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

By Karla Pomeroy
Editorial 

The News Editorial: Time to set priorities with sales tax survey

 

May 5, 2022



Four years ago in this space I asked residents to partake in the survey regarding the one-cent sales tax. There were under 400 responses for the survey.

This year I appeal to potential voters to again partake in the survey. There are two important questions facing the county this year, whether to continue the one-cent general purpose tax and assist eight entities throughout the county; and whether to support a new quarter of a cent (one-fourth of one penny) to fund the county ambulance services.

Four years ago 10 entities were on the survey and seven ended up receiving funding during the past four years. Three of the entities dropped out of consideration following the survey. They dropped out to ensure there was enough support for the tax to continue to help the other seven organizations. A selfless act on their part.

This year eight entities are hoping voters continue the tax and support their organizations.

Not only are those eight entities counting on your vote in November, they are counting on you to fill out the survey now.

The survey is important because it will let the sales tax committee know which of the entities the residents value the highest and which appear to be the lowest priority for county residents.

The committee will then determine if all 8 will receive funding, if the number of entities will be narrowed down (as it was in 2014) and then they will also determine how much each entity will receive from the tax.

The public has two opportunities to have their voice heard on continuing the general purpose tax, first is this survey, due by May 20, and the second will be in November at the general election, when you have the final say of whether the tax continues or not.

Whether the tax should continue or not is a topic for later this year. Now is the time for all residents of Washakie County to fill out the survey and have your voice heard on what your priorities are for Washakie County.

You can fill out the survey on A11 and drop it off here at the Northern Wyoming News, drop it off at the county clerk’s office, Ten Sleep town hall or Worland city hall. Paper copies are also available at many of the entities seeking funding — Town of Ten Sleep, City of Worland, Worland and Ten Sleep senior centers, Worland Youth Learning Center, Worland Community Center, Crisis Prevention and Response Center and Washakie Development Association.

You can also take the survey online at https://surveyhero.com/c/afcvguf3.

But the survey is not just about continuing the “fifth penny” or one-cent general purpose tax.

The Washakie County Commissioners need your voice as well. For eight years they have also been selfless in not taking any distribution from the general purpose tax. They are not seeking funding again, not wanting to take funding away from the other organizations.

But with declining revenue streams the county needs to find a new way to continue to provide some essential services, most notably ground and air ambulance services.

Last year the county contracted with Cody Regional Health for ambulance services. Funding is available for three years (we are in year two) through the volunteer ambulance service enterprise fund. But in two years the county will need to find funding to continue for the paid ambulance service.

During the pandemic’s main year in 2020, volunteers for the ambulance service declined. Volunteerism continued to decline not just in ambulance services but in other organizations as well.

It got harder and harder to respond to every call such as lift assists.

An ambulance service, while not considered as such by the government, is an essential service such as law enforcement and fire. You hope and pray that you will never need them, but you also hope and pray that they are available and can respond quickly and effectively when you do need them.

The county wants to know if the residents of Washakie County would support a new one-fourth of one cent to pay for ground ambulance services in the county, and to pay for the Guardian Flight air ambulance membership for each resident.

The first step for the county is to gauge interest from the community through this survey and then they will determine whether to move forward and put the question to the voters in November or to begin to look for other revenue streams in hopes of being able to keep these services at their current level for the residents.

This is why it is important for everyone of voting age to fill out a survey. A better response will help the commissioners in making their decision.

Four years ago just over 300 people filled out the survey.

This time we need to do better.

This is your county and you have the opportunity to set priorities for the next four years.

Take a moment and let your voice be heard.

--Karla Pomeroy

 
 

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