Photo courtesy of the Office of Mark Gordon.

Gordon presents mostly flat budget with a warning

Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon presented his first budget to the legislature Monday. With the state facing strong economic headwinds, the $3.2 billion flat line proposal staves off any cuts by tapping into the state’s reserves.

Gordon’s two-year fiscal plan beginning July 1st includes no spending increases and no cuts to programs or salaries. It also has little money to spare.

Gordon said the small cushion left over— less that $24 million —will be spread thin.

Also on the horizon, according to the letter the Governor sent to the legislature with the budget proposal, is a “storm” of “significant size and scope” that will require sacrifice.

Gordon said yesterday the dark clouds ahead are the changes happening worldwide in the energy industry.

Click to view the state budget and Gordon’s letter to legislators.

The governor proposes transferring $161 million from the Legislative Stabilization Reserve Account to help fund schools. Another $105 million from the LSRA, or Rainy Day Fund, will go to local governments.

While state programs will be pared any cuts for now, the rush to fund new government buildings will undergo a slowdown. Under the budget proposal, capital construction will take a hit.

The legislature has been on something of binge the last few years building new facilities across the state. The governor said yesterday that the legislature did not account for the cost maintaining of those buildings. School are not included in the slowdown to new construction.

The governor also noted that the state highway department faces a $135 million funding shortfall. As with other income flows, Gordon said the shift to green energy alternatives will impact state highway revenues.

The governor said he asked WYDOT to put together a priorities list to address highway needs in the face of the funding gap. Health care spending also remains neutral because of stagnant and declining revenues.

Further adjustments to the governor’s budget proposal and even cuts may come early next year after the state’s next economic forecast is released in January.

Gordon admitted that the numbers submitted to the legislature yesterday represent the beginning of what will be a lengthy process. The Joint Appropriations Committee will meet for several days in mid-December and again in January to hold budget hearings.

The Wyoming Legislature convenes for the Budget Session on February 10th.

Click here to view the state budget and Gordon’s full letter to legislators

 

New construction for school entryways approved

Two of Carbon County School District Two’s larger campuses lack entryways that allow staff to monitor who is coming and going.

The Board of Trustees approved the construction of two new security vestibules to beef up security at the schools.

 

 

E-cigarettes confiscated at Rawlins High School. Photo: Cali O’Hare/Bigfoot 99.

RHS hosting parent workshop on vaping this week

This week, parents of teens and pre-teens have a chance to meet with and ask questions of social workers and school resource officers at Rawlins High School about the underage use of e-cigarettes and vapes.

Cali O’Hare has the details.

 

 

Photo: Bigfoot 99.

Encampment addresses health and safety concerns

The Encampment Town Council encourages residents with old refrigerators on their property to dispose of them or ensure their doors are locked or removed.

They governing body is also exploring how best to respond to other health and safety concerns brought to their attention the past few months.

 

 

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