The Riverton City Council denied five of the six funding recommendations it received from the local Evolve, Diversify, and Grow our Economy Committee this week, prompting a discussion about new strategies the city could use to decide how to spend its economic development money.
“We’ve got to connect somehow,” EDGE Committee member Leonard Kosirog said after the council made its economic development funding decisions Tuesday. “(We’re) truly trying to increase economic development, and we’re open to ideas. But just based on what we saw tonight … we’re very confused. …
“What is the council looking for?”
Even the council was “divided” on most of the economic development funding decisions they made during the meeting, Riverton Mayor Tim Hancock pointed out, agreeing with Kosirog that “more discussion” about the decision-making process would be “welcome.”
“I appreciate your work,” Hancock said. “It’s just that there’s a lot of things to be considering.”
Earlier in the meeting, Hancock referred to a conversation the Fremont County Association of Governments is having about ways local communities could work together to distribute their economic development funding in the future.
For example, Hancock said, local governments could pool some of their economic development money to help support the countywide ambulance service.
“I think that could be a good idea,” Hancock said. “It definitely bears discussion.”
FCAG also talked about allocating more economic development money to Central Wyoming Regional Airport to help cover “the increasing minimum revenue guarantee costs that we’re going to be facing,” Hancock said, or to the Wind River Transportation Authority to “help expand their services” and “better connect our different communities.”
“(FCAG) thought that would be a good idea,” Hancock said. “We thought it would be something that would be worthwhile to present to (our) governing bodies.”
Riverton City Councilmember Lindsey Cox suggested scheduling a work session with the EDGE Committee to discuss “what we would like to see” with regard to local economic development funding distributions in the future.
“We’ve definitely got to figure out how to distribute it,” Kosirog agreed.
The only EDGE Committee recommendation to receive approval from the council this week was for Carla Apodaca with Java Java Espresso.
Apodaca had requested $96,000 to support her $240,000 effort to open a new location on North Federal Boulevard, and EDGE recommended she receive $48,000.
The new location will support 10-12 new employees, Apodaca told the council Tuesday, adding that construction has already started on the project.
“It’s already in the process of being built,” she said. “We’re hoping to get it done late spring early summer.”
For more information, call the City of Riverton at 856-2227.