Although ballots will not go out for another five months, the Star Valley Town Council is already asking residents for their vote.
A yes on “home rule” would allow Star Valley to spend $7.55 million of projected revenue next year, money staff said is necessary to continue offering town services.
If the measure does not pass, the Economic Estimates Commission would calculate how much the town could spend based on population, inflation and expenditures, likely capping it at $2 million, said Town Clerk Lois Johnson.
“About all we could do is keep the lights on” with $2 million, she said. “So it is important we pass this.”
The alternative expenditure limitation, commonly known as home rule, does not affect taxes.
The state first started limiting city and town spending in 1980 after voters approved a spending limit formula.
Instead of town’s setting their budgets, the state used the formula to set it for them. However, the state recognized that
the formula may not be appropriate for all cities and towns so towns can formulate their own spending limit and present
it to voters for approval.
Star Valley voters initially approved home rule in 2008. The measure must be renewed every four years.
If voters had not passed home rule in 2008, it is unlikely the town could have afforded to pave nearly every road in town or buy the local water company, Johnson said.
In addition, Johnson said it is highly unlikely the council would misuse the higher spending limit, given the nearly $3 million it has banked since the town incorporated.
“We have a good council and good management,” she said.
Councilor Barbara Hartwell agreed, saying the council has handled the town’s money well.
“We are working for them and this is the only way we can keep working for them,” she said.
Before Star Valley can get home rule on the March ballot, it will hold two public hearings, where residents can comment.
The first hearing will happen Tuesday, Nov. 1 at 6:30 p.m. at town hall, 3675 E. Highway 260.
If the measure does not pass, Star Valley would be forced to curb its spending to the state-imposed limitation. The town would have to wait two years before putting it on the ballot again.
SV to form party planning committee
To hang mistletoe or not? Blinking lights or twinkling icicle strands?
With the holidays around the corner, Star Valley isn’t giving the Grinch a chance to spoil the fun.
At Tuesday’s regular council meeting, the council will form a holiday party and town hall decorating committee and set the date and location for a holiday party.
The 6:30 meeting, at 3675 E. Highway 260, also includes discussion on moving council meetings to the Lamplighter RV
Park during construction at town hall. Construction crews will soon be adding a small addition to town hall, adding a
wheelchair lift and modifying an existing bathroom to handicap accessibility requirements. Construction is expected
to take several months.