As many in our community are aware, the City of Casper administration is proposing a reduction in the amount of support allocated to the area nonprofits through the city’s one-cent tax program. This news was met with great concern by many of our nonprofit partners who are speaking up in opposition of the proposal to our city’s council members and administration.
Natrona Collective Health Trust shares those concerns and is opposed to the proposed reduction to funding for our nonprofits. Our CEO and Board expressed these concerns with our city leadership in the following letter to the City Council and City Manager:
Dear Mayor and Members of the Council:
The board and staff of Natrona Collective Health Trust are writing in response to the City of Casper’s proposed reduction of direct support for our community’s nonprofit organizations through the city’s one-cent funding. As a partner to many of the nonprofits affected, we are concerned about the impact of this decision as well as the process in making the decision. We ask that you continue to fund these partners through the one-cent program and encourage you to engage those affected by decisions in future decision-making processes.
Our recent analysis of the community’s needs found residents are struggling with mental and behavioral health issues, food insecurity, affordable housing, and childcare. The burden of addressing these issues falls heavily on our community nonprofits, who themselves are struggling with funding cuts due to the market downturn, rising costs due to inflation and employment, and increasing community needs as we recover from a global pandemic. Waitlists for services are often long due to the lack of financial support to expand services.
In order to move the needle on our community’s issues, these dedicated nonprofits must not only maintain their current funding sources, but they must also grow their funding. The City of Casper’s one-cent funding is a necessary lifeline for these organizations and the people they serve as it provides a predictable amount of multi-year support. The loss of that funding would be catastrophic to any progress these nonprofits have made and many of those costs would shift to city and county government to address needs unable to be met by nonprofits.
Additionally, we are concerned about how this decision was made and the lack of engagement with those affected by the decision. We understand and empathize with the difficult position you’re in with having so many needs and finite resources to address those needs. However, when drastic changes like this are proposed, those affected by those changes should be engaged in the decision-making process. If we can be helpful in organizing nonprofit leaders to help city administrators and/or council members to understand the impact of this decision, we’d welcome the opportunity to assist in this way.
Our board and staff implore the council members to reconsider the proposed allocation of this funding and continue to support our community nonprofits at the level they rely on to operate and make a difference in our residents’ lives.Meredith Benton, CEO & Beth Worthen, Board Chair
Community members and nonprofit leaders who share the desire to continue support of our nonprofits through the one-cent tax program are encouraged to reach out to their city council members to voice their concerns.