Air service, 1 percent tax, Job Corps among Weaver's high pointsFeb 1, 2017 By Alejandra Silva Staff Writer
With the City of Riverton set to confirm the resignation of city administrator Steven Weaver on Tuesday, Feb. 7, the Arizona-bound official cites the completion of several projects as accomplishments during his tenure of five-plus years.
When he arrived in Riverton in 2011, Weaver, said, the city had four big focuses: acquiring Wind River Job Corps; acquisition of a piece of Wyoming Honor Farm property from the state and re-selling it for development; Riverton Regional Airport improvements and better air service; and securing the optional 1 percent sales tax to help improve roads and other infrastructure.
"We got all four of those accomplished," Weaver said. "I'm not taking credit for all of it, but I helped in the process."
It took planning with many different people, organizations, government officials, legislators, and community members to accomplish those goals, Weaver said.
"These are the four things I saw that I needed to focus on when I got here," he said. "It's been the work of many individuals and generations."
The Riverton City Council officially will announce the resignation on Tuesday, with Weaver's last day set for March 1. He has been hired for an administrative post in Casa Grande, Ariz.
The council will decide wether to fill the vacancy on its own or retain an outside firm to find and review initial candidates.
In the interim, Weaver said public works director Kyle Butterfield, Riverton Police Department chief Mike Broadhead, or community development director Sandy Luers could handle the job temporarily. All three are familiar with the budget process that is set to begin in March for the city, he noted.
Weaver said he hopes the next city administrator can continue to maintain funding and support and accomplish the tasks that will come attached to those projects and new ones.
The North Federal Boulevard reconstruction project scheduled to begin this year will require caution with its budget, he noted.
"That's a big one," he said. "That's one we all lose sleep over."
The city has estimated the cost for North Federal work.
Most of the funding will come from the state, but if the city receives bids higher than expected, then the budget might have to be altered, Weaver said.
"It could be a tough budget year again if the bids are higher," he said.
The budget process for 2015-2016 was a particularly difficult time during his career in Riverton, Weaver said, as a drop in local sales tax revenues hit to the city hard.
Sales tax revenues that go to Riverton were down 15 percent compared to prior years.
"This is the first year where we had some significant shortfalls and had to take action," Weaver said. "The hardest part was trying to figure out some solutions to it."
The goal at the city was not to lay off any employees, he said. The first strategy was not to fill positions vacated by retirement, keeping all current employees on the payroll.
"It's hard when you're dealing with people and people's lives, and you're thinking about what philosophy to take," he said.
In his last budget process, Weaver said he not only called in department heads to provide input but also other city employees to contribute. The move created a team effort and an "all-together" position on the budget process, Weaver said.
If the city had to, it would implement furlough days rather than eliminate positions, he added, and if it came down to it, he would rather not get paid for a couple of days of work in order to allow someone else to get paid.
The drop in sales tax hit other cities and towns as well. More people in Riverton, Fremont County and the state lost their jobs, which means they had less disposable income and didn't spend as much money in the city.
Weaver said the numbers are reported a couple of months behind, and the city is looking forward to seeing how much people spent locally during the holidays.
Weaver felt he was part of a team that made effective choices to keep people in the city. He expressed appreciation for the collaborative efforts of everyone who was involved. He said he felt blessed to have worked for different council members, mayors and staff.
"They've been good," he said. "It's been a good time."