News of Riverton, Lander and Fremont County, Wyoming, from the Ranger's award winning journalists.
South Federal Boulevard light pole deal isn't all that it appears
Mar 29, 2012 - Richard P. Gard, Ward 3-6 Councilman Riverton
Is it a fact that all of the residents of Riverton like the look of the old fashioned looking lights that are faded green in color on our Main Street? I would like to help set the facts. The landowners on Federal Blvd. were asked to come to a meeting with the Wyoming Highway Department and the City of Riverton. The question of trees, benches, color concrete, the worm line in the sidewalks and lights were on the agenda. Only about 12 people were in the room, with the greater part not wanting to spend a lot of money. We were told at that time the State of Wyoming would give the City of Riverton $87,000.00 of the budget to make design choices to the 4 blocks of South Federal Boulevard.
No vote was taken on any of the many options that were given to the landowners, City or State workers in that meeting. The Mayor was at the meeting as was 1, both of us were wanting to find out the will of the people. Twelve people don't make up the will of all the people of Riverton.
We at the meeting were told the old fashioned faded green lights would cost us $300,000.00 for four blocks of South Federal Blvd., an additional cost to the City of Riverton of $220,000.00. Very few people in the room thought this was a good way to use the tax payers money.
At the same time we were told that Rocky Mountain Power would replace the existing lights with new lights at no cost to
the City of Riverton, this was in their budget as the power supplier of Riverton. They must maintain the pole also at their cost, but if we the City of Riverton wanted to pay for the new green lights and the cost of maintaining them forever we could do so.
The lights will cost the same if the State of Wyoming buys them or the City of Riverton buys them. It's still our money both ways. The price was reduced to make it feel better for the City of Riverton. This is not the last of the light cost. There is 16 to 17 more blocks on Federal to pay for, at the reduced price from the state (if the same great deal is still given in 2014 for the balance of Federal Blvd.) The cost is $89,000.00-plus, or at the higher or true cost $1.3 million to the tax payers of Riverton.
This is not about street lights its about our money. Government always knows the best way or better way to spend your money.
I. We will not get any money back for Rocky Mountain Power. (they save $2.1M)
2. The street will not be any better lit.
3. We will have to pay for all the maintenance of these lights forever.
4. Is it the better look, or the better way, or the better vote of the people?
This is how spending gets away from Government, it feels better and will cost just a little more than what we have to spend. I'm not for making Riverton look bad. I'm for making us look smarter in the way we spend our money. We don't need to spend money just because we can. We made this decision without even looking at the lights that wouldn't cost us anything.
I for one, would like government to spend our money better not cheaper. We can all see waste in Washington D.C., or the waste in the State offices but here at home it gets harder to see waste.
It should be noted that I voted against the spending of the $2 1,000.00 for the old fashion lights. Why spend your money for lights that we have already paid Rocky Mountain Power for in our month to month billing. I can live with of the vote, but it is going to cost us $ 100,000.00 of your dollars at best or was that better.