Three weeks from today, voters will head to the polls, casting decisive ballots for who our next leaders will be in local, county, state and national offices.
At the city level, Powell voters will elect three City Council positions. Prior to Election Day on Nov. 2, we encourage local voters to know the candidates and issues.
Here's what we feel are the most important issues Powell councilmen face:
Landfill: For new councilmen who take office in January, the Powell landfill will close during their term on the council. Facing a scheduled September 2012 landfill closure, city leaders must decide where Powell's trash will go.
Likely, it will either be hauled directly to the regional landfill in Cody each day or stored at a Powell transfer station and then taken to Cody a few times a week.
Powell leaders favor the transfer station option, but it's unclear whether the county would assist in operating such a facility. Whether trash is hauled directly or stored at a transfer station, there will be an added cost for local residents.
City leaders need to evaluate the costs of each option and determine exactly how much it will cost Powell citizens, who already are weary of any increase.
Budget: With the national economy still in the doldrums, Powell — like many municipalities in the U.S. — must deal with a leaner budget.
Following funding cuts at the state level and anticipating tax revenue shortfalls, local leaders reduced this year's budget by about $5 million from the previous fiscal year.
While Powell may not have seen the end of funding cuts, we hope the next council continues to see areas to trim the budget so Powell withstands the current economic downturn.
Powell Aquatic Center: Four years ago, voters approved a 1-cent tax that funded Powell's pool. Swimmers are enjoying the new facility, but its future funding is quite worrisome.
In its 2010-11 budget, the city's projected revenue for the aquatic center is just $217,475, while its estimated operating expenses are budgeted at $829,728.
Though pool membership numbers are higher than originally anticipated, city leaders must find creative ways to keep the pool's operating costs low so it remains affordable to swimmers.
The aquatic center's first year is a crucial time to gather usage statistics and determine actual costs and revenue, but the next few years are even more important to ensure the pool isn't a drain on the city's budget.
Council candidates will discuss these and other issues during an Oct. 21 forum, sponsored by the local chapter of American Association of University Women. The forum begins at 7 p.m. at City Hall, and also includes candidates for the Park County Commission and Powell Hospital Board. A forum for Northwest College candidates takes place Thursday, Oct. 14 at 7 p.m. on campus.
In the weeks leading up to Election Day, become an informed citizen — show up at local forums and be ready to cast an informed vote Nov. 2.