GR shares sixth penny tax info
October 6, 2022
With absentee voting for this year’s general election having begun on September 23, 2022, the City of Green River is sharing information to help residents understand the proposals within the Specific Purpose Tax initiative that will be included on the ballot this November. Along with the City of Rock Springs, towns of Granger, Superior, Wamsutter, Bairoil, and Sweetwater County, the City of Green River has put forth a list of basic infrastructure projects to be funded through an optional one percent sales and use tax, commonly called the Sixth Penny. To complete these specific projects, the City of Green River would receive $22,027,627 out of a total of $83,511,570 that would be raised if the initiative is approved.
“The communities across Sweetwater County have worked diligently to consider citizen input while deciding which projects to put forth to the voters. There have been numerous stakeholder meetings, public meetings, and a county-wide survey conducted. The input received showed that the voters are interested in seeing this initiative focused on basic infrastructure projects,” said City Administrator Reed Clevenger. He continued, “Green River’s projects are exclusively street repairs, street maintenance, and replacing water, sewer, and stormwater infrastructure under those streets where needed.”
The Specific Purpose Tax is one of the primary funding options available to local governments to fund core infrastructure projects. State law allows counties, in cooperation with cities and towns, to fund specific projects through a voluntary sales tax. Counties, cities, and towns pass resolutions that include proposed projects and amounts needed to complete those projects. Voters are then asked to decide if they would like to see the projects that were identified funded through the passing of the optional tax. If passed, one penny for each dollar spent in Sweetwater County will be collected from citizens, travelers, and businesses making purchases, until the specific projects are funded. Additionally, like other sales tax, this tax will not apply to the purchase of many items including groceries, prescription medication, and professional services. It is estimated that the projects included in the ballot initiative this November will be fully collected in five years or less. On average, homeowners can expect to pay approximately $250 per year, or a little over $20 a month.
Since the Specific Purpose Tax was first placed before the voters in Sweetwater County in 2001, these funds have been the primary source of revenue for street projects in the City of Green River, with portions of 48 streets having been repaved and many others receiving pavement preservation treatments. The last time voters approved a sixth penny in Sweetwater County was 2012.
“In the 70s the City of Green River saw significant expansion with many miles of roads being built. Many of these are now at the end of their life, and, along with the infrastructure under the roadways, are in serious need of replacement,” said Public Works Director Mark Westenskow.
Green River’s 2019 Pavement Management Study found 20.9% of the city’s streets fell into the poor, very poor, serious, or failed category. Green River projects included in this initiative for the City of Green River consist of paving, curb, gutter, sidewalk, and some projects will have rehabilitation of water, sewer and storm sewer infrastructure.
Projects will include work on Westbound Riverview Drive (from Hackberry Street to Locust Street), eastbound Riverview Drive (from Locust Street to Fir Street), Bridger Drive (from East Teton Boulevard to West Teton Boulevard), Faith Drive Evans Drive (from Faith Drive to Faith Drive), Easy Street (from Hutton Street through Easy Circle), Wilkes Drive (from Hutton Street to Evans Drive), and Indian Hills Drive (from Shoshone Avenue to Uinta Drive), as well as funding to cape seal selected streets to preserve the integrity of the asphalt surface.
Citizens wanting to learn more about the proposed Sixth Penny initiative and the projects included in it are encouraged to visit the Specific Purpose Tax page on the County’s website at http://www.sweetwatercountywy.gov.
The general election will take place Tuesday, Nov. 8.