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Laramie Faces $2.2 Million Budget Shortfall

Liam Niemeyer

As many local governments are finalizing their budgets for the upcoming year, the city of Laramie is expected to feel the financial crunch happening at the state level.

The city is receiving about $2.2 million less from the state. In response to that, along with stagnant sales tax revenue, the city will eliminate 14 positions from various departments. Those positions include an animal control officer and two officers in the Laramie Police Department's Traffic Enforcement Unit.

"Where we've really had to cut back a lot on is the general fund, and that's the money that comes mostly from the state," said Laramie City Council member Joe Shumway. "We don't really have any way to increase that because we don't have much sales tax revenues that other counties and cities do."

Along with the potential elimination of services such as the fall leaf pickup program, Laramie city manager Janine Jordan said the city's 160 miles of roads could also see less maintenance. 

"The total quality of our street system is declining as of a few years ago. That will probably continue to decline unless we find funding sources to replace the funding sources that were lost," Jordan said.

No additional sources of funding have been earmarked to make up for the city's budget shortfall. Shumway isn't in favor of measure like putting a sales tax on food, and the city instead is planning on delaying several city projects.

"I don't know if we can do anything other than just tighten our belts. That's what the city's doing. Every department in the general fund has not only reduced budget but has reduced staff," Shumway said.

A city council public hearing to adopt the budget is scheduled for June 14. 

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