Casper City Council reviewing One-Cent Tax process

Casper City Council is in the process of potentially changing how the current One-Cent Tax system operates.
Published: Aug. 9, 2023 at 8:59 PM CDT
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CASPER, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - Casper City Council is looking at making the One-Cent Tax permanent... well, sort of.

City Council is in the process of potentially changing how the current One-Cent Tax system operates. Currently, residents vote on it at the ballot box every four years. But the council is looking to extend the tax in perpetuity. Mayor Bruce Knell explains how the One-Cent Tax works. “On four-percent tax, which is state, we get 21 cents on the dollar as a municipality. At the one-cent specifically, we get 78 cents of that dollar. So that money goes a long way towards our community.”

Knell says that, without the One-Cent Tax, the impact could be devastating. Not only for Casper, but the surrounding area too.

“Our state legislature has told us point blank: the communities that don’t want to tax themselves, are not going to get... They’re going to get pushed to the bottom of the list when it comes to state loan and investment board funding. And we’re facing a possibility... The legislature is talking about doing away with direct distribution. And if they do that... These smaller communities like Edgerton, Midwest, Mills, Bar Nunn... They would have a really hard time sustaining and continuing to exist without the 5th cent tax.”

Knell says removing the tax option from the ballot would help the city with long-term project planning; allowing them to make plans 5-10 years in advance, as an example.

“It’ll give us a bigger opportunity to make decisions that go much further down the road. And the downside is... It’s not a fear tactic for me... But what would happen, honestly, if that didn’t pass? Where does that $64 million every four years come from? What happens to our roads? What happens to our water/sewer/trash bills? What happens to our parks? You know, it could be devastating for our community. And as a leader, I’m not interested in seeing that happen.”

The third and final reading for the proposal will take place at the next council meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 15th.