City of Cheyenne to consider $5M budget increase - Cheyenne, WY Cap City News
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City of Cheyenne to consider $5M budget increase

The restored Wyoming State Capitol building is seen at night on Feb. 11, 2020, in Cheyenne. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — The Cheyenne City Council will consider a $59,636,705 proposed general fund budget for the 2023 fiscal year, an increase of $5,753,486 over the current fiscal year.

The city announced it will host several work sessions to review the budget. The meetings will take place May 4–13 from noon to 1 p.m. in the Municipal Building Council Chambers at 2101 O’Neil Ave. The meetings will be livestreamed on the city’s social media pages, through a Zoom link available at www.cheyennecity.org/ecm, and televised on Spectrum channel 192.

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The general fund is one part of an overall projected Fiscal Year 2023 budget of more than $110.5 million. This includes projections of $7.98 million for special revenue funds, $13.63 million for capital project funds, $6.11 million for the internal service fund, $23.16 million for enterprise funds, and $3,000 for the permanent fund.

Cheyenne operates on a fiscal year that starts July 1 and ends June 30.

The main portion of this budget goes to the City’s Payroll and Benefits, which accounts for 73.4%, or $43,781,589, of the budget. That’s up more than $4 million from the previous year, according to the proposed budget.

Photo from the 2023 Proposed Annual Budget

The proposed budget states that there are several factors leading to the increase, including a $1.50 per-hour wage increase and the reinstatement of longevity pay. There also have been 15 positions added across several departments, including four police officers and five animal control positions. The mayor has approved several more staffing requests, the proposed budget states.

The breakdown for staffing is $26,289,448 for full-time employee salaries, $1,552,433 for overtime, and $1,782,877 for seasonal and part-time staff wage expenditures. 

The increase in the budget comes from high inflation, increased salaries and the rising cost of insurance, Mayor Patrick Collins wrote in his mayor’s message. “Expenses like payroll, property and liability insurance, vehicle fuel and maintenance, and gas and electric utilities have increased significantly. Ammunition costs for our police department are up 300%,” he wrote. 

The good news is our new revenues have matched the increased expenses. The bad news is there was minimal revenue to add the positions lost during COVID,” he added.

The primary drivers of the General Fund revenues are sales and use taxes at 36.9% and property taxes at 11.3%, with other revenue sources being gas and electricity franchise fees, special distribution from the state, federal mineral royalties, building permits, severance taxes, vehicle taxes, gas tax, historic horse racing, miscellaneous rentals and leases, and transfer from the solid waste fund.

Our economic future is bright, but the near-term economic future is uncertain at best. Sales tax makes up more than a third of our General Fund revenues. It is our number-one revenue source. Staggering inflation combined with supply chain shortages may challenge our consumer spending projections. We will need to watch the trends to ensure we have a stable budget heading into this coming fiscal year,” Collins warned.

Regarding the city’s debt, the general fund debt as of June 2023 is $4,295,000. The annual payment is set at $638,332, which is $600,000 toward the debt principal and $38,332 for interest costs, with the debt projected to be paid off in April 2028.

The Solid Waste Fund Debt, however, is projected to be paid off in June 2023. There are also two debts for equipment purchases for Cheyenne’s firefighters. The first was for 70 portable emergency two-way radios, with the debt as of June 2023 totaling $98,333, to be paid off in November 2023. The second was for 76 Self-Contained Breathing Apparatuses (SCBAs), which include facepieces, spare air bottles, and other ancillary equipment necessary for the apparatuses to be used. That debt will be paid off in February 2023, according to the proposed budget.