At the June 18th Campbell County Commissioner's Meeting, the commissioners took a break from the scheduled agenda to allow Gillette resident Dave Allison time to speak. Allison, who commonly makes appearances at Gillette City Council meetings to convey his opinions to city leaders, requested time to encourage county leaders to press city officials to invest funds in the Air Enhancement Agreement with the State of Wyoming, Aeronautics Division, and Sky West Airlines, to provide commercial air service between Gillette and Salt Lake City, with a connection through Rock Springs.
After to meeting, Commissioner's Chairman Dan Coolidge provided his thoughts on Allison's comments:
Campbell County has participated in the Air Service Enhancement Agreement since fiscal year 2008/2009, and according to Coolidge, has contributed over $1.4 million dollars to the agreement during the past five years. Coolidge says in the next fiscal year, the cost of the agreement is projected to be over $2.4 million and the amount of state funding will be reduced. The county is looking at an obligation of approximately $800,000 to $1,000,000 in one fiscal year and on May 23rd, 2013, requested city leaders to budget a $250,000 contribution in Fiscal Year 2013/14. Coolidge adds that the commissioners feel the investment from the City of Gillette is necessary for continued commercial air service for Northeast Wyoming.
Campbell County Administrator Robert Palmer said in an e-mail that the county invested $474, 593 in matching funds this fiscal year for the agreement compared to $296,557 last fiscal year. During a public hearing on the Gillette City Budget June 17th, Allison was one of two individuals to inquire at the hearing about the absence of any city funds arranged for the air service subsidy. The issue was brought up again by Allison at Tuesday's Campbell County Commission Meeting.
Gillette City Administrator Carter Napier provided these comments on why city leaders chose to wait for more information before their body decided to invest any funds this fiscal year:
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