SHERIDAN — Sheridan County Commissioners recently returned from the spring meeting for the Wyoming County Commissioners Association held in Saratoga last week.
WCCA Board President and Sheridan County Commissioner Bob Rolston said the greatest take-home from the meeting was the reassurance it gave knowing that Sheridan County is part of a strong state association that has a good working relationship with the Wyoming Legislature and the national congressional delegation.
“It’s good to be able to sit down and see how other counties interact, as we do, with those folks. And it’s always nice to get assurance from the governor that as long as he’s in service, he’ll fight for each county’s viability,” Rolston said. “It’s also good to hear about other commissioners’ concerns. For instance, in Converse County with all their activity of drilling of oil wells and natural gas, we sit back in awe and say, ‘What a great thing,’ and they say, ‘What an issue it is to keep ahead of it.’”
Rolston said the spring meeting of the WCCA is less intense than the February meeting that takes place during the legislative session. It is a chance to look back at what was accomplished by the Legislature, as well as what wasn’t accomplished that may need to be addressed in the coming year. The meeting also offers a chance to learn from other county commissions and prepare for upcoming budget sessions.
This year, Rep. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., and Gov. Matt Mead stopped by the meeting.
In her presentation, Lummis focused on her dedication to making sure funding from the Payment in Lieu of Taxes program will continue for Wyoming counties.
“PILT is always kind of hanging over our head: Are we going to have it , are we not going to have it? We have to go back and fight for it every year,” Rolston said. “We, along with all 22 other counties, when we’re doing budget work as we are now, we don’t include PILT payments because there is such uncertainty as to whether or not we’ll get it.”
Rolston said Wyoming’s congressional delegation is working to make sure that the PILT program will be funded on a more certain basis so counties know when they will receive their payment, but that it will likely take time, especially with the uncertain climate in Washington, D.C.
“We got it last year, and hopefully everything will come through this year,” Rolston said.
Mead stopped by to show his support of local governments.
“He’s a real friend of cities and counties and local governments,” Rolston said, noting Mead’s request in this year’s biennium budget for additional state funding for local governments.
Rolston said the commissioners also honored two legislators of the years.
“We pick somebody who has done an outstanding job and helped through the whole process of making the Legislative budget,” Rolston said.
Sen. John Schiffer, R-Kaycee, one of Sheridan County’s legislative delegates, was chosen as the Legislator of the Year for the senators, and Rep. Elaine Harvey, R-Lovell, was chosen for the House of Representatives.
The rest of the conference focused on the WCCA board meeting and meetings of the six active working committees that address issues such as revenue, agriculture, public lands, energy, transportation, health, safety and public services.
“On this meeting, the take away would be the opportunity to listen to the other 22 counties and hear that we’re all doing the best we can with we’ve got to work with,” Rolston said.