The Specific Purpose Tax is a specific and limited tax that will begin on April 1, 2022, and will end on June 30, 2022.
The Specific Purpose Tax will fund a total of $4.3 million.
Voting Requirements remain the same as even-year elections. In accordance with the new requirements from the Wyoming Secretary of State, Wyoming voters must show an acceptable form of identification when voting in person. There are many ID options for you to use to prove your identity. Any of the following documents will be accepted:
• WY Driver’s License or ID Card
• Tribal ID Card
• Valid US Passport
• US Military Card
• Driver’s License or ID Card from Another State
• University of Wyoming Student ID
• Wyoming Community College Student ID
• Wyoming Public School Student ID
• Valid Medicare Insurance Card*
• Valid Medicaid Insurance Card*
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 Specific Purpose Tax has never been used before in Natrona County, but it is a fundraising tool that is well suited for this situation. The projects are important, specific, and temporary; and they provide a mix of rural and urban infrastructure for Natrona County. For the November 2021 ballot, there are two critical projects that need to be completed:
The Specific Purpose Tax is a specific and limited tax that will begin on April 1, 2022, and end June 30, 2022. This tax will appear as an increased tax on sales made within Natrona County. Anything that is taxable now at 5% will, for the stated time period, be taxable at 6%. Afterwards, the tax rate will automatically revert back to 5%.
The Specific Purpose Tax revenue will be split between two projects: $2.4 million for Midwest Avenue in Downtown Casper, and $2 million for the Salt Creek Waterline Project in Edgerton and Midwest. The split equates to about 55% to Casper and 45% to Midwest and Edgerton. The tax must be collected for at least one fiscal quarter (three months), so if more than $4.4 million is collected during this time period, the extra funds will be sent to these entities by the same ratio (55% to Casper, 45% to Midwest/Edgerton).
In the case that the Specific Purpose Tax does not pass, the Towns of Edgerton and Midwest and City of Casper will continue to patch and repair these old pieces of infrastructure so that they can maintain their current and functionality. In the long term, other sources of funding could be sought by each of the entities, but it’s not clear when and where those funds would come from due to the limited and restrictive funding available. Attempts to win grants for these projects have, so far, been only partially successful:
A shortage of infrastructure funding in Natrona County has created difficulty in getting critical infrastructure projects started and completed. A survey of the public was done last year to collect public sentiment about how the citizens of Natrona County feel about their infrastructure, and more specifically, to what extent the citizens would be willing to pay for better infrastructure through an additional tax like this one.
The survey, taken in February 2020 with 865 citizens responding (502 by mail and 383 completed online), found that most were willing to support two projects: Midwest Avenue in Downtown Casper and the Salt Creek Waterline Project in Edgerton and Midwest. Other projects were discussed, but those were not the priorities of the citizens. The results of the survey resulted in citizens being asked to vote on only these two specific projects.
The State of Wyoming’s Department of Revenue will notify the vendors in their quarterly publications. Through these publications, all of the State’s licensed vendors will be given sixty days’ notice before they are to start collecting sales tax at the 6% rate, and likewise, they will get sixty days’ notice before they revert back to 5%.
If the Specific Purpose Tax is passed, both projects would likely start in the spring of 2022 and be complete by the fall of 2022.