Casper Council Approves $64.5 Million for 1 Cent Allocation
At the Casper city council meeting on Tuesday, the council unanimously passed their priorities should the upcoming one-cent tax be approved.
The priorities allocate the most money to streets, $21.8 million, followed by water and sewer at $10.4 million, police at $5.5 million, and Fire/EMS at $3.8 million.
A survey conducted by the council in April showed that, of the 700 respondents, 62% of people were very likely to vote in favor of renewing the one-cent tax, with 14% somewhat likely, 14% not likely, and 9% unsure.
The council also included $2.25 million for nonprofit contracts, which is due to complaints the city received from members of nonprofits in the community due to the decrease in funding from the initial priorities.
While the funding is down from the $3 million allocated in the previous cycle, it is still higher than the initial proposal to the council that didn't include a category for nonprofit contracts.
Councilmember Lisa Engebretsen said before voting in favor of the priorities, that she wishes the council was able to move more money away from streets towards nonprofit grants.
"I just wonder if the citizens of Casper are maybe just a little bit spoiled," Engebretsen said. "Then we're cutting back our nonprofits to make our streets even better, but that doesn't feed people and that's not helping people. And so I just feel like we can afford that $800,000 to put back the nonprofits to the $3 million. Honestly, comparatively speaking, I'm just not seeing, with the cost of everything, that the nonprofits are more important than the streets."
City manager Carter Napier said in response that the council received a rating of 59 out of 100 from a contractor, which the proposed funding will not increase.
Councilmember Bruce Knell said there was a lot of work put into the proposal and that the survey had a large impact on where the money was allocated.
While the council approved their priorities, it is still up to the voters of Casper to vote in favor of the tax in November, as has happened 16 times previously.