Weekly Poll

Are you registered to vote?




Results

 


March 10, 2011 10:01 am

Powell population increases to 6,314

Written by CJ Baker

Powell added nearly 1,000 new residents over the past decade, boosting its population to 6,314 residents, the 2010 census found.

The census data, released Thursday, shows the city of Powell experienced a 17.5 percent growth rate between April 2000 and April 2010, one of the strongest rates among Wyoming’s municipalities.

“People are figuring out Powell is a pretty nice place to live,” said Mayor Scott Mangold of the results.

Powell remained the state’s 15th-largest city, sandwiched between Douglas (population 6,501) and Torrington (6,120). The state’s population totaled 563,626.

In adding 941 residents over the 10-year period, Powell grew more than Cody, whose population was recorded at 9,520. Buffalo Bill’s namesake grew by 683 residents since 2000 for a 7.3 percent increase.

Meeteetse had 24 fewer people than it did in 2000, with its population falling to 351.

Another 827 folks moved into Park County’s rural parts, bringing the number of rural residents to 12,025, up 7.4 percent.

Park County as a whole grew by 9.4 percent, adding 2,419 residents for a 2010 population of 28,205 residents.

That growth was the Big Horn Basin’s strongest.

Neighboring Big Horn County grew by 1.8 percent, to 11,668. Census takers found 8,533 residents in Washakie County, which is up 2.9 percent. Seventy fewer residents were recorded in Hot Springs County than in 2000, for a 1.4 percent decrease and a population of 4,812.

Elsewhere, the state’s energy-rich counties — such as Sublette (up 73.1 percent) and Campbell (up 36.9 percent) — saw the most significant growth, the state Economic Analysis Division noted in a release.

Wyoming’s minority populations — including Hispanic, American Indian, black, Asian and Pacific Islander residents — grew more quickly during the decade (up 45 percent) than did the white, non-Hispanic population (up 10.3 percent).

“Similar to other parts of the nation, the face of Wyoming’s population is changing,” said Amy Bittner, an economist with the Economic Analysis Division.

However, minority groups still remained a small minority in the state.

Statewide, 483,874 residents (85.9 percent) were white, non-Hispanic, while 50,231 residents (14.2 percent) were in a minority group; in 2000, 88.9 percent of Wyomingites were white, non-Hispanic.

In Park County, white, non-Hispanic residents made up 92.5 percent of the population, the 2010 Census found. That was down slightly from 2000, when they made up 94.5 percent of the populace.

In the county, 26,090 residents were white, non-Hispanic, 1,365 were Hispanic or Latino, 168 were American Indian or Alaska Natives, 166 were Asian, 56 were black or African American and 25 were native Hawaiian or other Pacific islander. Another 440 residents were of two or more races, while 399 were of some other race.

On Monday, City Administrator Zane Logan said he was pleasantly surprised to see Powell was the fastest growing town in Park County.

Perhaps part of the reason for the surprise is that Powell’s population had apparently been underestimated by the Census Bureau in recent projections; for 2009, the Bureau estimated Powell’s population at 5,786 residents — for a 3.5 percent growth rate since 2000.

Bittner cautioned against comparing estimates — which are based on births and deaths, building permits and IRS tax returns — with the census data, where folks have actually been counted.

“In general, it is difficult to create estimates for fast growing areas and small areas (down to the city and town level),” Bittner said. Further, areas with college students — like Powell — may have lower estimates because the students may file their tax returns with their parents’ address.

Powell likely owes some of its growth to Northwest College, where enrollment grew by about 550 students from the spring of 2000 to the spring of 2010.

Mangold said the city is a great retirement community, but he also said when census data is released in May breaking down Powell’s population by age group, he expects to see growth among all ages.

Mangold said Powell is well laid out and inexpensive.

“I think it’s going to continue to grow and I think a lot of people are using the (expanded) highway to commute to Cody,” he said, citing Powell’s cheaper cost of living.

Logan said he didn’t expect the city to grow so much.

“But I think Powell is a nice community, and apparently, it isn’t a secret anymore,” Logan said.

4 comments

  • Comment Link March 10, 2011 12:07 pm posted by Disgusted taxpayer

    No wonder the rent is so high in Powell anymore. Many rich transplants,and they are not looking for work for sure.And what are the business's catering to? Three guesses and the first two don't count.

  • Comment Link March 13, 2011 6:38 pm posted by Steve Moseley

    As a former resident and unabashed fan of everything about Powell...now several years removed back to the flatlands from whence we came to your wonderful community...I continue to be amused by folks who do go on so about taxes there and in Wyoming generally.

    We in Nebraska have sales tax out the wazoo. We also accept as a fact of life hefty state income taxes on both individuals and corporations. Wyoming residents and companies, meanwhile, are not asked to bothered with either. At all. Zilch.

    At last count your fair city has a brand new high school and a couple even newer elementary schools. All this and no bonded indebtedness (save for an itty-bitty one to expand the high school gym and auditorium to accommodate most of the entire community if need be)? No huge debt hanging over taxpayers for a couple decades as is the case everywhere else? Are you kidding me?

    When we lived there the high school was in its formative stages and people were up in arms, some screaming "Don't let this happen, fair Powellites! Don't let the evil state cram this thing down our throats!" Cram what down your throats? A free high school?

    Mark my words...people in Nebraska would leap for joy to receive such treatment as this from their state government. We have a nearly brand new middle school here in York that we'll be paying off for the rest of my life (not all that long really, now that I think about it).
    to do so will require millions and millions of dollars for principal and interest...every one extracted from the pockets of taxpayers...including, unfortunately, yours truly.

