Laramie City Council to Vote on Budget Amendments
The Laramie City Council will make some tough budget decisions during their regular meeting tomorrow night.
Councilors will consider a resolution to amend the city’s budget in light of a steep decline in state-shared revenue, which was expected to be reduced by 43 percent. The city recently learned the state-shared revenue would be cut by another $500,000 for the current fiscal year.
Laramie Mayor Andrea Summerville said the city council had a special meeting regarding the unexpected hit and the impacts it would have. She said the city discussed holding off on some planned projects, such as the planned additions to Scout Park. Summerville said some staff positions currently vacant may also go unfilled.
“We talked a lot about what impact that would have in budget savings and what impact that would have on the residents,” Summerville said.
Summerville expects the conversation in tomorrow’s meeting will revolve around what the budget reduction will do in terms of loss of services.
“There’s discussion about eight positions that we potentially wouldn’t fill that would impact alley-grading operations, storm water maintenance, a lot of those things,” Summerville said.
Summerville said the budget cuts would affect other services such as road maintenance and possibly snow plow operations. Summerville said that the discussion, while unpleasant, is necessary.
“We do have to bring the budget in line, the $500,000 we lost in revenue is for fiscal year 2018 that we are currently in, so we have to make budget modifications.”
Summerville hopes that the current fiscal situation will help the City of Laramie become more efficient and self-reliant.
“I think it’s a really good chance for the city of Laramie to examine its processes, examine its personnel – where we have people staffed, why we have people staffed- where we’re spending money and to really streamline those processes,” Summerville said.
The budget cuts will also push Laramie to look outside of the box for solutions to the budget crunch, Summerville said. She said Laramie is not a rich city and with the second lowest per-capita sales tax collection in the state in a poor county in general.
“Laramie has always been scrappy, we write grants whenever possible, but this has really pushed the envelope to really look outside of those traditional boxes,” she said. “If you can’t go to the SLIB [State Loan and Investment] Board for a grant or you can’t go to the Business Council for a grant or other traditional grant-funding partners, where else do you go? How do you fund those services?”
Summerville said she hopes the City of Laramie will come out of the budget shortfalls a stronger entity.
The City Council meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. in the City Council chambers.