What's the split?

Funds distribution method a focal point at Wyoming Association of Municipalities’ Fall workshop in Saratoga

 


The Wyoming Association of Municipalities (WAM) had their Fall Workshop in Saratoga Nov. 1-3 at the Saratoga Resort and Spa.

On Thursday, at 3:30 p.m. Amanda Sewell, the assistant director of Wyoming State Lands and Investments gave a presentation on the distribution of funds for municipalities.

Megan Eligen, WAM Financial Reporting Manager, had a slideshow presentation going over the 2016 legislative session, cities and towns biennium distribution, per capita sales and use tax and per capita assessed value.

Sewell and Ellgen went over the 63rd 2016 legislative session’s enrolled act No. 54, an act which provides funding to counties, cities and towns. The act also details funding methods appropriation and an effective date.

Ellgen’s presentation said from the legislative stabilization reserve account there is appropriated $105,000,000 to the office of state lands and investments to be allocated and that two thirds of 89 percent of the total amount was to be directed for distribution to cities and towns provided five percent of the amount available be distributed for cities and towns. This would come to a total of $68,075,000.

As the formula was being explained representatives from different municipalities voiced their concerns on perceived inequities. Rick Kaysen, mayor of Cheyenne and director of WAM said he understood the problems faced by some municipalities.

“There was one Senator who said in a recent meeting, ‘We have not had a good distribution formula in Wyoming since the beginning of time,’” Kaysen said. “It has been a struggle.”

Kaysen said on Nov. 6 in Cheyenne the Joint Revenue Committee is meeting to discuss distribution points as the number two item on the agenda.

Mark Collins, city administrator for Sheridan said he thought it was worth consideration to bring in an outside consulting agency to do an analysis of the problem the state faced with distribution for municipalities.

“I am wondering if we are finding ourselves in a circumstance where we need to say bring someone in that is independent and not politically affiliated, that looks at everything, looks at comparisons and so forth, comes back and gives recommendations, otherwise this is a massive undertaking,” said Collins. “Get someone who does a full scale analysis, these are our first, second, third recommendations. We need this type of analysis, because we have been kicking this can down the road a long time.”

Several representatives voiced agreement with Collins.

Kaysen asked if this analysis should be only on a municipal scale.

Collins said that the analysis could include county, all local governments and municipalities.

“When you have someone with this sort of expertise, it would be fruitless not to do it on a global scale because the effect over here, we don’t know will be over there,” Collins said.

He pointed out the Education Department had recently done this.

The meeting adjourned with several attendees feeling Collins’ comments were well timed for Cheyenne to hear on Nov. 6.

 

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