Commission denies contract funding for Lovell, Inc.

by karla pomeroy

The Big Horn County commissioners denied funding for Lovell Inc. for the 2014 fiscal year.

In an official letter to Lovell Inc. President David Peck, the commissioners wrote, “The commission is pleased that Lovell Inc. was able to secure the Wyoming Business Council funding for the economic development planning project. We are very supportive of the work of this project and recognize the strong need for countywide economic development. We also understand the valuable role that a well-developed plan has in guiding economic development. We also understand the valuable role that a well-developed plan has in guiding economic development and increasing the opportunity for greater success of all efforts toward improving the economy of our county.

“Unfortunately, Big Horn County will not be able to contract for or fund the work you proposed in your contract at this time. Big Horn County has received substantial cuts in our funding over the past few years and future revenue projections don’t provide any indications that things will improve in the near future.”

The commissioners continued, “We appreciate the partnership we currently have with Lovell Inc. and the goals of your entity to improve the economy of this county. Despite the fact that we are not able to contribute to this effort financially at this time, please be aware we support your work and will help in any way possible.”

Lovell Inc. had also made a similar request and provided a scope of work to the town of Basin. Basin’s budget, approved last week, has $10,000 for economic development efforts. In a summary budget statement, Mayor Amy Kania said the town is considering a proposal from Lovell Inc. but the council has expressed hesitation for the entire funding going to the group. Kania wrote in her message that the town “is also considering the chamber of commerce to fulfill a specific role. Funding has been earmarked in this budget with spending to await a final agreement or specific development effort.”

As for the grant, the commissioners signed the contract with the Wyoming State Loan and Investment Board for the economic development planning grant.

Lovell Inc. Director Sue Taylor said they have a few of the towns who have appointed representatives to the master plan committee to select the consultant and to work with the consultant on developing a countywide economic development master plan.

She said Lovell Inc. has added two websites — growbighorncounty and growbighornbasin to provide more information countywide.