Sheridan City, County Agree On Air Service Funding Deal

Mar 23, 2020

Credit Google Earth

City and county officials have entered into an agreement to support the Sheridan area's air service.

In August 2019, Sheridan County and the Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) brought in SkyWest as the Sheridan County Airport's service provider. That's part of the state's capacity purchase agreement, and the bigger idea to bring more reliable air service across the state.

The deal between WYDOT and Sheridan County requires the county to pay 40 percent of the costs of the service, with the state picking up the other 60 percent.

Now, Sheridan County will be splitting its side of the cost with the city of Sheridan.

Sheridan County Administrative Director Renee Obermueller said the city and county have always shared the local side of the costs of air service.

"We did sign a three contract with extensions [with WYDOT], so we also wanted to mirror the cooperative agreement between the two of us the same way," Obermueller said.

Obermueller said the county set a not-to-exceed limit for its payments with WYDOT for each fiscal year.

"We'll have the opportunity to look at those numbers every year before we button them up. So while they're posted and showing in our contract, it really doesn't mean that is what they are, those are more estimates than anything. Other than the current year," she said.

From January to June of this year, the city and county will split a more than $286,564 bill. For the following years, the estimates for Sheridan governments to share an estimated $731,256 and $796,420, in 2021 and 2022 fiscal years, respectively.

As part of the agreement between the local governments, the city also set a cap of $400,000 in the upcoming fiscal years for its contributions.

The funding for these projects comes out of both local governments' 1% funds, money from a tax that must be approved by voters every four years. If voters choose not to approve the tax, the agreement will be terminated.

Obermueller said in January and February of this year, there have been record numbers of enplanements at the Sheridan County Airport, though the COVID-19 pandemic has recently slowed airport travel.

Have a question about this story? Contact the reporter, Catherine Wheeler, at cwheel11@uwyo.edu.