This third and final piece on the proposed increase on sales tax in Park County. Part 1 of the series
and Part 2 of the series
Basin Reboot sat down with County Commissioner Tim French in regards to the
1% sales tax increase proposal for Park County. Tim French opposes a 5th
cent tax for Park County and opposed a similar tax that was introduced in
Reboot asked Commissioner French what his and the county's position would
be on a tax increase. "The county's perspective and my perspective is that
the county doesn't need it." stated French. "We have over 17 million
dollars in reserve funds for the county."
French continued in regards to what his constituents have told him, "They
tell me, 'I wish that they the cities would first cut their budgets.' ".
French continued, "People who talk to me tell me that when times are tough
they have to tighten their belts, and they don't understand why a city
can't do that"
When asked by Reboot what he thought the impact an additional tax would be
on the county French stated, "I think that it could have a really
detrimental effect on the county, young people living basically paycheck to
paycheck and people on a fixed income... and the timing is horrible with
the economy on a downturn, there are people losing there jobs. If you try
to take 7 million out of the local economy people will just go to Billings.
"Overall it could be detrimental to the county." was French's conclusion.
When asked what the effect of not having the tax would have commissioner
French said " I think we can get through it. The City of Powell says they
have $3 million in reserves this tells me that you can tighten budgets up
and not get hurt. I don't think it's necessary at this time we should wait
a couple of years."
"I'm not anti tax I proposed tax hikes to build the new county law
enforcement center. But it was a cap tax a tax that ended, we got that
project done and the tax went away. The other tax was for the Powell
Aquatic Center and a new Cody Library and that tax went away. But those
were cap taxes"
Basin Reboot asked Commissioner French what his thoughts were concerning
the numbers and the information that was being provided to by the City of
Cody. "What really gets me is that we are all adults just give us the facts
and their fact sheet isn't accurate."
Mr French went on to detail that according No 5. on the City of Cody's tax
fact list the City claims that the cost per household will only be $80/year.
"However, if under No.11. 70% of the $7 million in additional taxes are to
be paid by Park County residents the math using the 12,000 households (by
the Census count) make that annual amount closer to $410/year per
household. ([$7 mill x .70]/12,000= $408.33). Which is a significantly
higher additional tax burden than is estimated by the City, or the Wyoming
Economics and Analysis office's estimates " said French.
"I think that are underestimating the burden that will be payed by the tax
payers." said French. "It's an over $400 additional tax burden to be paid
Commissioner French went on to state "Even if tourists are supposed to pay
30% of this tax they don't live here all year. The tourist season is 4 or 5
months, but everyone else has to have this tax all year round, and it will
effect people and the local economy.
Commissioner French also stated skepticism about the fact that the pending
survey on the sales tax will be mailed to the City of Cody. "To make this
fair, to me me it smells the results should have gone to a third neutral
party why should the results go to the very people who want it the most? It
just smells to me."
The City of Cody is currently mailing The Public Opinion Survey. According
to the City of Cody the surveys should be arriving to homes shortly. The
city also asks, "Please take the time to fill it out. Your responses are
valuable to us."
This is the final story in the series Sales Tax Talk, Reboot will revisit
the issue once survey results become available.