UP to Microsoft, Cheyenne LEADS and local government officials for working together to make conditions right for the tech giant to announce plans to build two more data centers in the Capital City.

While it remains to be seen just how much these facilities will contribute to the diversification of the local and state economies, they definitely will add to the tax base, both in terms of property tax and sales tax on the energy used to power the computers within. If officials are correct, they will also lead to more opportunities for capital investment, high-wage jobs, philanthropic investments, etc.

The latter is no doubt true, as Microsoft has proven to be a good neighbor and community booster since it first arrived in the Capital City nearly a decade ago. It has invested in a variety of community projects, including the successful gBETA business startup accelerator program, a seven-week course that helps entrepreneurs get a better understanding of what it takes to run a successful business and connect with the resources to help ensure that success.

And even though data centers don’t usually require a large number of employees to maintain them once they go online, the fact local government leaders; LEADS, the economic development entity serving Cheyenne and Laramie County; and company officials worked together efficiently to make this happen is a good sign of what’s to come. In fact, the speed with which annexation of the south Cheyenne land to make the Bison Business Park possible happened proves that these things don’t have to take months or years to come together.

Of course, the Wyoming Legislature and Gov. Mark Gordon deserve credit, as well, for passing and signing a bill earlier this year that extended data center development incentives. All in all, we believe this announcement proves once again that when government and private industry work together, positive results can be achieved.

UP to the University of Wyoming Board of Trustees for approving a two-phase reorganization plan that moves and consolidates several academic programs without causing further layoffs.

Initially proposed in July by UW leaders, the main purpose of the reorganization was to help address an anticipated drop in state funding by saving $13.6 million, while at the same time funding new initiatives. Although up to 75 layoffs could have happened under the initial proposal, the change in focus from savings to modernizing and preparing UW for the future means no one will lose their job at this time. (There’s no guarantee it won’t happen in the future, though.)

What concerns us, however, is the rumblings we’re still hearing about unhappy faculty at the state’s only four-year public institution of higher education. To achieve the savings required to address the school’s budget issues, the plan calls for eliminating 25 vacant faculty positions and five staff positions. Other savings will be realized by cutting travel budgets, possibly raising parking fees and refinancing housing bonds.

Unless the Legislature provides additional funding in the next biennium to cover these budget cuts, the discontent is likely to continue. And while we know not everyone is going to be completely satisfied with the final outcome, applying the brakes and taking a closer look at the situation before moving ahead was a wise decision.

UP to St. Joseph’s Food Pantry, Needs Inc. and other nonprofits for helping ensure local residents in need had enough food for a nice Thanksgiving meal.

Thanks to dozens, if not hundreds, of volunteers, boxes were assembled containing turkeys and several side dishes, then distributed in a safe, curbside manner to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Now we turn our attention to the Christmas season, with the generosity of residents donating to the Empty Stocking Fund and Bar Bucks to fund $60 grocery gift cards so families can buy food for a holiday meal. To learn more, visit https://tinyurl.com/lccommunitychristmas2021.

UP to local business leaders for stepping up and providing money to back the 12th annual Community Challenge for United Way of Laramie County.

The leaders from Cheyenne Regional Medical Center, Express Employment Professionals, Halladay Motors, Charles Schwab, The Joannides Family Foundation, Jonah Bank of Wyoming, Union Pacific Foundation and Woodhouse Roden Nethercott, LLC, collectively donated more than $100,000 to match donations by individuals and other businesses in town during this year’s United Way fund drive, which continues through the end of December.

Now it’s up to the rest of us to give some of our money to make that match pay off. If you believe in the mission of United Way to produce healthy, educated and financially stable individuals and families through the work of its 25 partner nonprofits, please give what you can today.

For more information, and to donate, go online to www.unitedwayoflaramiecounty.org. Thank you.

WE WANT TO KNOW WHAT YOU THINK: Contact us via email at opinion@wyomingnews.com.

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