Casper City Council Hears One-Cent Requests Today
Casper City Council will hold an extended work session at City Hall, 200 N. David St., at 4:15 p.m. today to hear requests for funding from the proposed Optional One-Cent Sales Tax that is up for renewal in November.
Forty-one governmental, civic organizations and nonprofits submitted proposals seeking money for their programs for public transportation, recreation, the arts, museums, social service agencies, health care, and poverty programs.
For example, the Self Help Center wants $302,000 to build a new safe house and hire needed staff at its new location.
The Casper Mountain Ski Patrol wants $3,000 for a toboggan and a cell phone booster.
The University of Wyoming Agriculture Extension Office is asking for $26,000 to match other funding to keep its horticulture educator.
These and the other requests can be found on the city's website.
City Manager Carter Napier will open the meeting with an overview of the tax and the requests. The organizations will have five minutes to present their requests.
Regardless of the requests, City Council sets its priorities starting with residents' major priorities for capital improvements such as streets and law enforcement.
The city itself uses its share of optional one-cent sale taxes only for capital projects, and allocates a certain amount for projects requested by other governmental agencies and nonprofits. Some smaller municipalities in the county use the revenues for operations.
If approved, this would mark the 16th time voters have done so. In 2014, voters renewed it with 71 percent of the vote despite a vocal opposition movement.
Four years ago, proponents projected it would raise about $15 million a year, for a total of $60 million for the cycle, but the economic downturn caused sales tax revenues to decline, so the estimated the total revenues would be about $55 million for the current cycle.
Earlier this year, Napier estimated revenues from the Optional One-Cent Sales Tax No. 16, if renewed, would be about $12 million to $13 million a year, for a total of about $50 million over its four-year life.
State law imposes a 4 percent sales tax statewide and distributes much of the revenues back to the counties, but allows counties to raise that by up to 2 more cents. The optional sales tax in Natrona County is sometimes referred to as the "fifth-cent" tax.
The revenues are distributed to the local governments by a formula based on their populations.