick Kaysen, the executive director of the Wyoming Association of Municipalities.
SF 89, which is sponsored by the Joint Appropriations Committee, is now being reviewed by the House.
“At this point and time it looks favorable [to pass],” Kaysen said Thursday.
Although $105 million is the standard amount generally allotted, local leaders are worried this funding might be reduced because the state continues to collect below-average tax revenue due to low energy prices.
“I’m very grateful that the legislators recognize the importance of state assistance with these dollars,” said Kaysen.
City Manager Carter Napier said Friday he’s also enthused by the bill’s progression.
“It seems to be doing well and I certainly hope that support will continue from our House representatives,” he said. “It would be a big hit were the city to lose that support.”
Kaysen previously told the Star-Tribune that securing this funding has been the association’s primary objective throughout the last year.
Wyoming’s local governments have limited means of raising funds, which leave them largely dependent on appropriations from the state.
Kaysen pointed out that municipalities have already been trimming back on expenses due to the economic downturn and said leaders would continue to do so if the money doesn’t come through. He added that the association offers various budgeting workshops and programs to help with these efforts.
Although he acknowledged this suggestion might not be popular, the director said citizens expect their local governments to provide them with certain services, such as fire protection and solid waste management.
“There has to be some type of revenue source [to provide services],” he said.