ROCK SPRINGS – Representative Stan Blake, D-Green River, stopped by the Rock Springs City Council on Tuesday night.
The budget session convenes Feb. 8 as Blake prepares to head for Cheyenne. This will be Blake’s ninth session with his first in 2007. With Wyoming seeing significant decreases in revenue streams, mainly from a huge drop in oil and gas, Blake knows they are going to have to make some hard decisions.
Blake also made mention they will convene in a different location for the first time in over 100 years. The session will take place at the Jonah Business Center as the capital goes through renovations.
Rock Springs Councilman Clark Stith asked Blake if they were going to see the $300 million price tag on the renovations come down. Blake said he could envision it “going north” of $300 million. The representative told the council they probably should have handled the renovation project differently. He said the project should have been done in phases and should have not included the Herschler Building.
Another issue on the minds of local elected officials is Abandoned Mine Lands money. Blake said he has fought hard against spending these funds for other projects other than what they are intended for.
“This part of the state right here needs it more than anywhere else,” Blake said.
Councilman Rob Zotti also commented on the issue. He said when you start using the funds for other things, it sends a message to those who provide the funds that there is no need for it.
“I’m really concerned, if we start using those funds for things other than mine reclamation, we’re going to lose that money.”
Another issue brought to Blake’s attention came from Councilman David Halter. He said it was his understanding there will be a charge adding WyoLink user fees. His concern was not only was the legislature making budget cuts, but they are also then turning around and charging a user fee. He urged Blake to watch any program that starts doing this.