CASPER, Wyo. — The City of Casper is considering the major construction projects, fleet purchases and durable goods it will prioritize in the coming fiscal years.
The city’s plan calls for about $45,304,569 in capital spending between July 2023 and June 2024. The full budget, including personnel and operations, is expected to pass in June.
City Manager Cartier Napier noted at a City Hall work session Tuesday that the budget only uses “cash on hand or grant commitments we are pursuing.” An exception is noted below.
Napier also noted that department heads had identified many requests of demonstrable need; none of the items that made the cut are “niceties,” he said.
The biggest item is the renovation of the Casper Business Center, which the city purchased last year to house the Casper Police Department. An architect was contracted to repurpose the office space to suit a modern police headquarters.
Full renovation is expected to cost $20 million. About $12 million of that would be CARES and ARPA funds, the city plan said. About $5.6 million would come from the Opportunity Fund, which consists of surplus one-cent funds generated from 2011 to 2014, when Casper’s economy was “particularly strong,” the city notes.
“This Opportunity fund seems like it’s saving us as far as building the new police department,” Councilor Kyle Gamroth said. “If this fund was never created in the first place, how would we make a project like this happen?”
The remaining $2.1 million would come from capital reserves, made up of interest from capital fund investments and previous project surpluses, the memo notes.
The plan also calls for $1,362,460 to trade in 13 police vehicles and a Metro Animal Control truck for new units. Casper Police Chief Keith McPheeters explained that at least 40 of the 80 active marked units were purchased in 2013, and many “are reaching lemon status.” He said the lifespan of an active police vehicle is about seven years.
Casper Fire Chief Jacob Black reviewed Station 3’s need for a new roof. The department is also requesting $150K to replace 15-year-old hydraulic extrication equipment, which is limping along after being out of service for several months, according to the line item description.
The plan calls for about $3,684,950 in street repairs, including over a million each to two projects:
- K Street from St. Mary to Bryan Stock Trail
- Bryan Evansville Road
Public Services Director Andrew Beamer added that Midwest Avenue repairs — one of the projects officials tried to support with the defeated sixth-cent proposal in 2021 — was also on the list. The plan also includes the city’s proposed stake in improving the Westridge neighborhood infrastructure.
Parks, Rec, and Leisure
Zulima Lopez, director of the city’s Parks, Recreation, and Leisure Services Division, explained her department’s two biggest items: a new Aquatic Center roof and the first phase of the Washington Park Revival Project.
The $1,864,000 for the Aquatic Center roof would come from a low-interest State Loan and Investment Board loan to be paid back from incoming one-cent revenue. Napier estimated the optional tax will generate about $4 million a year.
Lopez said the city had likely been approved for $570,964 in Land and Water Conservation Fund grant money for upgrades to the Washington Park ball field. With the city’s one-to-one match, about $1.4 million would be spent on parking lot and lighting pole improvement. The bathrooms, which have been shuttered for years, would also be renovated, Lopez said.
Two of the tennis courts could also be converted to pickleball courts. The sport is growing in popularity with the community, Lopez said.
Water and Solid Waste
The memo notes that the city’s Waste Water Treatment Plant Motor Control Center is aging. Replacing it will cost about $3.5 million. The plan notes that $2 million would come from ARPA funds administered through a State Loan and investment Board grant. The remaining $1.5 million would come from the plant’s operational budget.
About $3.7 million is earmarked for the solid waste fleet, including five garbage trucks, a container truck, an excavator and a compactor.
The solid waste division is also asking for $12k to replace a 17-year-old power washer at the landfill. Prompted by Councilor Gamroth, Public Service Director Andrew Beamer explained that the city will sometimes bring fouled residential and commercial bins to the Container Management Building, where they are power cleaned in a unit like a dishwasher.
“I can tell you something,” Beamer said, “you don’t know what is put into these trash cans.”
The plan also looks ahead to future purchases. Hogadon Ski Basin is requesting $4.2 million for a new quad chair lift. Repairs at the Fort Caspar museum over the next five years are expected to cost $5.3 million.
The full spending plan, including line-item descriptions, is available here or below: