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City frees up more than $1 million; will go to N. Fed. rebuild

Jul 26, 2017 By Alejandra Silva, Staff Writer

Some surplus money Riverton staffers found while finalizing last year's budget will be used to help fund the upcoming North Federal Boulevard construction project.

During a report last week, finance director Mia Harris said the city had more than $1 million in excess funds after revenues and expenditures were balanced for the year.

Managing expenses

Much of the money came from the city's water, wastewater and sanitation funds.

The city's water fund recorded roughly $2.6 million in revenue and about $2.1 million in expenses, leaving the city with roughly $522,000 in excess money.

The wastewater fund recorded about $1.9 million in revenue and about $1.7 million in expenses, creating an excess of roughly $230,000.

The sanitation fund received about $2.4 million in revenue and paid out about $2.1 million in expenses, creating a difference of about $279,000.

Harris attributed the positive results to "managing expenses in the budget in such a tight manner."

Initially, she said, the positive balance for the water, wastewater and sanitation funds went into the city's cash-on-hand pool.

But staff recommended that the excess money from the water and sewer fund be assigned instead to the North Federal Boulevard project that is set to begin in September.

Harris pointed out that excess money from the sanitation fund can't be used for the North Federal project but can be put towards the anticipated purchase of an estimated $235,000 street sweeper for the city.

She also noted that surplus money from the wastewater and water funds can't be put in the general fund.

Project

The city has already amended its budget to reflect a federal grant match of $893,000 for the North Federal Boulevard project. An additional $220,750 from mineral royalties and the state were also budgeted for the work.

"If we have excess funds now, any amount of money that we can put toward the North Federal Boulevard project for later will only decrease the amount of money the city will have to borrow to complete that project," Harris said. "And we certainly have the funds that we could earmark them."

The Wyoming Department of Transportation has budgeted $12 million for the project, which includes enlarging turning radiuses on several intersections. The city will replace 1.5 miles of sewer and water utilities as well.

Mayor Lars Baker liked the idea of earmarking the funds for the Federal Boulevard project, although bids have not yet been released. The city is currently only working with an engineer's estimate of project costs, he noted, and that estimate could change.

He reminded the Riverton City Council that the already completed South Federal Boulevard reconstruction project resulted in a "considerable overage" compared to the engineer's estimate.

"We ran into stuff under the road that nobody remembered that was there," he said. "We had lots of fixes to do, so that made that project quite more expensive."

Having that extra cash on hand will be helpful in case of a similar scenario on North Federal, he said.

The council supported a motion to appropriate surplus money from the water and wastewater funds to reserves for the North Federal Boulevard project.

Airport subsidy

Total revenues in the city's general fund from July 1, 2016, to June 30, 2017, amounted to roughly $7.2 million - about $375,000 more than the general fund expenses tallied for the year, Harris said.

That money went to subsidize expenses at Riverton Regional Airport, however. Harris noted that the airport fund made about $1.8 million in revenue and paid out about $2.3 million in expenses during the fiscal year, for a negative difference of about $446,000.

The remaining $70,000 to cover airport expenses came from funds the city was already holding in cash, Harris said.

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2017-09-22

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