Mayor Orr speaks about Bloomberg grant fund spending

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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (KGWN) On Sept. 30, Cheyenne Mayor Mariann Orr held her first “Kicking Rocks Tour” town hall. While there, Wyoming News Now asked where the money was coming from for the provided food at that first town hall along with the upcoming meetings and she said it was from the Bloomberg fund. In 2018, the City of Cheyenne was awarded a $100,000 grant for the Mayor’s Challenge from Bloomberg Philanthropies to help revitalize downtown and fight the blight. More than half of that money is headed back to Bloomberg Philanthropies.

After sorting through the spending, questions were asked about quite a few of the line items. A highly questioned topic were some Honolulu restaurant tabs and a trip to Hawaii which Mayor Orr says was for the USS Cheyenne homecoming welcome.

“I went through and I’ve gone through my expenses and I can tell you that if I went to a per diem system, the City of Cheyenne would actually owe me money for that trip,” said Mayor Marian Orr. “I was very frugal about that and I’m happy to release all of those detailed reports.”

On Oct. 18, Mayor Orr released a statement saying there was an accounting error when it came to some of the spends on the Bloomberg account. After adjustments were made, the spend on the account went from nearly $67,000 down to a little over $43,000. After those adjustments, the remaining $56,571 is going back to Bloomberg Philanthropies.

“Rather than spend taxpayer funds, we believed that we had this fund that was awarded to us,” said Mayor Orr. “We found out otherwise, we’ve been in communication with them and so we have back charged those funds which would have been spent anyway and have charged them against a discretionary fund that every mayor has had.”

Mayor Orr told Wyoming News Now that the City of Cheyenne is going to start putting their monthly financials online for the public to see. “So we have nothing to hide from anyone,” said Mayor Orr.