- What are some of the most common complaints your office receives?
Often times, complaints received by my office are seasonally driven. For instance, in the winter, complaints can range from snow removal, to slick roads, to potholes, or to flooding caused by snow melting too fast. In the summer, complaints range from weed mitigation, to flooding from unusually severe thunderstorms, or to travel trailers and cars/trucks being illegally parked on streets. Every time I personally talk to someone about a complaint, I thank them for bringing the issue to our attention. When I do this, I’m trying to let our citizens know that we don’t have enough City staff to be everywhere in the City. So, we depend upon our citizens to be our “eyes and ears”. If someone sees something wrong or complains about some issue, we put it on our list and take care of it on a priority basis.
- What responsibilities does the Mayor have?
Since we do not have a City Manager form of government here in Rock Springs, my responsibilities usually involve more day-to-day involvement discussing and resolving issues. I would categorize my responsibilities into three main categories. Firstly, I deal with internal issues related to City employees and/or job functions; secondly, I deal with issues related to the citizens of the City; thirdly, I have an on-going dialog with other elected officials in the City and State (i.e., our City Council, other Mayors, County Commissioners, State Legislators, and the Governor’s Office). Again, because we don’t have a City Manager, my involvement is much more direct in dealing with day-to-day issues.
- What prompted you to run for Mayor?
I have always had an interest in politics. I was born and raised here in Rock Springs and have always had a love for, and a great sense of pride in the community. As a child growing up here, I remember when the only park we had in the City was Bunning Park with “Keep Off the Grass” signs, and Kiwanis Field was nothing more than a large dirt lot where we played our summer little league games. Obviously, the City has changed over the years as we now have several City Parks for our citizens to enjoy, we have the best public golf course in the state…if not, the region. Kiwanis is now a multi-functional facility for Little League Baseball and Youth Football, and we have two very fine indoor recreation facilities offering a wide-range of programs and activities to our citizens. When it is all said and done, I would like to think that I have made decisions and done things that have made Rock Springs a better place for our citizens.
- How has the most recent legislative session impacted the budget for the City of Rock Springs?
The most recent legislative session impacted us, as a City, on several different fronts. From an economic development standpoint, we will be receiving six additional Bar and Grill Liquor Licenses. These additional licenses will help us recruit businesses (primarily restaurants) to our city which, in turn, will expand our economic base. Presently, we have four Bar and Grill Licenses that are all in use. Since we did not have any of these licenses available, we missed some opportunities to bring businesses (requiring these types of licenses) to our community. Also, from an economic development standpoint, there were a couple of pieces of legislation that will allow the continued funding of our airport by the Aeronautics Division of WYDOT. Air service to any community is an essential building block of economic development. So, we feel pretty good about the long-term viability of the airport.
One piece of legislation that was passed, but, ultimately vetoed by the Governor was the elimination of Gun-Free Zones which would have allowed individuals to bring guns to any public meeting (City Council Meetings included). While I am a staunch defender and believer in our Second Amendment right, I believe that the allowance of guns into public meetings should be an issue addressed at the local level by local government.
- There have been some recent changes to city recreation fees. What prompted those changes and are any other cost-saving options being considered?
The recreation fees were increased across the board to help generate additional revenue for the City. The City presently subsidizes recreation very heavily in an attempt to keep recreation affordable for our citizens. For instance, the subsidy for the Civic Center is 86%, the Family Recreation Center is 75%, and the Wataha Recreation Complex is 49%. However, because of the downturn we have experienced with respect to revenues in recent years, we can no longer continue to subsidize recreation at the same level as shown above. Therefore, recreation fees were raised by 20%. At the same time that recreation fees were raised, the operating hours of the Civic and Family Recreation Centers were modified, resulting in additional cost savings. At this point in time, we are not considering any additional cost-cutting options. However, as we continue to evaluate our budgetary needs versus revenues, future rate increases and other operating adjustments are not out of the question.