    When we lived on north Cary Street in your fair city, major work was done on the street surface at the north end of our block, near the LDS church. We, having come from the real world (the one lacking the serendipitous gift of oil, gas and mineral deposits), waited nervously for the bill to arrive in the mail, assuming it would be handled as an assessed paving district. No bill ever arrived. Then they went down Cary Street right in front of our house and did a bunch of substantial resurfacing. Surely this time we'd be asked to pay our share based on front footage...as we'd experienced a couple times here in Nebraska. No bill. Again.

    Some 10 or 12 years ago when we moved to Powell we sold our home in Lexington, Neb., for $87,000 and soon bought the one on Cary Street for $99,900. Taxes on the Nebraska house...$2,000 and change a year. On the significantly more expensive Powell home...about 800 bucks. To say we were pleasantly surprised understates our reaction to the happy news.

    The recliner in which these words are being typed reposes in a 1923 bungalow for which we paid $104,000 five years ago. Taxes are $1,800, a number greatly reduced by the fact this particular city government is unique for the fact it leans much more heavily upon sales tax than property tax. We in York, Neb., have perhaps the lowest city levy in the entire state, so our house tax here is the Nebraska exception, not the rule.

    It seemed to me the folks who railed on about Wyoming's 'outrageous' taxes tended to be natives for the most part. I suggest that's because those of us who have lived elsewhere know better than to punch the gift horse in the mouth.

    Is everything perfect in Wyoming? Of course not. But when it comes to taxes, wildlife, drop dead beautiful scenery, climate and weather it sure beats the snot out of Corn Country.

  • Comment Link March 15, 2011 8:47 am posted by TB

    If you think Powell is so "hunky dory" why did you leave here? As for "free high schools",nothing is "free". And it,s becuase of greed and rich transplants that we will pay more in property taxes. Not is all so "rosy" in Powell as you think.

  • Comment Link March 15, 2011 2:34 pm posted by Steve Moseley

    Well, TB, here's the deal.

    The only thing in the world that could have pried us away from Powell is the one thing that did. If our kids hadn't married and begun producing grandkids while we were there, all the mustangs in the Peaks couldn't have stampeded us out of there. It's the best place we'll ever have lived and the best people I'll ever work for.

    Here, we live in a town that is about the same population as Powell. We even have a small college here, too, just like you.

    But here's one big difference, TB. Our elementary school was built by local taxpayers...all by themselves. The interest clock on bonded indebtedness of $1.595 million started ticking May 13, 2003. The final payment will finally be made May 15, 2011. We won't celebrate too much that day, however, because we have another $1.63 million in bonds for HVAC at the high school. We've been paying on those since Dec. 2004 and will continue to pour our tax dollars into that hole until Dec. 2014.

    Our near-new middle school is the community's pride and joy, but hey, TB, she's kind of spendy, too. The price tag for it is $9.6 million. It has been extracting dollars from our individual pockets since May 15 2006 and will continue to do so until Dec. 15, 2026.

    Compared to all that this last one doesn't even make a blip at $715,000 for facility upgrades that will hang around our necks from Oct. 2007 to Dec. 2017.

    Our superintendent tells me bonds as of Sept. 2009 totaled $13.540 million with interest against those bonds of $5.033 million. Total debt hanging over the heads of our district patrons as we began this past fiscal year? That would be $18.573 million.

    Powell, meanwhile, has three new schools all built entirely by the state. No bond issue...zip, zero, zilch...except the aforementioned elective enhancements.And it's not property tax levied against homeowners or businesses statewide, either, but rather revenue from the funny smelling fortune that dumb luck placed beneath the feet of Wyoming taxpayers.

    So even our paltry little $715,000 baby bond issue, one that's petty cash by our standards, exceeds the total amount Park County District I taxpayers are asked to pony up for three spanking new buildings.

    I gotta tell ya TB, from where my York neighbors and I sit Powell's brand spanking new schools look dang close to free. If not it's plenty close enough.

    Nebraska's legislature, which anyone in the know will tell you oversees one of the nation's most fiscally sound and conservative state governments, is presently in session carving about $1 billion (with a 'B') to balance its budget, which is constitutionally required here. School districts from Omaha to Wahoo to Ogallala to Big Springs are hunkering down against the certain coming storm.

    Wyoming, meanwhile, puts $1.5 billion into public education every year (that's about $15,000 per student for cryin' out loud!) and even that doesn't include capital construction projects like...you guessed it...three new schools for the good (and lucky) people of Powell.

    Just for fun let's toss in the truly amazing Hathaway program that offers a scholarship to every kid who graduates from high school in Wyoming...any kid, any high school.

    Last year, even though the markets were down, your state still managed to fund $13 million in scholarships, yet the endowment actually grew on income of $16 million. As I'm sure you're aware, TB, being a well-informed citizen and all, the Hathaway program began when the legislature (this was back when I lived there) set aside a 'nest egg' of $400 million in surplus cash. Only took them maybe five years to do it. Now, all those scholarships are provided without touching a nickel of the original principal.

    Sorry to be so long winded, but as I said, it chaps my cheeks no end when people blessed to live in a state with built in assets to burn...literally in this case...whine about how tough they've got it.

    That dog won't hunt. Certainly not in Wyoming anyway.

Leave a comment

*The Powell Tribune reserves the right to remove inappropriate comments.