‘You make a huge difference’: Local groups offering general public services seek community funding in Riverton

    The majority of organizations that requested community service funding from the City of Riverton this year provide general public services.

    For example, the Riverton Volunteer Fire Department put in a request for $5,000 to support its benevolent fund, reserve account, and mutual aid account.

    RVFD Assistant Chief Jesse Cassity explained that the benevolent fund is meant to “directly help Riverton volunteer firemen in need in the event of a medical emergency or a death in the family,” while the reserve account supports projects “that directly benefit the members of the fire department” and the mutual aid money goes to spouses when firefighters die.


    He noted that the RVFD responded to 326 alarms last year, equating to “thousands of man-hours on scene and in training and maintenance of equipment” – and “we are entirely volunteer.”

    “We have zero paid staff,” he said. “So these guys put in a lot of time and effort.”

    There have already been 85 fire alarms this year, he added, up from 68 at this point in 2023.

    “Last year was a busy year, and this one looks like it’s going to turn out to be the same,” Cassity said.


    Mayor Tim Hancock thanked Cassity and his team for “what you all do.”

    “You make a huge difference to the community – and that can be demonstrated very easily with the fact that you’re left here holding the bag while everybody is off responding,” Hancock said.

    He was referring to the fact that most of the firefighters who attended the Riverton City Council meeting that night had left early to respond to a grass fire.


    “(That’s) where I’m headed after this,” Cassity said.

    Chamber of Commerce

    The Riverton Chamber of Commerce requested almost $70,000 from the city this year to continue promoting tourism and economic development in the community.

    The amount represents more than a third of the Chamber’s budget for the upcoming year, Chamber Treasurer Victor Allen said.


    “This is a big ask compared to years passed,” Chamber President James Bunker said. “But this is critical. … The Riverton Chamber has been the city’s most important resource in maintaining a healthy economic environment.”

    The funding from the city would help the Chamber “get things stabilized and revenues back significantly in the right direction,” Allen said.

    The Chamber has found it “difficult to be financially sustainable for the past several years,” Interim Chamber Director Julie Buller wrote in the Chamber’s funding request to the city, but “we strongly feel if we can get financial support from our community partners, that we can be viable.”

    “Our hope is that our community partners, including the City of Riverton, can financially assist in our efforts until we (can) offset your funding assistance with new and renewed Chamber members,” Buller wrote. “We recognize the Chamber is a membership organization, not a government-funded organization, however, until we can make headway with a new Executive Director, our membership-funded organization is not financially sustainable.

    “We hope the City understands the value a Chamber brings to the sustainability of our community as a whole and is able to provide such funding.”


    The Wind River Transportation Authority requested almost $50,000 from the City of Riverton this year to support “our strategic initiatives aimed at enhancing transit services and promoting public safety in Riverton.”

    “WRTA plays a pivotal role in providing essential transit services to Riverton and its surrounding regions,” WRTA Director Tim Nichols said in the WRTA funding request to the city. “Our mission is to meet the evolving transportation needs of residents, commuters, and visitors, and we have developed a strategic plan to guide our efforts towards this goal.”

    That strategic plan envisions an “expansion of route services” and the introduction of a SafeRide program designed to provide “safe and accessible transportation options for individuals traveling during late-night hours (and) on weekends.”

    “The SafeRide program will help mitigate the risks associated with impaired driving, ensuring that residents and visitors can travel safely to their destination,” Nichols wrote.


    The PAWS for Life Animal League requested $65,000 from the city this year to “make the living conditions of our animals better and improve the shelter’s functionality.”

    “We are in dire need of new outdoor kennels,” PAWS Board Chair Pamela Canham told the Riverton City Council this month. “They’re 20 years old, and they are coming apart, because they have very rambunctious residents in them – some of whom are capable of climbing up and out and over.”

    “Most” of the outdoor kennels and “many” of the indoor kennels need “major repair,” the PAWS funding applications says.

    “Doors are falling off and the chain link that encloses the kennels has been damaged, causing animals to be harmful to themselves and even escape in some instances,” the application states. “For the safety of the animals, staff, volunteers and visitors, it is imperative to make these repairs as soon as possible.”

    The facility also needs “a complete resurfacing of our outdoor kennel area,” which should consist of a “concrete pad that has drainage built into it,” the application states.

    Currently, Canham said, “there is no drainage” in the outdoor kennel area, so “when it snows and the snow melts it is a lake out there – and it’s not the kind of lake water you want to be in, trust me.”

    “We also need better drainage within the shelter in the kennel area (and) a hot water heater in the back of the building,” Canham said. “(And) our roof leaks horribly. …

    “We are asking for additional funding over and above what we normally receive from the city because of these needs we have.”

    CDS, IPR

    Child Development Services of Fremont County requested $113,600 from the City of Riverton this year.

    The organization serves children up to age 5 with developmental disabilities, and they are looking to “expand” in the Riverton area, executive director Courtney Hill told the council this month.

    “We still are in … a childcare desert or a crisis in Fremont County,” Hill said. “We’re trying to see how we can provide those services additionally here. We’d like to expand into childcare (and) extend our hours … year-round.”

    Injury Prevention Resources of Fremont County requested $9,500 to “maintain and execute” its roadway safety education programs as well as its DUI supervised probation and monitoring programs, all of which “aim to reduce crashes, serious injuries, and fatalities on Wyoming roads by creatively spreading information regarding occupant protection, distracted, and impaired driving.”

    “We are able to save a lot of lives and hopefully change a lot of behaviors through (our) programs,” IPR Executive Director Noel Cooper said. “(We) want to continue to try to make a mark and just remind people that for most of us the most dangerous thing we do in a day is get in a vehicle.”

    Seniors, Juvenile Justice, MMIP

    Wyoming Senior Citizens Inc. requested $12,000 to “modify the existing front entrance of our main office in Riverton to accommodate those members of the community who are disabled by converting our front doors to ADA compliant automatic opening doors.”

    “The main office in Riverton is the cornerstone of our agency as we offer services to seniors and disabled persons in Riverton, Fremont County, and across the state,” the WSC funding application says. “(We) assist over 2,000 seniors, disabled persons, and children through our seven programs each year.”

    Juvenile Justice Services of Fremont County requested $35,000 to support its work with “court-involved” local youth.

    “We handle all of the misdemeanor citations that come through,” Youth Services assistant director Hattie Calvert told the council this month. “This last year (our) Riverton office processed 256 citations.”

    That total included 91 alcohol citations – up from 68 the year before – and 52 drug citations – up from 47 the year before, Calvert said.

    She added that, “at this time last year when we stood in front of you we were not currently supervising any DUIs,” but “that has since changed.”

    “Our office is currently supervising five (DUIs),” she said. “That’s a big cause for concern for our community. Kids on the road are one thing, but (if they’re) under the influence it’s an increased harm to our community as well.”

    The local Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons organization,, requested $3,000 from the city to purchase awareness flags for display along Riverton’s Main Street, and the Riverton Lions Club asked for $9,800 to support the construction of an additional public restroom at Sunset Park.

    Funding for Riverton’s community service contracts comes out of the direct distribution the city receives each year from the State of Wyoming, staff said in a memo; the allocations are finalized during the budget planning process.

    For more information, call the City of Riverton at 856-2227.


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