Green River Star -

By Pete Rust
Mayor of Green River 

Notes from Town Square: Cheyenne trip pays off

 


The city has been provided the opportunity by the Green River Star to have different staff write an article in the weekly edition and for this week the schedule calls for a member of the Council or mayor to contribute so I thought I would let our citizens know about a trip myself, our new City Administrator Reed Clevenger, and our Solid Waste Supervisor, Linda Roosa made to Cheyenne last week.

We traveled to Cheyenne to appear before the State Land and Investment Board made up of the governor, the secretary of state, the state treasurer, the state auditor and the superintendent of public instruction asking for grant and loan money from the state to finance the closing of our landfill as required by federal and state mandates, as well as the funding of a transfer station to transfer our city’s waste to another lined facility in Sweetwater County to help prevent groundwater contamination, which is the goal of this whole program.

The Wyoming DEQ Solid Waste staff and the staff for the SLIB Board had recommended that we be granted $3.1 million in grant funds and $795,000 in a 20 year, interest-free loan. Solid waste management and wastewater are two of the most costly issues and the number one budget concern listed by cities and towns in Wyoming.

This funding recommendation was the result of many hours of preparation and meetings between Roosa and her staff, Jeff Nieters and his staff in the finance department and Misty Springer, our public affairs and grants administrator and others, as well as our engineering consultant. It was a true team effort.

Three communities had grants loans to be considered by the board, first up was Green River. Clevenger introduced our team, then thanked the board and staff for making a positive and generous recommendation for funding. He mentioned he would like to provide some facts as to why we would like to be considered for more grant funding, which would reduce the size of our loan funding proportionately.

Clevenger expressed three main points. First, that we tax ourselves through the sixth penny tax as much or more than other similar communities, the county’s residents recently voted to increase the lodging tax by one penny and that we have done our part in increasing landfill fees to help pay for this closure. It helped our cause tremendously in my judgment that the governor had just heard these same points last week in Rock Springs from Mayor Carl Demshar at a ribbon cutting he attended.

Finally, the DEQ staff that works with the city staff on landfill issues spoke up in our behalf by noting that Green River is the only city to submit closure and transfer station plans and that we have a unique and aggressive recycling program that other cities can learn from as it develops (and is funded) and therefore it would benefit many communities in the state that are planning to recycle, and further that we have a reputation over the years for running a great solid waste program. For all of these reasons, the representative from DEQ urged the SLIB to consider additional grant funding.

The governor noted that as chairman he could not make a motion, but stated that if he could, he would recommend reducing the loan by $295,000 and applying that amount to our grant. The motion was made by the state treasurer and we came home, smiling all the way with an additional $295,000 in funding.

What did I learn? We have a great team who did their homework well, and as a result we have an excellent reputation in this area with state staff who make critical recommendations to the politician/decision makers, and the fact that we do our part and more in funding community needs was justification enough for those decision makers to reward us with $295,000 of additional funding.

Finally, I learned that we should not take any recommendations for granted, because we sent a team and made the case for our position, we were given the consideration that resulted in additional funding. We ended by personally shaking hands and thanking the governor and all of his board members. We all rode home with a big smile, and the feeling of satisfaction that comes from a job well done.

 

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