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County passes unique ‘flat’ budget not seen in 12 years

Laramie County is pulling in less money from property and sales taxes, which collectively account for over 80% of general fund revenue.

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CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Several of Laramie County’s central revenue streams are projected to be down for the upcoming fiscal year. However, the economy is ultimately in a healthy position.

On Thursday, the Laramie County Board of Commissioners held its budget hearing for the fiscal year 2025, which begins July 1. The total approved budget is $292,310,381, according to the county’s budget presentation.

During Thursday’s budget hearing, Laramie County Clerk Debra Lee said the upcoming year’s budget is unique compared any other from the past 12 years. She said the fiscal year 2025 budget is flat, meaning there are only marginal increases in revenue and expenditures compared to last year. The budget only rose by around $682,000, or about 0.23%.

A graph displaying the budgeted and actual general fund revenues in Laramie County over the past several years. (Jared Gendron/Cap City News)

“Laramie County’s budget preparation philosophy is to underestimate projected revenue and overestimate expenses,” Lee said. “This philosophy has served us well over the years, helping to ensure we live within our means.”

Lee explained that two of the county’s primary revenue sources have decreased over the past year. Property taxes decreased by about $2 million to $26.14 million. Stanley Walker, director of finance for Laramie County, said that property tax revenue from oil and gas production is responsible for the reduction in revenue despite an increase in personal property taxes.

Sales and use taxes have also declined. In a normal year, the county’s revenue budget typically grows 18%, Walker said. Combined, property taxes and sales/use taxes account for over 80% of the county’s general fund revenue.

A graph displaying sales and use tax revenue in Laramie County over the past several years. (Jared Gendron/Cap City News)

Despite a stagnant budget and downturn in some revenue streams, Lee said the county has every reason to be optimistic about its future. The county is experiencing a flux of activity and new businesses that will attract more businesses and residents, thus affecting economic vitality. Examples include data centers, off-track betting and gaming, manufacturing facilities, a solar project and developments at F.E. Warren Air Force.

“Although the 2025 budget has not seen the revenue growth of some prior years, Laramie County is well positioned as we head into the coming fiscal year,” Lee said. “This is principally the result of prudent fiscal management and wise stewardship of taxpayer funds.”

Walker highlighted other budget changes during Thursday night’s session:

  • General fund: Increased 13% to $146,350,769.
  • Optional sales tax: Decreased 20% to $14,182,701 due to lower collections in 2024 and economic slowdown.
  • Combined communications fund: Increased 38% to $3,064,434.
  • SPOT 2021 projects: Decreased by 22% to $34,552,090 due to economic slowdown.
  • Events Department: Increased by 18% to $2,570,156.

To view the county’s complete budget presentation, click here.


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