City pleased with budget outcome

Funding for local government will leave Sundance whole, says mayor
By Sarah Pridgeon
After weeks of debate, the House and Senate finally came to an agreement on local government funding last week that will not only see cities and counties receive the $105 million hoped for, but also adjusts the way distribution of that funding is handled.
“We were given a moratorium by the Legislature: don’t hire people, don’t give raises and, in fact, they may have to cut next year if the CREG reports don’t stay up,” said Mayor Paul Brooks.
“But it leaves us whole.”
Introduced by Representative Mike Madden, the new distribution formula ensures that counties rich in minerals receive less funding than those without that revenue from energy. According to Brooks, Sundance was instrumental in developing the formula after the mayor brought the issue up to Madden and explained that the old formula for providing hardship funds to cities and counties that fall under a certain limit was hard for small towns to work with.
“One of the arguments we’ve had for a very long time is that it puts a hardship on you when you lose hardship,” said Brooks.
In other words, when a city’s sales tax per capita or a county’s assessed value per capita tips very slightly over that limit, the entity loses a significant chunk of funding from the state. The intention of the new formula, he said, is to tackle the problem of towns coming out of hardship and losing that boost.
“[The mayor] actually started the cry for small towns but then it went like wildfire and it was a huge subject down at the Wyoming Association of Municipalities,” said Clerk Treasurer Kathy Lenz.
Enrolled Act 54 will appropriate $105 million for cities, towns and counties, with $68 million for municipalities and $37 million for counties. The inclusion of the Madden formula placed Sundance $25,000 ahead of the funding it expected, said Lenz.