By David Martin

Tax payoff date extended


April 26, 2017

It isn’t a secret that sales tax revenues in Sweetwater County have continually declined during the past few years.

Both the Green River and Rock Springs municipal governments have had to cut their budgets due to reduced sales-tax revenue, however sales tax isn’t only impacting cities in Sweetwater County. Reduced sales tax income has also resulted in a change to when the county can end its specific use sales tax.

In 2012, county voters approved a 1 percent specific purpose sales tax, commonly known as the sixth-penny tax. The tax, approved to collect $81.8 million, is primarily used for municipal and county infrastructure projects. Of that amount, $21.3 million was approved for use by Castle Rock Hospital District for improvements and the construction of Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County’s Medical Office Building. Bonds were sold to provide the project money after voters passed the tax. The tax would then be paid off with the tax income.

According to Sweetwater County Treasurer Robb Slaughter, initial estimates originally put the sales-tax revenue at an average of $1.5 million each month and would have resulted in paying off the bonds February orMarch 2018. Slaughter said when the tax collections were first recorded in 2013, the average returns were near the $1.5 million figure. During the last year, revenue for the sixth-penny tax declined significantly, causing the anticipated payoff date to be extended as far as September 2018. Revenues during the last year have averaged around $1.2 million, with revenue reported in the last few months just above the $1 million mark. In March, the revenue received was $1.01 million, while February’s income was $1.26 million and January was listed at $1.09 million.

Slaughter said the only consequence of lower sales tax revenue will be a change in the anticipated payoff date.

Sixth-penny tax funds continue to be used in Green River. Last week, the Green River City Council approved tax funding for the fourth year of construction projects. Those projects include the reconstruction of Hitching Post Drive from Monroe Avenue to Crossbow Drive and reconstruction of road and water line for East Railroad Avenue. A bid award for the first phase of the Hitching Post Drive work was awarded last week to DeBernardi Construction Company. They put in a $1.39 million bid.


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