The proposed optional tax is not a new tax. The optional, general purpose tax began April 1, 2015 after Washakie County voters approved it during the November 2014 General Election. If it is approved by the voters in the November 2018 General Election the optional tax will extend through June 30, 2023 beginning July 1, 2019.
As to the ‘need’ portion of your question, it is up to you to decide if there is a need. The One Cent Tax Committee believes Washakie County voters should once again have the opportunity to decide the issue. Our sole purpose is to inform the voters about the details of the tax so the voters can make their own decision about the merits of the proposal.
All qualified voters have the opportunity to express their preference for the continuation when they cast their General Election ballot on or before November 6.
If you do not vote on the tax resolution, it will not be counted as a yes or no. It will be recorded as an under-vote on the issue and will not impact the outcome one way or the other.
Earlier this year the Washakie County Commissioners issued a call to all prospective or interested groups to participate in meetings about the proposed tax. After those parties let their intentions be known, county residents had the opportunity to express their views as to which organizations they most supported.
Those who chose to respond could do so via a ballot that appeared in the Northern Wyoming Daily News, or a survey posted online via the web, or paper ballots located at various locations.
Based on the returns, several would-be recipients voluntarily dropped out of consideration. In the end, seven entities were moved forward as potential one cent tax recipients.
The Washakie One Cent Committee did not participate in the recipient selection process, other than as individuals just like everyone else who had the same opportunity.
Each of the proposed recipients has one voting member on the committee. The groups represented on the Committee include the City of Worland, Town of Ten Sleep, Worland Community Center Complex, Worland Fire District #1, Ten Sleep Senior Citizens Center, Worland Senior Citizens Center, and Crisis Prevention and Response Center.
In addition to those representatives, two unaffiliated individuals were selected by the group as officers to lead the education campaign. Those people are: Jim Sutherland, vice-chairman and facilitator; and Terry Livingston, secretary/treasurer.
In a word, No. Six of the seven are currently receiving additional operational and project funding from the current optional tax. Those are Worland, Ten Sleep, Worland Community Center Complex, Ten Sleep Senior Citizens Center, Worland Senior Citizens Center, and Crisis Prevention and Response Center.
Washakie Fire District #1 is a newly proposed seventh recipient. However, it should be noted that even though the recipients have increased the impact on the taxpayers will not change. An optional, general purpose sales tax is time based, not amount based. The funding collected during the four years of the tax will be distributed on a pre-determined fixed percentage, regardless of a desired dollar goal.
Each of the proposed recipients have outlined their general use of the optional tax funding in Joint Binding Resolution #337 unanimously approved by Worland, Ten Sleep and Washakie County elected leaders.
Worland Senior Center
To supplement local funding to ensure the continuance and stability of the center by providing needed money to match, as available, grants that provide for operations, administration and maintenance expenses as well as expansion of services.
Ten Sleep Senior/Community Center
To supplement local match funding. These funds will ensure the continuance and stability of the center by providing needed money to match, as available, grants that provide for operations, administration, and maintenance expenses as well as necessary replacement of equipment. The funds will also allow continued expansion of the center’s transportation program.
Town of Ten Sleep
Money that will supplement funds as collected in accordance with state law and local authorization, and/or grants, as available, to be used for improvements to streets, water, sewer and other town-owned and/ or maintained infrastructure.
City of Worland
The money requested is to be used for infrastructure projects such as, but not limited to: street, curb, gutter replacements, maintenance, repair and drainage as approved by the City Council. The funds collected and distributed may also supplement grants, assessments, and be combined with other local, state and federal funds in accordance with law and ordinance to benefit Worland and its citizens.
Worland Community Center Complex
Operation and maintenance of existing facility, seed money for grants, as available and program development to ensure the stability of the complex.
Crisis Prevention and Response Center
The revenue will be used as a match for grant (s) towards the addition of the facility and providing services to victims of crime in Washakie County.
Worland Fire Protection District #1
One cent funding received will be used in conjunction with District funds for the replacement of Ladder 1 a 1985 Pierce 75′ Aerial. The replacement will be a 100′ Aerial Platform.
Nothing. Simply nothing happens when there is no money to help it happen. The optional tax approved by more than 60% of Washakie County voters will run its course and end June 30, 2019. Of course, the nothing that will happen means both senior centers will be forced to discontinue some of their services. The Worland Community Center Complex will have to take action to earn more income or rather than making users pay to walk, meet, recreate, entertain or eat there, the center may limit its hours of operation. The money brought into the community as part of matching grants may be reduced because of less match, but more importantly to those who need the services of the Crisis Prevention and Response Center, some of the needy will have to find assistance somewhere else. And how about Worland or Ten Sleep? Nothing, or certainly less maintenance will happen with roads, streets, potholes, water and sewer system work will be cut back, and if needed, emergency funds won’t be there.
So, without being too doom and gloom, it is easy to say nothing or certainly less will happen if the tax fails to pass. Equally easy to see is that the need for the extra services or even the basic services will not go away. But nothing will be done.