Sales Tax Talk: The benefits of saying yes to another 1%

This story is one of a series of stories on the proposed 1% sales tax increase. (Park County Wyo.)- Basin Reboot sat down with Cody Mayor Nancy Tia Brown and Cody City Administrator Barry Cook to discuss the proposed 1% sales tax increase. Currently the State of Wyoming has a general 4% sales tax that applies to all 23 counties in the state. The proposal is to add a county wide 1% to the existing sales tax for Park County. Mayor Brown informed Basin Reboot that there will be a survey circulating to every household with a registered voter in Park County. The purpose of the survey is to inform the public about the proposed tax and to get feedback on what people think the tax should be used for. Projects that are possibilities will be on the survey. These include major roadway repair replacement or construction and bridge improvements in Park County. For the City of Cody, upgrading the wastewater lagoon system, ADA ramp project completion, Storm drainage improvements on Stampede Avenue, and a raw water irrigation project, to name a few. The City of Powell funds could go to the widening of A,B,C,and D avenues. The re-pavement of 7th Street, Bernard to Division, and other projects. The City of Meeteetsee would also have infrastructure improvement projects funded through the sales tax increase including street improvements and rehabilitation of the pump station and storm drains. Mayor Brown stressed that the survey aims to show county residents where the money from this tax would go and what accountability measures will be in place. If passed the tax would include a provision for a community oversight committee which would oversee the expenditure of the funds and allow the use of funds in times of emergency need if such a situation were to arise. County residents may recall that there was a similar tax increase proposed in 2012 that did not pass. Mayor Brown said that the cities and towns of Park County learned from that previous proposal that residents wanted more transparency in how the funds would be allocated. This survey is designed to do just that. "It is essential that residents complete the survey so that we know what they want" said Mayor Brown. Mayor Brown and Administrator Cook also went into detail regarding the need for the tax at a time when State funding will lead to shortfalls in local areas. "We had this need before... this is now an urgent need. This has to be looked at as a community need. The loss of State funding certainly plays a part" Said Brown. Administrator Cook detailed that over the next two years there will be a loss of 1.1 million dollars in funds to Park County from the State of Wyoming. He also stated that compared to previous years the sales tax revenue in Cody is down about 20%. Sales Tax Talk number two will deal with the impact a 1% sales tax increase would have on county residents. How it would be distributed among the government, and the tax burden on residents. #reboot #news