County expects another 10% budget cut
Assessor is hopeful for 4th quarter report
Another 10 percent reduction is expected to occur for the 2017-2018 budget, but county officials are hopeful the worst is behind the county.
“It is what it is,” Commissioner Don Van Matre, said.
According to County Assessor Pat Drinkle, the county assessment is expected to be down $250 million from last year, and is estimated to drop between $2.05 billion and $2.1 billion. Last year, the assessment finalized at $2.298 billion.
With each loss of $100 million in the valuation, the county’s budget is impacted by about $1.2 million. A loss of $250 million would result in about $3 million less in the county’s budget for the 2017-2018 fiscal year.
Drinkle said she uses quarterly reports issued by the minerals division at the Wyoming Department of Revenue to make her estimates, which are based on mineral production during the calendar year. The first six months weren’t great for Sweetwater County according to Drinkle.
“The first six months, it was sad. It was very sad,” Drinkle said.
Despite the decrease in valuation, Drinkle believes there is reason to hope for good news in the fourth-quarter report, which is expected to be released in April.
The last report, which covered the July-September period, showed a slight increase in mineral production in the oil, natural gas and trona industries. While trona production has remained mostly stable during the economic downturn, huge losses have occurred in oil and gas. Trona was the main contributor to the county valuation last year, but oil and gas valuations are what contributes most to the highs and lows seen in the county’s valuation.
(Trona) helps us ride out the highs and lows of oil and gas, Drinkle said.
Drinkle believes if the county can ride out the next fiscal year, the financial situation for the county should improve for the 2018-2019 fiscal year.
“Things should continue to improve for next year,” Drinkle said.