Commissioners Start Budget Meetings

Sheridan County commissioners will start meetings this week with other county elected officials and department heads to discuss budgets for the new fiscal year that starts on July 1.

Sessions will start Monday morning with the county sheriff, IT, the University of Wyoming Extension office and the public works department. On Tuesday, commissioners will meet with the sheriff to talk about detention facilities.

Commission Chairman Steve Maier said the commissioners have asked that budgets not exceed what they were last year, and that they be reduced where possible.

Maier said sales taxes continue to decline, but on a brighter note, he said there are no additional cuts from the state at this time. He said property valuations appear to be about the same as last year, but commissioners don't know if the county will receive any revenues from minerals, which are primarily natural gas.

Another uncertainty that has commissioners concerned is the federal payment in lieu of taxes, also called PILT. Maier said the county normally gets about $1 million from the federal government for the Bighorn National Forest lands in the county.

But, he said, the funds haven't been appropriated yet, and the $1 million in PILT money is a big part of the county's $12 to $14 million operating budget.

He said although PILT remains a question mark, commissioners think they'll get through the next year with about the same level of funding as the current year.