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A Specific Purpose Tax for Essential Resources

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CASPER, Wyo. — The Specific Purpose Tax will be voted on by Natrona County citizens this November. A tax that has never been on the ballot before may have voters wondering why it is necessary and what it entails.

In many ways, the Specific Purpose Tax is similar to the existing Optional One Cent Sales Tax, also known as the “fifth cent” or “Penny Tax.” Both taxes are authorized by a vote of the public, and both run for a limited time unless they are reauthorized. However, there are some key differences:

  • The existing Optional One Cent Sales Tax is a “general purpose” sales tax, which means that it can be used for a wide variety of purposes. It is collected for exactly four years at a time. 
  • The Specific Purpose Tax (the “sixth cent”) would be much more limited:  it must be used for a very specific purpose and will automatically end once the necessary funding has been raised during the specified three-month period.  

One of the projects slated to receive funding from the Specific Purpose Tax is the Salt Creek Waterline project. The Salt Creek Waterline has been in desperate need of significant repair for several years, but is now to the point of needing a full replacement. Over the past decade, small repairs and patch jobs have been made, but due to the size of the project, these intermediate fixes to the waterline are no longer sustainable. No community can survive without the basic amenity of fresh water and the lack of funding to complete the project creates uncertainty in everyday life for residents of both Midwest and Edgerton.

Guy Chapman, the Mayor of Midwest, explains how vital the replacement of the pipeline is: “It’s important because water is a lifeline to our community. When the pipe finally gives way, it blows a hole in it, and it’s not ‘we have a little leak and can go out, dig it up, put a clamp on it’ — it blows out and drains the tank.”

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Running from Casper to Midwest and Edgerton, the Salt Creek Waterline provides clean water for the residents of both small towns located within Natrona County. Without the replacement of this waterline, their water supply is in jeopardy and threatens the livability in these communities.  This project will require $2 million to match a state grant already secured. A Wyoming State grant will fund two-thirds of this project, but a local match is required to reach full funding.  Midwest and Edgerton do not have the resources to generate the $2 million needed to match the State grant on their own. The Specific Purpose Tax will fund this critical infrastructure at the local level and allow the project to be finalized without interruption to the towns’ water supply or the citizens’ quality of life.  

Edgerton Mayor Buck King feels a strong connection to not only the area, but each resident in Edgerton. “Our residents deserve to have clean, safe water. Without the water, we don’t have businesses. We guarantee this tax won’t be there forever. We promise that once the project is complete, it will no longer be there.” If the Specific Purpose Tax is approved, the tax would increase to six cents for three months from April 2022 to June 2022.

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Natrona County voters are encouraged to take part in the November 2 voting day to make a decision on these essential projects. To find out more information and frequently asked questions about the Specific Purpose Tax, visit https://natronacountyspt.com/.


PAID FOR BY THE SPECIFIC PURPOSE TAX
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