The Busy Fall Season Looms
By: Pete Obermueller, WCCA Executive Director
Beginning August 30th I will be attending meetings of the Title 25 Task Force, the Joint Corporations Subcommittee on Municipal Powers, the Mineral Tax Task Force, the Special Districts Task Force, the full Joint Corporations Committee, the Joint Revenue Committee, the WCCA meeting at WACO, and the WIR Board meeting in successive weeks. Additionally, I have visited or will soon visit the Commissioners in 17 of the 23 counties. This is a lot of road time, which I always enjoy, but means I will be away from the office a good bit in the coming two months. Don’t hesitate to call my cell phone anytime, but also feel free to call Kelli Little, who has assumed the role of Deputy Director, if you need anything.
These fall legislative meetings are critical because these are the meetings when legislators begin to make final decisions on draft legislation. Please take a moment to review the agendas for Revenue (agenda) and Corporations (agenda) and other committees. Remember, all committee notices and agendas can be quickly accessed on any computer or device in the Commissioner Dropbox folder (Still haven’t gotten Dropbox to work? Worried it’s too difficult or confusing? Call Kelli and she will help you get set up).
The WCCA Board of Directors set as a goal that Commissioners will attend every interim meeting. In Corporations we are following issues related to election law changes, extra-territorial jurisdiction, and political subdivision deposits. In Revenue we are following major issues regarding local option taxes on food, and the proposed wind tax. In addition, the Revenue Committee has drafted a bill to eliminate all sales and use tax exemptions and asking those that support specific exemptions to make that case. I am interested to hear from Commissioners and partners which exemptions you feel are important. Additionally, if you feel like an agenda item in any other committee warrants our closer attention, please reach out to me so we can adequately prepare for possible testimony.
Along with your colleague, Commissioner Paul Vogelheim, I have learned a great deal over the past two months regarding Special Districts. In response to this I have set aside time at our fall meeting in Laramie to get an update on the task force and also on tools and authority you currently have regarding special districts. Hint: it’s more than you think. I look forward to the discussion that will surely happen regarding this issue.
It is that time of the cycle when we need to take a close look at the Commissioner Handbook to update it and correct it for new Commissioners that will join our ranks. If that document has been collecting dust on your shelf, do us a favor and crack it open for another (or first?) read. You can also find it on Dropbox. It will remind you of things you may have forgotten, but you will also notice items that need edits. Your help will ensure new Commissioners can climb the learning curve faster.
Keep in mind that at our winter meeting (Save the date: December 7-9 in Lusk) you will elect a slate of officers for the WCCA. President Ladwig will appoint a nominating committee per our bylaws at WACO in September, so if you are thinking you’d like to step into a leadership role those Commissioners are the ones you will want to pigeon hole in Laramie. In addition, we will have significant turnover on our committees, which will also require Presidential appointment. Please consider if you are willing to head a WCCA committee.
Finally, Kelli and I are instituting a couple of new efforts to improve our communication and services to Commissioners. In the coming weeks Kelli will be putting together an ad hoc committee on meetings to explore ways to improve our meeting content and efficiency. Please consider lending your thoughts to Kelli on this. Additionally, I have already begun a more intentional program of reaching out to all 91 (soon to be 93) Commissioners by phone in the state on a more regular basis. So don’t be alarmed if I call you out of the blue with no real agenda other than to hear what you are working on and listen to your thoughts about what I need to be working on.
Hope you all have a great last few days of summer, and a fantastic autumn.