Town and County deadlock on Community Priority Fund decision

(Jackson, Wyo.) - Yesterday at the Town of Jackson Council and Board of County Commissioners joint information meeting, the majority of the meeting was spent discussing the Community Priority Fund and Specific Purpose Excise Tax (SPET). The goal of the discussion was for the Town Council and County Commissioners to continue to review and discuss the various alternatives for generating additional revenue for affordable housing efforts and for additional transit and transportation improvements. The main question that Town Manager Bob McLaurin asked officials was whether they preferred to seek this funding through a renewal of the current Specific Purpose Excise Tax (SPET), whether to seek up to an additional one percent of general purpose tax, whether to keep the sales tax rate at six percent, or whether to try to increase the total tax rate by up to one percent, to a total of seven percent. One issue that was brought up by officials was the concern that SPET funding would help with the initial capital funds, but not cover ongoing operational costs for the projects. During the meeting, the County Chambers was packed with people wanting to voice their opinions about the issue. Several community members, acting as private citizens or on behalf of their organizations, spoke to the Council and Commissioners. After taking public comment, the officials furthered the discussion. “I want to move this conversation forward,” said Mayor Flitner during the meeting. “I think it is time that we make a decision today,” said Commissioner Paul Vogelheim. Commissioner Natalia D. Macker moved to place on the ballot a one percent general purpose tax and direct staff to prepare a timeline with key decision points for discussion at the January joint information meeting. The county voted on the motion, and it passed 3 - 1 (Commissioner Barbara Allen was not in attendance). The town voted and the motion failed 2 - 2 (Councilwoman Hailey Morton Levinson was not in attendance). As a result, the town and county will continue discussions on this issue. McLaurin recommended a special meeting for this purpose be scheduled in the future. *Feature Photo: Town and County discuss the issue at Monday's meeting /