SHERIDAN — Sheridan Mayor Roger Miller and Sheridan City Council looked critically at the impending Fiscal Year 2021 budget Thursday, suggesting potential holds on projects to further reduce the budget in anticipation of a potential 25% reduction in Sales and Use Tax revenues due to COVID-19.
In preparation to submit a 2020-2021 budget, city of Sheridan Interim Administrator Mike Jackson told city staff to prepare budgets with 20% cuts. Staff planned for the worst at a 20% cut but ended up only accounting for a total of 9% in reductions.
Some, especially those with requirements through city utilities, did not quite make the cuts necessary to total a 9% reduction, but Jackson said an overall reduction of the city’s total budget by 9% was the goal.
Councilors discussed potentially holding off on several projects, including finishing East Fifth Street, pond construction at Malcolm Wallop Park, Main Street three-lane configuration and purchasing updated software for the treasurer.
Fifth Street construction — which would cost around $300,000 to finish the job — includes beautification and functional updates along the East Fifth Street corridor, in addition to installation of a roundabout at Fifth Street and Long Drive.
Staff has worked on pond construction at Malcolm Wallop Park — which includes $140,000 of already-obtained grant funds and $200,000 of grant funds in process — for the last four to five years, Miller had staff note.
A majority of participating Sheridan citizens voted in favor of restructuring Main Street to a three-lane configuration after a trial last fall. Construction cost for the city to implement it now sits around $350,000 but would save around $100,000 if city staff waited to complete it in conjunction with Wyoming Department of Transportation’s Main Street construction in 2023.
Last budget session, mayor and council set aside more than $200,000 to update bookkeeping software for the Sheridan City Treasurer Karen Burtis and her staff.
Some of the funds were appropriated this year for training, and the rest Burtis budgeted for this year’s purchase and installation of the software. If funds allocated weren’t spent this year, they would remain in reserves until the purchase could be made.
Other suggestions made by council members and Interim City Administrator Mike Jackson included efficiency measures to be revisited later in the year, as many may not be able to be implemented before the budget must be finalized.
Council will make official motions on budget amendments at council’s special meeting Wednesday. A public hearing on the budget, including One-Cent Optional Sales Tax allocations from the city portions of the revenue is scheduled for June 15.
In other news
• Council approved a contract to hire a permanent city administrator. Out of three finalists, Miller and council chose Stuart McRae. McRae is currently working as a pilot in Afghanistan for CACI International, a government support contractor. He retired at the rank of colonel from the U.S. Army in 2017 after 30 years of service. He and his family moved to Sheridan in May 2019.
While in the Army, McRae served for more than nine years in CEO level positions and four years in COO level positions, including serving as city administrator (Garrison Commander) at Fort Rucker, Alabama, and chief operating officer for the Installation Management Command-Pacific at Fort Shafter, Hawaii.
He has a master’s degree in strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College and a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Montana State University.
He is currently still in Afghanistan but will return for work in June.
• Per council’s approval, the city will offer its most recent offer again to Sheridan firefighters in another effort to avoid arbitration with International Association of Firefighters Local 276. IAFF rejected the offer from the city before, presenting a counteroffer, which council rejected, causing the entities to move negotiations to arbitration. Two arbitrators have been chosen by each group, with those two arbitrators choosing a third arbitrator.
• Miller and council discussed the potential 25% cut in One-Cent funds allocated to local agencies but did not have updated financials to help determine need at Thursday’s meeting. With 2019 end-of-year reports and initial applications with full financial records from 2018 in their inboxes by the end of the meeting, council will revisit the list Wednesday.