City of Laramie and the Laramie Plains Civic Center Foundation attorneys are continuing to work on dissolving the Laramie Plains Civic Center’s Joint Powers Board.
Both the Albany County Commission and Laramie City Council have to approve dissolving the board before it can happen, the County Commission approved in October, Laramie City Attorney Bob Southard said. Based on his communications with the City Council, they are also in favor of the move, he said.
“To dissolve (the Joint Powers Board) the city and county have to vote together to dissolve it,” Southard said.
“The city is also at this point generally in favor of dissolving and handing the Civic Center over to the nonprofit foundation.”
By transferring control of the civic center from government agencies to the Civic Center Foundation, which is a nonprofit organization, it could be easier for the Civic Center to receive more funding opportunities, Laramie Plains Civic Center Joint Powers Board treasurer Tim Gaddis said.
“That would open up all of those funding avenues for them to get a lot more grant funding,” Gaddis said. “It allows for a lot more grant opportunities and a lot more funding opportunities for them to do bigger projects.”
Joint Powers Board Chair Eric Sandeen said he is also in favor of dissolving the board as long as it continues to benefit the community.
“I am concerned, in a constructive way, that the civic center can continue to be a resource for the community that it has developed into over the last 10-20 years,” Sandeen said. “I want to see it remain a place for the public, where nonprofits and charitable organizations feel at home and is an incubator for artists, businesses and good ideas.”
Southard said part of the reason attorneys are still working on dissolving the board is because the city and foundation want to make sure the foundation maintains its a nonprofit status during and after the transfer.
“There is a tax issue because the foundation and the board want to make sure it is done right to protect the nonprofit status,” he said.
“We want to do all the correct research to make sure that if the city and county hand this over to the nonprofit, that they remain nonprofit.”
It is likely that the Joint Powers Board would maintain control of the civic center for several more months, Southard said.
“The one that this depends on is probably confirming the statues of the nonprofit entity after this transaction, which is probably going to take us into late spring to find out,” he said. “It is complicated to accomplish everybody’s main goals, the city and the county having the civic center and having it all done correctly and legally, it is not just as easy as handing over a piece of paper.”