Our view:Sixth penny is beneficial to GR

 

March 14, 2018



In a few weeks, residents will see a small decrease in the sales tax they pay.

The sixth-penny sales tax we pay for improvements approved in 2012 will be discontinued. The tax is responsible for the improvements we’ve seen on Hitching Post Drive and Second South Street, and was previously used to build the Child Developmental Center building in Green River and to replace the bridge connecting Evers Park to Expedition Island.

While residents will no doubt welcome the savings they’ll see and we’ll certainly be amongst those enjoying it, there is something else to consider. The sixth-penny tax makes it possible for the city to maintain its infrastructure. Without it, pavement deterioration would be more noticeable around town and there would be fewer opportunities to improve water and sewer lines.

The city still has outdated waterlines continuing to deteriorate beneath our feet. A water break on Flaming Gorge Way last year was due to deteriorated pipelines. The city also faces a challenge in finding funding for a needed wastewater treatment plant to replace its outdated sewer lagoons. These are needs the sixth-penny tax can address.


The days of the oil-and-gas boom are long gone and with it, the huge amounts of sales tax money that flowed into municipal coffers. City revenues have stabilized, but the need to maintain and update infrastructure remains.

While some would argue the city’s should find ways of living within their means, the fact of the matter is grant money won’t pay for a new treatment plant and even some of the most basic improvements can be costly for the city. Cutting staff and services is not an adequate answer to the question of how best the city should fund these improvements. As disappointing as it is for some to read this, we’re living at a time when the sixth-penny tax is the only viable means we have.

A break away from the single cent tax is nice, but at some point soon discussion about reinstating the tax for a new set of projects will have to start.

If the cities and county wait too long, Sweetwater County’s municipalities may find themselves under an ever growing mountain of needed projects that would be impossible to catch up on.

At that point, people wouldn’t be complaining about taxes; they’d be upset about crumbling roads and poor infrastructure.

 

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