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City expected to trim funds for firefighters, R Recreation and other outside agencies

May 23, 2014 - By Alejandra Silva, Staff Writer

Riverton city staff has proposed a 15-percent reduction in funding for all nine agencies with contracts to provide city services.

Affected groups are Youth Service of Fremont County, the Riverton Volunteer Fire Department, Volunteers of America, the Fremont County Good Samaritan Center, the Paws for Life Animal League, the Children's Advocacy Project, the Riverton Chamber of Commerce, Injury Prevention Resources, and R Recreation.

"As we started the budgeting process this year, we've reviewed revenue projections and realized the money would be pretty tight," city administrator Steven Weaver said. "The reason we decided 15 percent across the board is (to) be fair and consistent with everybody.

"We don't want to be in the position of saying that one is better than the other."

The city gave about $400,000 last year in contracts for services. Weaver proposed spending about $340,000 for the next fiscal year, which starts July 1.

The cuts would help balance the city's budget, Weaver said, adding that Riverton's biggest source of revenue --sales tax income --has been falling behind "quite a bit" during the current fiscal year.

"We've been down this past year about 10 percent," Weaver said.

Most agencies attended the work session to remind the council of the services they provide using city funds. Some groups talked about the ways their work saves money for Riverton, while others outlined a lack of funding from other partnering municipalities or programs.

Some agencies were hoping to receive more funding from the city, or the same amount. Others planned to ask for less.

"This is probably one of the more difficult things we have to look at," Mayor Ron Warpness said. "All of these organizations and services that are provided to the community are essential to our community."

The employees made their recommendation during a May work session. The council took no action on the reduction proposal but will vote on the recommendation during a regular meeting.

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