Laramie residents — and anyone else, for that matter — had the opportunity Wednesday to watch the Laramie City Council interview five applicants for the open council seat in Ward 1.
Former Laramie City Councilor Vicki Henry resigned earlier this fall because she was moving out of state. That created a vacancy in Ward 1, which includes parts of downtown as well as the West Side and West Laramie.
It hasn’t always been easy to find candidates in these parts of Laramie — although moving from seven wards to three via a special election in 2011 certainly helped. But that still didn’t guarantee there would be multiple candidates to choose from. The fact five people had the gumption and passion to throw their hats in the city council ring bodes well for our community. We want people passionate about being involved, and this shows just that.
Laramie city councilors and city administration also helped make the process as open and public as possible. Candidates answered many questions Thursday, some of which were covered in Friday’s story in the Laramie Boomerang. In addition to reading the story, we’d encourage residents to listen to all or part of the meeting recording at http://www.cityoflaramie.org/AgendaCenter/City-Council-1.
One area we would have liked to hear more from candidates on is what the city of Laramie can or should do to address cutbacks resulting from the multiple blows of state funding cuts. It’s gotten to the point where “Do more with less” could very well be the city’s modus operandi, and everyone serving on City Council will have to make tough decisions in the coming year.
Would candidates believe the city could increase revenues — this typically means higher fees somewhere for residents — to support the current level of service? Or are cuts to employees and city services their preferred route? These are questions with no simple answers, but we’d be interested to hear what the five candidates think would provide the best possible future for Laramie.
Whoever ends up being the next Ward 1 councilor should also be prepared for quite a bit of homework. Serving on City Council means taking in a constant flow of information from city staff, residents, state offices, nonprofits and more. The learning curve might be steep, but we’re confident any of the five could serve Ward 1 as long as they approach the privilege with diligence and dedication.
But no matter who is selected, we’d encourage all five candidates to strongly consider running in 2018. Campaigning for months clearly requires a much higher level of dedication than applying for an open seat, but all five candidates should be comfortable with running if they want to serve on City Council.