Rock Springs Council Moves Forward with Special Purpose Tax Recommendations

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ROCK SPRINGS — Six members of the Rock Springs City Council gathered on September 9 to discuss what projects the city wants to sponsor for a potential Special Purpose Tax ballot initiative next year.

The council decided to recommend $42.41 million in projects for funding. The projects break down to $22.5 million in critical infrastructure funding and just under $20 million in sponsored projects from outside agencies or groups. Scroll to the bottom of this article for a complete list and cost breakdown.

Projects rejected by the council include $3.5 million for road widening on College and Dewar Drives. Additionally, the council rejected a proposal for $15.8 million in funding for the East Belt Route Phase 1 and century parking lot project. Only Councilor Glennise Wendorf and Mayor Tim Kaumo voted to fund that project.

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“The Dewar Drive widening, I’d like to get it done, because I hear a number of complaints all the time about it. But, to me, that’s more of an inconvenience to some than it is really a need,” Councilor Rob Zotti said.

Sponsored projects include the Airport Commercial Terminal Modernization and funding for the YWCA to expand their childcare facility. A group of residents proposing a new multi-use indoor recreation facility that would be adjacent to the Rock Springs Family Recreation Center also received the councils support.

Wendorf and Councilor Billy Shalata voted against sponsoring the multi-use facility. “We have to really think how we have to prioritize our list … This will be important for the voters [to know] that we’re not trying to push for anything more than what we feel is necessary as a need,” Shalata said earlier in the meeting.

Making improvements to minimize the odor emanating from the the city’s water reclamation facility each spring continues to be the to top priority for Rock Springs in Special Purpose Tax discussions. “The sewer smell project is something that we feel is very important to this community and I believe our residents would support that,” Kaumo said.

Early in the meeting, Mayor Kaumo expressed concern about the lack of public participation in open meetings.

“I’m a little bit dismayed over the fact that there is virtually no one from the community at this meeting,” Kaumo said. “We have these meetings, come and speak your mind and tell us what you think, whether you’re in support of paying this additional penny.”

Kaumo also noted that commenting on reports (like this one) when reposted to social media does not amount to civic participation.

“I guess it gets back to social media. Just because you rant on social media doesn’t mean you’ve made a difference. You should show up to the meeting … this is where it takes place, right here. These people up here are going to make a decision on what we feel is best and it’s not a very easy decision,” Kaumo said.

“Glad you said that,” Councilor Keaton West said in response to Kaumo’s comments.

West will meet with other county municipalities via teleconference Tuesday, September 10 at 5pm and let them know what funding the city wants to sponsor as Special Purpose Tax discussions move forward.

Here’s a complete list:

  • $4 million for water reclamation odor control improvement.
  • $2.5 million for northeast Rock Springs detention basins.
  • $5 million miscellaneous sewer projects.
  • $5 million miscellaneous water projects.
  • $5 million miscellaneous storm water projects.
  • $1 million miscellaneous gateway and green belt beautification.
  • $3.5 million for YWCA facility expansion.
  • $3.36 million for Airport Commercial Terminal Modernization.
  • $13.05 million for multi-use recreational facility.