UP to Cheyenne city officials and representatives from Homes by Guardian for reaching a voluntary agreement for the developer to start paying impact fees.
The $80,892 that Homes by Guardian will pay the city for the first phase of the Whitney Ranch development in east Cheyenne will go into the city’s Development Impact Fund, which is earmarked for enhancing Cheyenne Fire Rescue infrastructure. Currently, the city is in need of two replacement fire stations and soon will likely need another to cover the fast-growing east side. The sixth-penny sales tax might cover some of this work, but other revenue sources will be needed.
Mayor Patrick Collins said this agreement calls for the city to make such fees a requirement of all developers within the next two years, so the next step will be a new city ordinance. In the meantime, we applaud Homes by Guardian, Mayor Collins and city staff for getting the ball rolling.
UP to Amtrak for proposing new passenger rail service between Cheyenne and Pueblo, Colorado, as part of a nationwide expansion announcement that coincided with the Biden administration unveiling its proposed $2 trillion infrastructure plan.
Local officials, led by Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Dale Steenbergen, have been pushing for such service for years. Not only would it help take pressure off a frequently clogged Interstate 25, it could encourage more travel between the two states for business and recreation.
Of course, for it to be successful, the service will have to be affordable and at least as fast as driving. And we have concerns about whether the cost of developing the new line will allow it to become a reality. But we’re pleased to see the idea being discussed on a larger scale, with commitment from Amtrak leaders behind it.
UP to local law enforcement, court and government leaders for gathering to spotlight the ongoing problem of child abuse in Laramie County.
During a recent event at the Boys and Girls Club of Cheyenne, Mayor Collins and Laramie County Commissioner Gunnar Malm read proclamations declaring April to be Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month. Law enforcement officials, including Sheriff Danny Glick and Cheyenne Police Chief Mark Francisco, turned a spotlight on the fact that, in 2020, 1,155 of the state’s roughly 5,000 cases of child abuse happened here in Laramie County.
That is unacceptable, and we hope both they and prosecutors in the Laramie County District Attorney’s office do all they can to address this serious problem. But as CPD Officer Manny Fardella, a school resource officer, said, “Keeping our children safe is the responsibility of everyone.”
So what can you do? First, be aware of what’s going on around you. If you see a situation where you suspect a child is being abused, neglected or exploited, say something. (In fact, state law requires you to report it.) In Laramie County, you can report it to the Wyoming Department of Family Services by calling 307-777-7921, to the Laramie County Sheriff’s office by calling 307-633-4700 or to the Cheyenne Police Department by calling 307-637-6500.
Also, be willing to offer help to someone before a situation becomes abusive. The best referral you can make to a stressed-out parent is to 2-1-1, a free, confidential and multilingual service that will help connect them with the local groups and programs that can meet their needs.
These statistics are too shocking to sit idly by and shake our heads in disbelief. We must do what we can to help.
UP to state legislative leaders on the Management Council for assigning the Joint Revenue Interim Committee to review options for expanding Medicaid between now and a planned July special session.
But DOWN to lawmakers like Rep. Chuck Gray, R-Casper, who tried to argue that the topic was inappropriate for the weeklong special session, which will focus on how to distribute funds from the American Rescue Plan.
Mr. Gray and others tried to argue the issue shouldn’t go to the Revenue Committee, because it is a health care issue. But as House Minority Leader Cathy Connolly, D-Laramie, pointed out, the ARP contains up to $120 million to cover the state’s portion of the cost of extending Medicaid to residents who are at or below 138% of the federal poverty level. And with the feds promising more than enough to cover expansion costs for as much as a decade, this is a potential revenue generator for Wyoming, albeit temporary.
Besides, the Senate Labor, Health and Social Services Committee is where it died by a 3-2 vote earlier this month, so there’s no point giving it back to those folks.
We encourage lawmakers to embrace this opportunity to provide health care for more low-income residents and boost the state’s bottom line at the same time.