Thermopolis Independent Record - Your source for news in Hot Springs County

By Cindy Glasson
Reporter & Photographer 

Cost of government in Hot Springs County


The State of Wyoming’s Department of Audit has released their report on the cost of county government throughout the state for 2016.

Included in the report is the amount of taxes collected in each county and how that money is spent. All the numbers are collected and a database created, based on information reported by each county clerk.

Hot Springs County is the second smallest county, by population (4,812), in the state. The least populated county is Niobrara, with just 2,484 citizens.

On the top of the scale is Laramie County with a population of 91,738, followed by Natrona County with 75,450 residents.

Hot Springs County brings in $3,078,757 in taxes, which is then supplemented by Direct Federal Aid, State Aid, direct payments from other counties, charges for services and other miscellaneous revenue for a total of $11,983,746 for the year.

Taking revenue and expenditures into consideration, Hot Springs County spends approximately $4,673 per person while the average for taxes per person in the county is only $911.

For perspective, Johnson County, with a population close to double that of Hot Springs County, gathers over $2,600 per person, on average, in taxes.

Our neighbor to the north, Washakie County, brings in less than $600 per person in taxes, and spends $600 per person to run their county government.

A breakdown of where the money goes includes a few things such as the County Commissioners, which costs the county $85,515 per year, compared to Johnson County’s $212,000.

Our Sheriff’s Department is allotted $365,000 for the year, while in Johnson County they’re spending $1.2 million. Washakie County’s budget for their sheriff’s department is triple that of Hot Springs County.

The cost of keeping our jail going runs a little over $351,000 compared to another $1.2 million dropped in the jail at Johnson County. Washakie County spends about $575,000 on their jail.

There is something to be said for living in a less populated area, as Laramie County pays $9.4 million for their jail.

We have 235 miles of county roads in Hot Springs County that are maintained by the Road and Bridge Department. On average, we’re spending nearly $2,000 per mile to maintain those roads.

It is amazing what our county’s Emergency Management can do with their small budget of $25,000 per year. They have created plans for all manner of emergencies, including tornadoes, fire and a complete dam failure. Some of their funding is also going into plans for the total solar eclipse coming this summer.

Some of the smaller expenditures in the county include just $214 spent for circuit court/drug court and $10,500 goes toward juvenile probation costs.


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