ROCK SPRINGS — Rock Springs Mayor Tim Kaumo took to the City of Rock Springs Government social media page to inform residents about the city’s declining revenues and funding issues the city is still facing.
The letter from Mayor Kaumo explains how the city is seeing a 20-percent decrease in revenue, which is generated by sales tax. It also addresses that while the city needs to balance the budget by reducing spending and prioritizing projects, it also needs to provide services to the community.
“We have several issues to resolve, all of which will require the City to provide funds, such as ambulance service – a vital need for our community. It has been our goal to work towards opportunities where our communities in Sweetwater County can maintain services that our citizens expect, while combining resources and sharing the overall costs for these services,” Kaumo’s letter stated.
The letter also lets the community know about upcoming reductions in parks and recreation services.
The following is the entire letter from Mayor Kaumo.
Citizens of Rock Springs:
As declining revenues continue to be at the forefront, it is especially important to continue being fiscally responsible and transparent with the City’s budget as we work to balance this fiscal year and plan for the next. Due to a 20 percent reduction of revenues generated in sales tax, there will be a need to reduce spending and prioritize projects and services for our community. Although the City has been very aggressive in seeking grant dollars and Cares Act funding, these funds received are one-time funds and will not be utilized for projects that require on-going funding.
We have several issues to resolve, all of which will require the City to provide funds, such as ambulance service – a vital need for our community. It has been our goal to work towards opportunities where our communities in Sweetwater County can maintain services that our citizens expect, while combining resources and sharing the overall costs for these services.
Going into this spring/summer and our next fiscal year, our citizens here in Rock Springs can expect a few changes in services and hours of operation, mostly within the Recreation Department, but also as they relate to capital projects, personnel, and equipment replacement.
Cities/towns do not have the ability to raise funds other than utilizing additional taxing abilities such as the 6th Cent tax, also known as the Specific Purpose Tax. This tax has proven to be very effective at little costs to our families. The vast majority of the tax is paid by those visiting our communities. This additional penny can generate up to approximately $1.2 million per month, and is generally used to fund infrastructure projects needed in our community. There will be ongoing discussions regarding projects that will be listed as 6th Penny Projects, which will then be made available to the voters in the 2022 General Election. Please contact your City Councilors, myself, and/or the Sweetwater County Board of County Commissioners with your suggestions and participate in the process to ensure that your voice is heard
The following changes can be expected this upcoming year:
Reduction in Services in Parks & Recreation:
PARKS: Mowing/Trimming will be reduced in many areas including some parks and greenbelts.
GOLF: The Golf Course will be CLOSED on Mondays until 10:00 a.m. (June through September)Less grounds maintenance including mowing, trimming & bunker maintenance Periodic increases in wait times at the golf shop, depending on time of day
CIVIC CENTER: CLOSE at 2 p.m. on Fridays during Summer Hours and CLOSED on weekends
CENTURY PARK POOL: ONLY OPEN on Wednesdays when Dip-Dodge-Slide occurs
BLAIRTOWN PARK POOL: OPEN DAILY, excluding Wednesdays
WASHINGTON POOL: OPEN on weekdays ONLY
FAMILY REC CENTER: Some access will be restricted for pools and water amenitiesDaycare eliminated altogetherLess fitness classes will be offered
ICE ARENA: With two employees leaving this month in the Ice Arena, the Ice Arena operations will likely be different in the fall, and will be based upon the staffing we are able to afford at that time
Capital Projects/Equipment Replacements: The City will continue to upgrade infrastructure such as road overlays, concrete replacement and water/sewer related projects to the extent that the City’s budget will allow. Not maintaining roads/sidewalks/water and sewer infrastructure can become very expensive. If left to fail, they will eventually have to be replaced entirely other than spending the dollars needed for maintaining these critical assets.
The City will reduce replacement of old equipment and do our best to utilize aging equipment. Similarly, aging equipment tends to require high maintenance costs and with these cost, we lose any trade-in value towards purchasing replacement equipment.
As mentioned, we will continue to search for grant funding for large projects needed within our City. We will all need to work together to reduce costs, and to find additional revenue sources to maintain the quality of life expected here in Rock Springs.