Casper Mayor and Council Members Sworn In
Casper's new Mayor outlined the challenges facing the city in the short and long term, as well as touting the advantages of being here.
Mayor Charlie Powell and Vice Mayor Sean Johnson were unanimously elected by council and took their oaths of office at the first meeting of the year at city hall on Tuesday.
Powell succeeds Ray Pacheco as Mayor, and Pacheco remains on the council.
The oaths came after the swearing in of new council members Ken Bates and Steve Freel.
Council members also said their farewells to outgoing members Jesse Morgan, Dallas Laird, and Kenyne Humphrey.
Powell said he was mayor five years ago when the price of oil dropped to $20 a barrel, which had a disastrous effect on city revenues.
He said the city implemented a hiring freeze and the elimination of 60 staff positions.
The city now needs to fix the health insurance program for its employees, balance the budget, pay $1.7 million to the state because a company out of Natrona County mistakenly put that money in the city's treasury, shore up staff compensation, and address recruitment and retention of officers in the police department.
Long-term issues include significant upgrades to the city's water and wastewater treatment plants, and embark on a $50 million project to upgrade the storm water sewer system.
Powell also noted some of the city's progress in recent years including the river reclamation, the David Street Station, upcoming capital projects including the new state office building and the renovation of midwest avenue, a good city staff, and that the city is virtually debt free.