1801 Beaufort St
Laramie WY 82072
I am completing my first term on City Council after being elected in November of 2016. Before I was a Councilor I took time off after serving 20 years as an Albany County Commissioner. I came to Laramie in 1972 from Cheyenne to attend UW. I’m currently working at Wyoming Public Radio, a position I have held for the past 31 years.
Council can lead by example and follow the guidelines established by the State Department of Health. Working with County Health Officer, Dr. Allais, City and County Officials have been able to foster a plan to help minimize the spread of COVID-19. Some have experienced questionable gatherings of people in downtown Laramie that has brought to our attention the need to continue educating everyone on the need to follow State guidelines for businesses and others.
The City budget must be carefully managed because of so much uncertainty due to reduced sales tax by virtue of UW football being moved to spring time and COVID-19 restrictions that have hampered many businesses. We are fortunate to have many experienced financial people on City staff that will guide Council through this unknown period. I don’t feel that an additional sales tax is needed now; but if things changed, Council could ask citizens to consider approving an additional 1% sales tax that the State Legislature approved recently.
Economic diversity in Laramie has been on the minds of many over the years. City Council has partnered with the Laramie Chamber Business Alliance to assist in finding those businesses that would be a good fit for Laramie. Council allocated $90,000 this year to assist LCBA. City Council has also contracted with Fourth Economy, according to their website, a national economic development consulting firm that focuses on fostering action to create great communities. As a Council member, I feel City staff and LCBA along with Fourth Economy are working to bring economic diversity to the area.
I served on Laramie City Council for 16 years until 2018. Family reasons kept me from running last time. I am married and have three grown children. They and their families live in Laramie and Colorado. I am retired, taught at the University for 33 years. I support ordinances that make life better for EVERY citizen. We should be thrifty, not miserly.
Education via the Boomerang and the city's news release about the high infection possibility of COVD-19 and generally accepted prevention means, such as masks and avoiding large gatherings. Appeal to citizens to be a "good neighbor," rather than mandating.
I have in the past advocated for letting citizens vote for an additional one percent local sales tax, and I still advocate it. But we must tell what the city manager has repeatedly pointed out to council and citizens, that currently citizens only pay -- if I remember correctly -- for about 13% of the municipal services they receive, through their taxes. Mind you, that is police, fire protection, street maintenance etc. It does not include the self-supporting services such as water, sewage, solid waste etc, that are maintained through the utility fees paid by all citizens.
City in the past years created incentives via construction of commercial buildings for lease, with the help of grants, providing land for entrepreneurs etc. In addition I suggest advertising nationally about our ideal climate, good transportation connection via road and rail etc. The city has attracted several new business and manufacturers in the recent past, and the economic development folks should continue their efforts in recruiting.