Northern Wyoming News - Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

By Karla Pomeroy

Municipalities focus on infrastructure with penny tax


November 2, 2018

WORLAND —Both Worland and Ten Sleep have focused on infrastructure with the general purpose sales tax the past four years and if voters approve continuing the tax next week, the municipalities will continue to focus on infrastructure needs.


According to Ten Sleep Mayor Jack Haggerty, the Town of Ten Sleep has used the sales tax revenue to help with street replacement projects on Pine Street, Sixth Street; Fourth Street ad Fir Street; utility sleeves under main street that were done in conjunction with Wyoming Department of Transportation’s Main Street project. The town also replaced water and sewer pipes crossing Main Street at Cottonwood, Fir and Willow street and 50-year-old sewer replacement on Cottonwood, Fir, Fifth and Third streets and Chinese Elm alley and Mahogany Alley.  

Other projectS funded by the tax was replacing the more than 50-year-old sewer lagoon outflow control vault with a new effluent vault with modern telescoping discharge control valves; replacing the sewer lagoon’s inefficient aeration and electrical system with a modern efficient bubbler.

An ongoing project is replacement of the sewer lagoon bentonite liner. Haggerty said that the permanent fix includes completely draining the lagoon, renting a temporary mobile mechanical sewage processing plant during the installation of the new polypropylene liner.  In August the town secured a $370,000 grant from the State Loan and Investment Board for engineering design and construction.

A requirement for SLIB funding is if the community is helping itself with taxing authority.

“Ten Sleep is proud to be able to say that not one penny of 1-cent tax money has been used for town salaries. One hundred percent of our allocation has been spent on infrastructure projects. Washakie County voters can be assured that the Town of Ten Sleep will continue to abide by this policy,” Haggerty said.

He said the town will continue to work on the sewer lagoon and street improvement, with the assistance of the tax funding, if voters approve it Tuesday. He said with “everything underground taken care of we can focus on curb and gutter.”


The City of Worland uses the general purpose one-cent tax revenue to improve roads and alleys. The City of Worland has leveraged that revenue to secure grant funding from the State Loan and Investment Board (SLIB) and has been awarded over $900,000 for improvement projects, according to council member Dennis Koch. Koch noted that without the city helping itself and taxing itself with the one-cent general purpose tax, the grants would likely not have been approved.

Mayor Jim Gill said, “People have asked me what happens if it doesn’t pass, my answer is more and bigger potholes.”

He added, “The city has a lot of pride in what we’ve been able to do in improving the streets. We can never begin to thank the citizens of Washakie County that have made it possible.”

Projects that have been funded with the help of the one-cent tax include the 15th Street and Big Horn Avenue intersection repairs which were completed this summer and the Culbertson Avenue improvements near Fifth Street which should begin next spring.

Worland has also used one-cent money to crack seal and patch more than 11 miles of roads, apply protecting sealant to road surfaces on five miles of road, regrade and resurface failing roads, curb / gutter / double gutter replacements, alley apron replacements and pour new concrete alleys and patch potholes.

The one-cent general purpose tax that will be on the ballot Tuesday for voters will be for general purpose and distributed to seven entities within the county — City of Worland, Town of Ten Sleep, Worland and Ten Sleep senior citizen centers, Worland Community Center, Crisis Prevention and Response Center and Worland Fire Protection District No. 1.

Earlier this year, a committee, spearheaded by the Washakie County commissioners drafted a resolution outlining what the funding would be used for if voters approve continuing the tax. Voters in Washakie County, according to information from the Wyoming Department of Revenue, have approved a general purpose tax twice, once in 2008 and again in 2014. The tax runs for four years.

County voters have also approved a specific purpose tax twice, once in 2004 and again in 2010. Counties and municipalities may also generate revenue for economic development through a sales tax. Only one county in the state has levied that tax.

There are 12 counties in the state with 5 percent sales and use tax; one at 4 percent, one at 5.25 percent and nine at 6 percent. In the Big Horn Basin, Big Horn is at 5 percent, Hot Springs County is at 6 percent and Park County is at 5 percent.


This is the third in a series on the one-cent sale tax. The projects for the Worland Community Center Complex, Worland Fire Protection District 1 and Crisis Prevention will be featured in Saturday’s Northern Wyoming Daily News.


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