Pinedale OFFline
Pinedale, Wyoming 

Special Edition - April 1, 2015               Vol. XIV  

The Gloomy, Gloomy state of Economic Affairs in Sublette County and Wyoming

See this chart? All the lines are going down. Don't read the captions, just believe us when we tell you that must be bad. There are even multiple colors in this graphic showing several things at once and they all are trending down (mostly).

Here's another graph showing the crash in Wyoming. There's a little boink in the end, but it's still way below that high from a year ago.

And yet another graph showing that big drop over the past year.

This graph pinpoints the culprits.
Down, up, down, up, dowwwwwn, upppity up and see now we're in a down again.

Now let's switch to the sad state of affairs about grizzly bears and wolves. The map below shows all the areas in Yellowstone National Park and northwest Wyoming that don't have yellow dots showing grizzly bears. Why are they bunching up like that? Something needs to be done to spread those yellow dots around that map so it looks more even. We have a long ways to go to achieve diversity in the Equality State.

Thankfully, a reader just sent in a picture today of a bear that has found its way into the American Legion Park in Pinedale and was lounging around enjoying the nice sunny spring weather, so we know we can move at least one of those yellow dots over on the map down to Pinedale. We're proud of our reputation as being very friendly and welcoming to all our 4-legged friends.

The wolf map below doesn't have colorful yellow dots like the griz map, but does a little bit better job of spreading the peas around the plate to get those circles more evenly spread around the map. There needs to be some unbunching done to encourage those dots out of the mountains and over into the flatlands a little bit more, but this is a great start. It's good to see some of those dots over in Washington and Oregon now finally too, but more work definitely needs to be done to either add more dots or spread these out more in the region.

Here's a map with color for wolves! Without commenting on color choice (purple is not a primary color, people), we can see that the left half of this chart doesn't have uppy columns like the right half does. Where is the equality in this display? We're trying to even things out so we don't have these devastating highs and lows. And why weren't those bar colors for the states put in alphabetical order, I then M then W?

Moving closer to home, data in the most recent reports state that Sublette County is producing less than 50% of the state's natural gas. Our gas fields were touted as being a big deal, and now our trillion cubic feet production numbers only have 1's in them? We should be doing much better than that, but sad to say it's a sign of the times with The Bust we're in now.

Two graphs below show the decline. Government never likes to see that tax line go down. Time to tighten the belt for sure.

The County bit the bullet with a stern fiscal mentality and implemented a 10% across-the-board cut in expenditures in 2014. They did their best to make ends meet with their $207 million dollar total County budget. Balancing keeping up with paving the County’s deteriorating roads with a R&B budget of only $21.4 million, they were cognizant of the hard economic times and voted to only assess the tax rate in the County at 12 mills to at least get $41 million dollars in new tax revenue into the dwindling County coffers. Their cash reserves are spiraling down to $10 million dollars for cash flow for County government operations.

Here is the proof in green and white that some of the companies operating in Sublette County are definitely not paying their fair share out in the gas patch. We always get suspicious when the percent columns don't add up to 100%. Who isn't being reported in this list???

This graphic below is much better, the Percent column adds up to 100%. But the Assessed Value column has obviously been rounded off to a whole number when the Percent column goes out to two decimal places. Inconsistency like this in data reporting leaves the public with a rumbly in the tumbly that something is being missed here in the AV column. And again, the Property Class column isn't alphabetized correctly.

With the dwindling County revenues, the County Commissioners were only able to squirrel away $9 million dollars into the County reserve accounts in the new budget, barely moving the needle upping the total County reserve of $144 million dollars. Back in 2008, the County reserve accounts hardly held $50 million for rainy day peanuts. Managers were only able to give County personnel a 3% salary increase in 2014. The County Courthouse building and office renovations that were completed ten years ago are sadly outdated and managers are in a planning process now to bring them up to date.

Drilling down even further, here are the statistics for Pinedale. This less than $30 million budget is down from 2011’s $34 million and the $39 million budget the year prior. According to their last report, Pinedale began the year with $21.4 million in cash on hand and anticipated gaining only about $5 million in new revenue for their general fund, a fraction of what the County was able to nest egg for rainier days. We commend the government officials who were able to balance their revenues and expenditures over a whole year down to the single dollar assuring us they are scrutinizing every penny.

Now let's look at the dismal picture for employment in Sublette County, Wyoming. This text block says it all. Citizens in Sublette County have seen a significant drop in their per capita personal income with The Bust, and the US Dept of Commerce Bureau of Economic Analysis can also peg this data down to the last single dollar and tenth of a percentage point. In these hard times, the numbers have to be watched very, very carefully.

The graph below has a lot of lines on it to try and follow and no colors to make it more eye appealing, but it crams a lot of important data into it to show a stagnant period, then an Up and now a Down. If you look really close, you can see they've creatively used circles and squares for dots in the lines and there are even three shades of grays in the lines to maximize the graphic data display.

The Pinedale Online Job Board had an average of only 15-25 job listings on any given day in 2014-2015 for desperate unemployed people to pick through to find gainful employment in the area. High school students and non-skilled laborers desperate for a job, any job, understand that lower-paying, unskilled service jobs are stepping stones to pay the bills until better paying jobs can be found. Desperate unemployed young workers, and those struggling to get off unemployment, snapped up these job choices that remained on the Job Board sometimes for months for hotel housekeeping, retail sales clerk, counter clerk, waitressing, and deli job openings. The desperation of these employees and of the employment sitation as a whole in the county, was painfully clear as employer after employer called us to say they had a turnover and tell that next hungry person on the long job waiting list to call or come over for an interview. The streets of Pinedale were like a ghost town with only 27,000 visitors recorded stopping in at the Visitor Center in Pinedale in 2014 who might be enticed to stay overnight in a motel room or spend a few pennies in a local downtown shop, or dine at one of the local eateries.

The graphic below gets to the heart of the matter of where Wyoming is at for business friendliness and why we have the "blues" right now with our current economy. No cheery orange in Wyoming. Even Washington DC gets the colorful orange fill color and are rated #45 out of 50. And sunny California, the Golden State (which kind of matches its color on the map!!) beat out the feds in Washington DC by 3, ranking 48. This map definitely is strong graphic support demonstrating the impact of tax climate change for Wyoming and across the nation.

Finally, more Doom and Gloom in stark black and white that illustrates why Sublette County is feeling the full impact now of The Bust. We're surrounded by other counties that have given up and filled their color blocks with depressing black. No hope here when the people around us on three sides are throwing in the towel and giving up with solid dark fill colors. At least Sweetwater County is willing to go with a shade of gray. We hate to see what this map would look like if the data was Seasonally Adjusted, and the percentages were taken out to two decimal points instead of just one. With all this bad news, it's no wonder they didn't use color here.

That's the story for where we're at with The Bust, explaining our bleak down-turn economy in Sublette County and Wyoming right now. There doesn't appear to be anyone with a crystal ball that gives hope that the light at the end of the tunnel isn't a train. The good thing these graphics do show is that with downs there appear to eventually always be ups, and we just need to weather this storm until the sun comes out again and we can bring out the Big Box with 96 colors to make graphics with bright cheery colors again. Until then...



Pinedale OFFline (2015)

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Disclaimer: Pinedale OFFline is an April Fool's Day edition of Pinedale Online. All stories and persons quoted here are generally fictitious and photos shamelessly digitally altered for this special edition. No real persons or entities mentioned on this website can be held responsible for claims made by Pinedale OFFline.