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Casper City Council Begins Budget Review Process

Anthony Pollreisz, K2 Radio

Casper City Council has started to comb through the city of Casper’s proposed $144 million budget for fiscal year 2014.

Councilors discussed administrative services, city manager and city attorney budgets with city officials during the first of several work sessions on Wednesday.

Casper mayor Kenyne Schlager says the budget analysis process is critical for city operations.

“This is our opportunity to look at each cost center, where the revenue comes from, where we spend our money, how money is transferred from each account, and, really, how everything operates from the city’s perspective,” Schlager said.

Council also discussed Casper’s roughly $27 million perpetual care fund at Wednesday’s meeting. The fund is set up as an endowment which, through interest payments, provides additional funding for several Casper-based facilities, including leisure facilities like the Casper Events Center and the Casper Ice Arena.

Schlager says that fund, because of continued low interest rates, isn’t providing as significant of an economic benefit for the city as it has in the past.

“We’d make a lot more money if we can just finance everybody’s home mortgage, but, unfortunately, I guess we just can’t do that,” Schlager said.

Perpetual care is projected to fund only about 20 percent of the ice arena, aquatics, recreation center, events center, city campus and buildings and grounds budgets in FY 2014.

The proposed $144 million budget for FY 2014 is about $3.2 million less than Casper’s budget for FY 2013.

Council is slated to discuss human resources, community planning, police and fire budgets its next budget session on Thursday.

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