The Saratoga Sun -

Your towns need you to vote 'yes'

 


On May 7, the Carbon County voters will head to the polls to make a decision on the One Percent Specific Purpose Sales and Use Tax, more commonly known as the 6th penny tax. It’s hardly popular to advocate for a tax, but we at the Saratoga Sun feel that the importance of the 6th penny cannot be overstated. The improvement of inadequate infrastructure, especially aging water and sewer lines, will be on the line for several municipalities. For many towns, the 6th penny tax is the best option to fund these projects.

As its name implies, the 6th penny tax must be used for a specific purpose and, according to Wyoming Statute 39-15-204(a)(iii), that purpose cannot be for the ordinary operations of local government. Instead, it can be used for one time major maintenance or the renovation or reconstruction of a specific section of road. So, it’s not just a suggestion that the funds raised by the 6th penny be used for the projects listed. It’s the law.

What is also law is the items exempted from the 6th penny tax. This includes fuel, food purchased for “domestic home consumption,” farm equipment, livestock and livestock feed, and prescription medications.

In the past, it was often up to the Carbon County Council of Governments and the municipalities to educate on the tax. This year, however, the Carbon County Infrastructure Improvement Coalition has taken on that task. Residents have likely received brochures in the mail or have seen ads in the Sun and on social media with information on the 6th penny tax. The coalition has even set up a website, http://www.sixthpenny.org, with information on what each municipality will be using the revenue from the tax for.

Riverside, for example, is planning to use the funds from the 6th penny to either rehabilitate or replace current water mains below the Encampment River. In addition to that, the town will improve water storage, replace their domestic water metering system and construct a maintenance building to protect tools and equipments.

Medicine Bow will be resurfacing up to six miles of roadway within the town and improving drainage. Elk Mountain, meanwhile, will be installing a natural gas distribution system that will allow residents of the municipality to access natural gas for their homes.

The Town of Encampment plans to improve their wastewater treatment plant and their lagoons to meet water storage compliance standards. They will also expand storage and improve efficiency of the treatment plants and lagoons. Encampment will also be replacing 12 blocks of sewer mains along with the water main between the water treatment plant and the distribution system. Finally, the municipality will develop a parcel of land “for the purpose of preserving open space and wildlife habitat.”

In Hanna, the town will be replacing water mains along Front Street, Main Street and Mineral Drive. The latter will also be resurfaced and failing park irrigation systems will be replaced.

Saratoga has the lion’s share of projects among municipalities in eastern Carbon County. The Town of Saratoga is planning to rehabilitate their water storage tank, rehabilitate or replace water mains under the North Platte River, Spring Avenue and River Street and rehab or replace over 8,000 feet of clay tile sewer mains that are at risk of failing. In addition to those projects, Saratoga also plans to replace several streets within town including Spring Avenue from River Street to 4th Street and 13th Street from Bridge Avenue to the town limits.

Additional planned improvements in Saratoga include; improving Rochester, Saratoga and Main Avenues between 10th Street and 13th Street, Chatterton Avenue, State Street and Walnut Street from River Street to 3rd Street, and River Street between Walnut and River Street.

Saratoga also plans to rehabilitate the wading pool and resurface the pool deck at the municipal swimming pool and help fund a new addition to the South Central Wyoming Emergency Management Services ambulance barn in Saratoga.

Necessary projects in all of these municipalities are depending on the passage of the 6th penny tax. While some towns may be able to look elsewhere for funding for these projects, others may not be able to fund their projects and will be unable to update or improve their infrastructure. As Carbon County prepares for multiple large-scale projects in the near future, sound infrastructure is a must as temporary workers begin to arrive.

The arrival of those temporary workers will not just be a benefit to our economy as a whole, but those workers will also contribute greatly to the funds raised by the 6th penny tax as they pay for rent or hotel rooms, purchase retail items and eat at restaurants or drink at bars.

Finally, the Saratoga Sun feels that one of the most important reasons to vote for the 6th penny tax is, if you want to see improvements to the infrastructure of your town, it means investing. The 6th penny tax is that investment.

The Saratoga Sun urges you to not only vote, but vote to approve the One Percent Specific Purpose Sales and Use Tax on Tuesday, May 7.

 

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