Green River Star -

By David Martin
Editor 

Green River closes solid waste division, revenue improves

 

December 27, 2017



For Green River’s municipal government, 2017 was a year of change and cautious optimism.

The biggest change came when the City Council decided to close the solid waste division and contract with Wyoming Waste Services to manage the city’s garbage collection. The decision came as the city prepares to close its landfill. Stricter regulations from the Wyoming EPA has caused a shift from municipal landfills to regional landfills across the state, which locally has caused the city to build a transfer station to collect waste for disposal at the Solid Waste District No. 1 landfill outside Rock Springs. A utility study completed earlier in the year recommended a large-scale increase in the fees charged for the city’s solid waste services, which would culminate in a monthly bill of more than $41 a month for standard service.

The study prompted city officials and the Council to solicit proposals from private waste management companies. Wyoming Waste Services ultimately came out on top, with the Council approving a 10-year contract that allows the company to operate its transfer station and collect trash. However, that also meant the city had to cut its solid waste department.

Employees within the department were given a severance package to be paid out in early January and service will be switched to Wyoming Waste Management Jan. 2. Full-time employees will receive a lump sum equal to 28 weeks of pay, while part-time workers will receive a sum equal to a third of their wages earned between Nov. 1, 2016 and Oct. 31.

Budget and revenue

Green River, along with the Rock Springs and Sweetwater County governments, was forced to tighten its budgetary belt earlier this year due to declining revenues. The city continued to budget itself with the goal of keeping services while dealing with less revenue.

However, it isn’t all doom and gloom for the city’s revenue picture. Starting in June, sales tax revenues climbed to approximately $1.3 million. Excluding sudden spike in revenue totaling $1.8 million in September, on account of a project at Simplot Phosphates south of Rock Springs, the monthly revenue has remained in the $1.3 million range, $500,000 more than initially projected during the budget.

This change resulted in Mayor Pete Rust saying he was cautiously optimistic about the future for the city’s revenue picture.

Tomahawk sold

Green River Futures Inc., announced the sale of its Tomahawk Building in April to a group known as Green River Opportunities Wyoming, a company formed by investors with ties to Green River. The company plans to create mixed-use spaces within the building and have been working on improving the interior since the purchase. Mike Frink, a member of Green River Futures, said the money from the sale will be used in a downtown improvement project.

Departures

The Green River Police Department is in a transitional period after its police chief, Chris Steffen announced he would take a position with the Muley Fanatics Foundation in November. Steffen worked in the department since 1992 and replaced John Love as chief in 2011.

Rebecca Eusek, the Green River Chamber of Commerce’s CEO, vacated her position this year to take a role at the Wyoming Business Council. Eusek was employed by the chamber for five years. Eusek’s replacement, Irene Parsons, was hired in August, but has also left the chamber.

 

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