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Sheridan County Commissioner Steve Maier addressed several issues with local Legislators during the Legislative Forum at City Hall Wednesday.
He expressed support for Gov. Matt Mead’s budget recommendation for appropriations to cities and counties, a total of $175 million over the two-year budget biennium, as well as the recommended split of those funds 60 percent for operations and 40 percent for consensus funding that supports capital construction.
The total statewide $20 million increase in funds would amount to an extra $360,000 for Sheridan County for operations. Approximately $3.9 million would be split between the county, the city of Sheridan and the towns of Ranchester, Dayton and Clearmont for maintenance and capital projects.
Maier did urge legislators to avoid placing restrictions on the operations funds so that they could be used as the county deems best. He noted that Mead has recommended salary increases for state and university employees but that does not apply to local government employees, which are the backbone of government services. He said the county would like to be able to provide raises for its employees, too.
Maier also urged legislators to consider an option being discussed that would allow cities and counties to join the state health insurance program. No bills have been drafted to that effect at this time, but Maier said Sheridan County would definitely be in support if a bill were drafted.
Maier also addressed ongoing efforts to streamline legal publication requirements for local government entities. He said Sheridan County spends approximately $40,000 per year on publications and would benefit from being able to reduce that bill.
County Commissioner Mike Nickel addressed the legislators about a draft bill that would allow county commissioners to choose how best to work with the state in organizing public health nursing and other related public health functions in a manner determined to work best for individual counties. He said the commissioners were in support of the bill that would allow two counties in Wyoming that had previously dropped out of the county public health program to re-enter it and receive state funds.