THE CASPER CITY COUNCIL ON TUESDAY DISCUSSED THE FINER POINTS OF A PROPOSED BUDGET FOR THE 2019 FISCAL YEAR THAT BEGINS JULY 1.

CITY MANAGER CARTER NAPIER SAID AFTER A MORE THAN THREE-HOUR WORK SESSION THAT THE CIRCUMSTANCES ARE FAR BETTER NOW THAN THEY WERE A YEAR AGO WHEN THE CITY HAD TO BORROW $4.5 MILLION FROM ITS RESERVES TO BALANCE ITS GENERAL FUND BUDGET.
THE GENERAL FUND RELIES LARGELY ON SALES AND USE TAXES, WHICH IN TURN RELY LARGELY ON THE BOOM-AND-BUST, ENERGY-DRIVEN COMMODITIES INDUSTRIES.

WHEN SALES TAX REVENUES DROPPED SHARPLY A COUPLE YEARS AGO, THE CITY SCRAMBLED TO MAKE ENDS MEET BY BORROWING ABOUT A THIRD OF ITS RESERVES.

A LOT OF THE DISCUSSION TUESDAY CONCERNED THE NATRONA COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT'S REQUEST FOR TWO MORE SCHOOL RESOURCE OFFICERS -- POLICE OFFICERS WHO ARE DEVOTED TO SCHOOL SECURITY.

COUNCIL MEMBERS SAID THEY WERE WILLING TO HIRE THE OFFICERS IF THE SCHOOL DISTRICT WOULD SPLIT THE COST.
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A CASPER MAN WAS ARRESTED SUNDAY MORNING AFTER AUTHORITIES ALLEGEDLY FOUND MARIJUANA, METHAMPHETAMINE, ALCOHOL AND FOUR JUVENILES IN HIS APARTMENT.

BRENDAN HOFFMAN WAS BOOKED INTO JAIL ON RECOMMENDED CHARGES OF MARIJUANA POSSESSION, METHAMPHETAMINE POSSESSION AND FOUR COUNTS OF CHILD ENDANGERMENT WITH METHAMPHETAMINE.

CHARGING PAPERS SAY THREE OFFICERS RESPONDED TO AN APARTMENT AT 2540 S. MCKINLEY ST. AT ABOUT 9:30 A.M. SUNDAY TO ASSIST STATE PROBATION AND PAROLE AGENTS WHO WERE CONDUCTING A HOME CHECK AT A TEEN'S RESIDENCE.

ONE OF THE AGENTS FOUND MULTIPLE ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE CONTAINERS AND MARIJUANA SHAKE IN PLAIN VIEW DURING THE INSPECTION, SO CASPER POLICE OFFICERS WERE CALLED TO ASSIST.

FOUR JUVENILES WERE FOUND IN THE APARTMENT ALONG WITH HOFFMAN; THREE OF THEM WERE ASLEEP IN A REAR BEDROOM.

HOFFMAN CONSENTED TO A SEARCH OF HIS DUFFEL BAG. INSIDE, OFFICERS FOUND MARIJUANA, METHAMPHETAMINE AND METHAMPHETAMINE PARAPHERNALIA.

THE FOUR JUVENILES WERE CITED FOR MINOR IN POSSESSION OF ALCOHOL AS WELL AS DRUG POSSESSION. THEY WERE ALL TAKEN INTO PROTECTIVE CUSTODY DUE TO THE METHAMPHETAMINE AND LACK OF ADULT SUPERVISION. THE WYOMING DEPARTMENT OF FAMILY SERVICES RESPONDED AND TOOK THE JUVENILES TO THE YOUTH CRISIS CENTER.
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IN AN EFFORT TO IMPROVE THEIR RESPONSE TIME AND COVERAGE AREA, THE CHEYENNE POLICE DEPARTMENT IS ASKING THE CITY COUNCIL FOR FUNDING TO HIRE MORE OFFICERS.

OFFICER KEVIN MALATESTA SAYS CHEYENNE HAS GROWN 20 PERCENT IN SIZE AND 14 PERCENT IN POPULATION IN THE LAST DECADE, BUT POLICE STAFFING HAS ACTUALLY DECREASED.

"TEN YEARS AGO WE WERE ALLOTTED 109 POSITIONS AND TODAY WE ONLY ARE ALLOTTED 105 POSITIONS, OFFICER POSITIONS. SO WHAT THAT MEANS IS SOMETIMES PEOPLE ARE WAITING FOR MORE THAN HALF-AN-HOUR, OR OFTEN TIMES THAT'S THE AVERAGE IS 35 MINUTES, FOR AN OFFICER TO RESPOND TO A CALL WHERE THE SUSPECT BASICALLY ISN'T PRESENT, SOMETHING THAT TOOK PLACE PRIOR, AND IT'S A PRETTY SLOW RESPONSE."

TO CURB THE TREND, CHIEF BRIAN KOZAK IS ASKING FOR TWO OFFICERS AND A COMMUNITY SERVICE OFFICER THIS YEAR. HE'S ALSO ASKING THE COUNCIL TO ALLOT ONE EXTRA OFFICER POSITION EVERY YEAR FOR THE NEXT SIX YEARS.
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WYOMING'S UNEMPLOYMENT RATE FELL FROM 3.9 PERCENT IN MARCH TO 3.8 PERCENT LAST YEAR. STATE SENIOR ECONOMIST DAVID BULLARD SAID EVEN THOUGH THAT ISN'T A BIG DROP, IT IS STILL GOOD NEWS.

BULLARD SAYS IN APRIL OF 2017 THE STATE JOBLESS RATE WAS 4.1 PERCENT.

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WYOMING HAS A LOT OF OLDER WELLS THAT ARE PAST THEIR PRIME AND A LOT OF OLD FIELDS.

THE SALT CREEK FIELD NORTH OF CASPER, FOR EXAMPLE, WAS FIRST TAPPED OVER 100 YEARS AGO BUT STILL HOLDS CRUDE THAT COULDN'T BE COLLECTED BY CONVENTIONAL MEANS.

OUTSIDE OF INDUSTRY, THE POTENTIAL OF ENHANCED OIL RECOVERY IN WYOMING HAS ATTRACTED SOME ATTENTION.

GIVEN THAT WYOMING COAL IS BURNED IN POWER PLANTS THAT THEN CHURN OUT PROBLEMATIC CARBON DIOXIDE EMISSIONS, RESEARCHING HOW TO CAPTURE THAT GAS AND PUT IT TO USE IN OLD OIL FIELDS IS A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN FOR THE STATE.

THE UNIVERSITY OF WYOMING'S ENHANCED OIL RECOVERY INSTITUTE ANNOUNCED RECENTLY THAT ABOUT $2.2 MILLION OF RESEARCH IS GOING INTO BOOSTING PRODUCTION IN VERTICAL STRIPPER WELLS.