A family-owned daily newspaper serving Riverton, Lander and Fremont County, Wyoming since 1949

Fremont a penny-pincher when measured against most Wyoming counties

Jan 14, 2014 - By Eric Blom, Staff Writer

Fremont County's government continued to be scrupulous in fiscal year 2012 compared to other Wyoming counties.

Fremont County spent $825 per resident, less than three-fourths the statewide average.

Fremont County brought in $886 in revenue for each resident, according to a recently released Wyoming Department of Audit report comparing finances of Wyoming's 23 counties in fiscal 2012. The year before, spending was lower at $760 per resident and revenues were about $1,000 for each person.

The statewide mean for expenditures was $1,147 per resident, not including enterprise fund spending. Enterprise funds are entities like county-owned airports and hospitals.

Counties on average took in $1,310 per resident.

Counties not all the same

Such services are privately or city-owned in some counties, so excluding enterprise-fund expenses gives a better comparison of how counties spend on their residents.

By that comparison, seven counties spent less per capita than Fremont County, the lowest being Albany County (Laramie). The county of 36,299, according to the 2010 Census, had just $505 in costs for each resident.

Sublette County (Pinedale), population 10,247 according to the 2010 census, spent the most per person at $4,845. That figure is nearly twice the second highest, Campbell County's (Gillette) $2,498 in costs per resident.

With $7,054 in revenue for each resident, however, Sublette County could afford the splurge, and then some.

Fremont County spent a total of $33.1 million in fiscal 2012 and had revenues of about $35.6 million.

Road and bridge costs

The most expensive components of government were infrastructure, the Fremont County Detention Center and the Sheriff's Office.

Fremont County had $5.8 million in roads and bridges expenses, $4.7 million for the jail and $4.3 million for the Sheriff's Office, according to the report.

Only one county, Campbell, had more roads and bridges costs, having spent $6 million. Laramie County (Cheyenne) was just $15,000 behind Fremont County on infrastructure spending.

Fremont County has the fifth-highest population among Wyoming counties at slightly more than 40,000.

Jail expenses

Only the more populous counties spent more on their jails than did Fremont County, but six had more expenditures for their sheriffs. Those spending more on law enforcement were the four counties with more people, along with high-spending Sublette County and Teton County (Jackson).

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