Rock Springs Council to Review Preliminary Budget

Rock Springs Council to Review Preliminary Budget

ROCK SPRINGS — Under the proposed preliminary budget, the city of Rock Springs will need to move about $6.1 million to its operational reserves to cover the projected shortfall.

During the Rock Springs City Council meeting Tuesday, May 4, at 7 pm, at city hall, the Council will review its preliminary budget for fiscal year 2021-2022.

According to a letter from Matthew L. McBurnett, Director of Administrative Services, the city will transfer about $6.1 million to its operational reserves to cover the budget deficit the city is currently facing. Last fiscal year 2020-2021, the city made budget cuts to make up for a $7.2 million budget shortfall.

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“The goal of the budget committee has been to fund operational reserves to help supplement decreasing revenue.” McBurnett’s letter stated.

Since this is a preliminary budget, the amount transferred to operational reserves will change as the city’s financial conditions change in the next few months.

The preliminary budget also includes funding requests for outside agencies. Most outside agency funding requests were decreased by 30 percent.

“Further cuts may be considered, if revenue projections are lower than anticipated,” McBurnett’s letter states.

As for water and sewer rate increases, the city has included a 6 percent increase in water rates and a 2 percent increase in sewer rates.

The city has been experiencing a decrease in revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic impacting local industries and a decrease in oil and gas prices. The city is also seeing a 20 percent decrease in sales and use tax revenues.

“The sales and use tax payments received in May and June could also have a large impact on the next version of the budget presented in June,” McBurnett’s letter stated.

Special Funding

The city received about $8 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding during the current fiscal year. This funding provided reimbursement for expenditures incurred due to the public-health emergency.

The city is expected to receive about $3.5 million from the American Rescue Act Plan funding for local governments.

“It’s important to note that this is one-time funding that will be used to help the city maintain services for the next few years, which will hopefully allow time for the federal, state, and local economy to stabilize,” McBurnett’s letter stated.

“In order to make the one-time stimulus funding last longer, the budget committee has chosen to trim operations as much as possible without eliminating vital services, while still looking for ways to further reduce the cost of government moving forward,” McBurnett stated.

To read the entire 111-page preliminary budget click here.

Other Business

Under new business, the Council will look at three requests from the Rock Springs Fire Department. The requests are to refill vacant positions, including one battalion chief, two captain and two firefighter positions.

The Council will look at appointing Jim Blazovich and Sue Lozier to the Board of Adjustment, David Johnson to the Historic Preservation Committee, Bryan Seppie and Richard Mathey to the Sweetwater County Water Users Coalition Committee.

Both the Seppie and Mathey appointments are contingent on the Council approving a resolution rescinding the city’s participation in the steering committee, otherwise known as the Communities Protecting the Green, and accepting a new cooperative agreement between Rock Springs, Green River, and Sweetwater County to form the Sweetwater County Water Users Coalition Committee.

For the complete agenda click here.