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Councilmembers amend 2024 budget to include funding for parking lot renovations

With the passing of the amendment, $127,280 will go towards renovating a parking lot in front of Kiwanis Community House in Lion's Park.

Councilmembers during the May 17 Committee of the Whole meeting / Youtube Screenshot.

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — During Wednesday’s Committee of the Whole meeting, councilmembers voted to amend the 2024 proposed budget to include funding for city parking lot renovations.

The council is currently in the process of reviewing the 2024 proposed budget report, which determines how much funding city departments and projects will receive for the next fiscal year. The mayor, city treasurer and department directors begin compiling budget reports in January. The reports need to undergo multiple budget work sessions, amendments and readings by the council before they can be approved in June.

During the meeting, Councilmember Pete Laybourn motioned for an amendment to remove $127,280 from Special Distribution Revenue Funds and allocate that amount toward Park Project expenditures under the Miscellaneous Division.

Appropriated from the state, Special Distribution funds are used to provide services to a city’s residents and businesses. The city’s Community Recreation and Events department manages any park-related projects, and funding for such expenditures falls under the Miscellaneous Division. The division accounts for costs that are considered citywide, including street city facility utilities and bond payments on parking garages. There was no funding allocated for Parks Projects in the original 2024 report.

Following the motion, Jason Sanchez, director of Community Recreation and Events, explained that the department does not receive fifth-penny funding to renovate parking lots. Also known as 1% Sales Tax funds, fifth-penny is an optional sales tax approved by voters every four years to be used primarily for street and road projects. There are roughly 46 acres of parking lots that the department looks after, and the $127,280 will be put to good use, Sanchez said.

Councilmember Michelle Aldrich asked what is restricting the department from utilizing fifth-penny funding on lot renovations.

Director of Public Works Vicki Nemecek said roughly eight years ago, the Public Works department determined that maintaining lots should be the responsibility of Community Events and Recreation and excluded from fifth-penny funding, which focuses mainly on public roads. Public Works already does not have enough funding to cover costs to maintain Cheyenne’s roads and right-of-ways, Memecek said, which is why she previously requested that the council amend the budget to allocate money for Park Projects.

“It’s not going to fix a lot of parking lots,” she said during the meeting, “but that was my ask, to give parks some money to do something to get to the point where they can maintain their facilities.”

Councilmember Ken Esquibel asked which parking lot Community Events and Recreation is looking to fix first.

Sanchez said the department wants to prioritize renovating the lot in front of the Kiwanis Community House, which is located in Lions Park. The estimated cost would be $150,000 to remove roughly two inches of asphalt and replace it with new material. Although the money will go toward the Lions Park lot, Sanchez said, others in need of renovation include the parking lot near the Children’s Village, Cheyenne Forestry and Cheyenne Junior League.

After being seconded, the amendment passed with only councilmember, Mark Rinne, voting against it.

The 2024 budget now has to go through a second and third reading by the council before its amendments can become official.