The Saratoga Sun -

Riverside council in the books

 


Riverside Town Council passed its budget on Thursday, discussed impediments to the Chokecherry/Sierra Madre wind farm and committed $500 to the Encampment-Riverside Branch of the Carbon County Library to help offset massive cuts in library funding.

The library discussion took up the bulk of the council’s time. On June 2 at a meeting of the Carbon County Library System Board (CCLSB), a budget cut of 30 percent was announced. At that meeting, the CCLSB said that the Encampment-Riverside branch would face reductions in service hours, from 20 hours per week to 15.

The members of the Riverside council discussed the cuts to the library and the hours for the Encampment-Riverside branch, and decided to set aside $500 to grant to the library system to help keep the branch open.

But there were questions about how such a donation would work. Most donations to the CCLSB are added to the CCLSB’s general fund and may be used to cover expenses elsewhere. Jan Cook, town clerk, said that officials in neighboring Encampment proposed the idea of establishing a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization that would allow both towns to pool resources and ensure that those funds are used only to support operations at the Encampment-Riverside branch.

The council set aside $500 for the library in its budget, and said the money will be paid once there is a solution to ensure the money is spent on the local branch. The budget for the fiscal year was approved with funding for the library earmarked.

Council members discussed mosquito abatement as summer rolled into the Valley. Of particular note was spraying for the upcoming Woodchopper’s Jamboree and the need to spray on private property near the Bear Trap. Margaret Weber, owner of the Bear Trap and council member, abstained from voting but offered to reimburse the town for the minutes of time it would take to spray her property in advance of crowds expected during the Jamboree.

The Riverside council also briefly discussed the proposed Chockcherry/Sierra Madre wind farm which has been proposed by the Power Company of Wyoming (PCW).

Council member Fred Lorenz attended the Carbon County Council of Governments (CCOG) meeting held in May and informed the board of a potential impediment to the wind farm’s construction. The state legislature’s revenue committee suggested increasing the tax on wind energy.

“They said ‘if it kills the project, it kills the project,’” Lorenz said. “That’s the attitude they had.”

Lorenz added that prior to that announcement by the revenue committee, PCW said it would begin construction on the first phases of the project by the beginning of next year, but the uncertainty wrought by the revenue committee’s proposal could possibly lead PCW to cancel the project.

“We’re talking millions and millions in proposed tax revenue for Carbon County, much less the state,” he said. “And it’s hanging right now, that’s what it boils down to.”

The next Riverside Town Council meeting is 6 p.m., July 14 at Riverside Town Hall.

 

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