Mayor calls Casper's new budget 'best in years' - Casper, WY Oil City News
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Mayor calls Casper’s new budget ‘best in years’

(YouTube, City of Casper)

CASPER, Wyo. — Casper Mayor Charlie Powell says that the new fiscal year 2020 budget “is the best that it has been in years.”

He said the new budget will put Casper in a good position should the community face economic challenges in the future.

The City released a video on Youtube with Powell’s comments on Thursday, June 27.

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The new budget totals about $140 million and details are available in this article.

“It is balanced, it’s not reliant on aggressive revenue projections, and does not burn reserves for operations,” Powell said of the new budget. “In fact the budget provides opportunities to bolster those reserves.”

While Casper’s budget is balanced, surrounding communities faced some challenges establishing a new budget. The Mills Town Council walked back a decision to eliminate the fire department, which was intended to cut back on expenses, before passing their FY 2020 budget.

Evansville’s new budget expenditures outpace the town’s anticipated revenues for the year.

He said that by the end of the fiscal year next summer, the City should meet its goal of having a 120 day operating reserve.

“In our unique local economy, we know we need to plan for a rainy day,” Powell continued. “Whether we see the economy trend up or down in the future our financial planning goal is to ensure that we can provide all essential services over time. That means reserving extra funds we have now to sustain services in the future.”

He added that the new budget will also help Casper become less reliant on direct distribution funding from the state. Casper currently receives $4 million of this type of funding, according to Powell.

“This funding source is at the discretion of the legislature and can not be counted on as a reliable source of funding year after year for our necessary operations,” he said.

Powell also talked about the Optional One Cent Sales Tax which he said 75% of Casper voters voted to renew in 2018.

“These funds allow the City to take on additional projects, especially infrasturcture projects priortitized by you, the community,” he said.

He said that One Cent funds go towards things like street, sewer line, fire stations, police vehicles and recreational amenity projects.

This years budget is focused on street repair, public safety and water and sewer services, the mayor said.

“Keeping this City safe is a mission that we as the Casper City Council take personally,” Powell explained.

He said the new budget invests heavily in recruiting and training police officers and the City is working to put “more officers on our streets and campuses than ever before.”

Powell’s full message can be viewed below: