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May 08, 2012 7:58 am

County governments split up state money

Written by CJ Baker

Splitting $2.56 million five ways is enough sharing for Park County’s local governments.
Leaders from Park County, Powell, Cody and Meeteetse agreed at Tuesday’s Park County Commission meeting that they will split this year’s state consensus funds among themselves by population and will not share with special districts.

That’s the same decision the local governments made with the $1.53 million they received last year in consensus funding, though they gave Meeteetse a disproportionally larger share to help the town buy a garbage truck. Unlike last year, when it was left out, Frannie will get a share of the Park County dollars.
Four years ago, when Park County received $9.19 million in consensus money, the county and municipalities set aside 20 percent for special districts — such as fire districts, irrigations districts and hospitals. But this time around, Commissioner Bucky Hall didn’t think it was worth the effort to have a couple dozen entities vie for about $511,000.
“It’s not that much money, and we’ve got plenty of projects, and I don’t think we’re going to get more money two years from now,” Hall said.
The suggestion received unanimous agreement from the rest of the commission and from Powell, Cody and Meeteetse mayors.
Powell city officials plan to put the city’s share toward a new sanitation truck and slurry sealing, said City Administrator Zane Logan.
“Because we won’t have any money to do the basic slurry seal if we don’t use it (the consensus money) for that,” Logan said.
The county will likely use its money up on Park County Fairgrounds upgrades.
Since it is “consensus” money, the governments have to agree on how it’s spent, but the sign-off on each others’ projects should only be a formality.
In addition to the consensus funding, local governments are also receiving $1.52 million in direct distributions from the state. That sum also will be split by population (see information box) and can be plugged into the local governments’ general funds.
Though the state government is looking at scaling back its biennial budget in the wake of lower-than-expected natural gas prices, Hall said Gov. Matt Mead and Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Phil Nicholas assured commissioners at a recent Wyoming County Commissioners Association meeting that disbursements to local governments will not be trimmed.

 

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