It’s that time of year where we wrap up deliberations on the city’s budget. The City Council and the city’s management team began meeting six weeks ago and have just finalized another budget.
I feel that it is appropriate to recap the priorities facing this council and this community.
At the top of the list is economic development and jobs. There is no greater issue facing the Sheridan community at this time than economic development and the employment picture.
We have much to be proud of with regard to economic development. We have some successes. We have a program and a community that has come together to implement it.
Obviously, the City Council and I are eager to help in any way we can, within the proper scope of limited government, to encourage economic development which, in turn, brings jobs.
City hall, like the whole community, has much at stake. Government cannot prosper unless the local economy prospers. Government depends on the taxes paid by the businesses that create the jobs, and the people employed by those businesses. It is a priority at city hall to help get the cash registers ringing in Sheridan.
Of course, our highest priority at the city is to continue to provide the essential services our constituents expect and deserve. In order to do that we must hang on to the people and positions we have at the city. Like many businesses in Sheridan, city hall has been forced to downsize and we are presently operating with minimum manpower necessary to carry out daily operations and services.
We’ve been down for so long that any glint of light is perceived as being up. We must, like the Wyoming Legislature, be cautious of taking on increases in operational costs without knowing that we have sustainable revenue to match. We cannot and will not use one-time revenues for long term increases in operations costs.
If there is a sustainable revenue increase in the foreseeable future, our first priority should be to replace any reserves that have been tapped during the down time in order to sustain city operations.
In the event of an increase in revenues our budget priorities are as follows; maintain competitive pay and benefits, preserve our beautiful downtown and Main Street including North Main and give back to the community through targeted reductions in selected city fees.
Turning our attention from the operational side of the budget to the capital budget, some significant projects we can look forward to in the next year are, planning for the new North Main interchange, continuing plans for construction of a west corridor, water treatment plant upgrades, continuing plans for the Fifth Street corridor, participating in plans for realignment of the railroad tracks, continuing our commitment to aggressive street maintenance — it costs less to fix them regularly than to let them go and have to rebuild them — finishing our parks, pathways and creek restoration plan and planning for and possible implementation of curbside recycling.
We are blessed with city staff and a management team that is hard working and shares our commitment to the community. We, as a council are unanimous in purpose, to see that our community’s quality of life is preserved and our economic well being is revitalized. We have finalized a budget that responds to citizen priorities and complies with the long-term fiscal policies the City Council put in place to ensure a sound financial future for our community.
Dave Kinskey is mayor of Sheridan.