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Casper City Council

Casper City Council members listen to a presentation during an October work session at City Hall.

Since taking his place at Casper’s helm, City Manager Carter Napier has been thorough in his quest to reduce city spending. Casper’s budget needed help when the city hired Napier, and he’s following through on the job he was tasked with.One place he’s looking to trim the fat is the general fund, which allots money to various community groups. It’s important that that money is evaluated, but it’s also important that Napier and the Council remember the intrinsic value some organizations bring to the community.

The city needs streets and police officers and firefighters. But it also needs quality of life services.

Organizations like the Platte River Trails Trust are valuable to the community, and they should get the funds they need to remain operational. However, they already receive money from the 1-cent funds. So it’s right for the Council to reconsider whether they should also get an allotment from the general fund.

Additionally, “pass-through” groups, like the Community Action Partnership, receive money from the city’s general fund and then redistribute it to other various groups in the city. We agree with Napier that this should stop. The groups getting funds from pass-through organizations can apply for 1-cent or general fund money for themselves. And that way the city has more control over who’s benefiting from the money.

Napier’s proposals would reduce the amount of general fund money given to non-city groups to $540,000 from the $803,636 spent last year. That cut isn’t terribly huge, and it still leaves a significant chunk for the Council to allot as it sees fit. By cutting out pass-through organizations, the Council can ensure that money is going where it’s needed.

We know it hasn’t been easy for Napier to try to balance the budget without reducing quality of life for Casper residents. And we know that there will have to be sacrifices made. But it’s promising that he’s taking a hard look anywhere there may be excess.

His goal is to reduce the city’s dependence on state money, which can fluctuate wildly based on the state’s economic condition. We’re hopeful that his work to foster Casper’s economic independence will bear fruit for generations to come.

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