CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Earlier this year, Cheyenne Mayor Patrick Collins expressed a goal of annexing county pockets surrounded by city boundaries. In June, the City Council took action to begin the annexation of 65 pockets containing 127 independently owned properties.
Although there has been support shown for the action, there are some who oppose it, especially around the city’s south side.
A Facebook group called “Laramie County Residents Against City Annexation” has been created and has put together a petition stating its opposition. The petition states:
The undersigned have bought property zoned in Laramie County in good faith, to be able to exercise the benefits and liberties thereof including, but not limited to, raising livestock, having controlled burns to manage their land, paying lower taxes, having reduced ordinances such as noise as it pertains to livestock and dogs, fireworks, machinery, etc., reduced regulations of conforming to external expectations as it benefits their personal and commercial interests.
The same undersigned did not consent or agree to having their personal and commercial real estate annexed by the City of Cheyenne, which would be to the detriment of the exercise of their rights, preferences and personal liberties. Laramie County Residents Against City Annexation
South Cheyenne resident Jodi Mandelias is part of that group. She expressed that she had moved to the county to have freedoms she cannot have in the city, such as owning livestock and avoiding city taxes.
“I think the biggest concern surrounding annexations would be an increase in taxes,” she said. “And there’s still a lot of distrust that what they’re saying would not actually be what happened. And especially right now with the inflation and everything that’s going on in the economy, depending on the amount of taxation … some people could potentially get priced out of their homes.”
Another issue with the annexations that residents have brought up is whether they would get help from fire and law enforcement in a timely manner.
“That leaves us in limbo, because we’re losing area and really revenue because that’s what we need,” Laramie County Fire District One Chief Derrick Middlestadt said.
Collins said his reason for beginning the annexation process was because of a fire about a year ago, during which Cheyenne police officers were directing traffic on a city road while waiting for a county fire truck to arrive.
“Fire District One is our partner down there,” Collins said. “You know, the unfortunate part of it is that those areas will not be financially contributing to the fire department in the future.”
Collins said an unintended consequence is damaging District One’s income.
“Operationally, we get along, because we were there to take care of the people regardless if it’s a city person, county person,” said Middlestadt of the relationship between the city and county departments. “Whether that’s providing a ladder, engine, manpower, you ask for help, we’re gonna give you ‘hell yeah.’ But then at the same time, when it comes to things like this annexation, they’ll turn around and not say a word.”
The City of Cheyenne has not returned Cap City News’ phone calls seeking information regarding its annexation process.