Mills discussing 5th Cent tax ordinance, possible changes
MILLS, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - Over the past several weeks, we’ve been following the 5th Cent tax discussion in Natrona county. Casper City Council has voted to change how this ordinance is handled. But four out of six municipalities have to pass a similar measure before it can go to the county commission.
At the last meeting in Casper, City Council voted to take the 5th Cent Tax off the ballot every four years, and put it in perpetuity. But now they need at least three other cities or towns in the county to join with them.
Neighboring Casper to the west is the city of Mills. The city council there is also discussing the idea of changing the 5th-cent tax ordinance. Mayor Leah Juarez says, “As a council we’re going to go ahead and talk a little deeper into this conversation. It warrants a full, honest conversation. As far as that goes. We’ve had people from both sides present topics, and their arguments. So we feel it’s only fair to talk about it deeper. As it stands right now, we have not made a decision.”
Juarez says there’s some misconceptions about how the 5th-Cent tax gets distributed. “The money is paid based on population. So, mills is just around 4,300 people, so that’s a small amount of our revenue. It’s dependent... It’s going to help us keep us alive, or drown us. So there’s not a lot of truth to how dependent the smaller cities are. It’s a helpful revenue source, but don’t need it.”
As Juarez explains, population size can play a role. “Originally, when we got approached by the pro-fifth-cent group, the pitch was, ‘all of the communities need this money to fund streets, sewers, and what not.’ Casper, I believe, is sitting around $61 million... For the 5th-Cent. Compared to our $600,000. So we’re not dependent on it. Casper is. So there’s a completely different conversation, between the two cities, as to who needs it desperately, and who doesn’t.”
So, will the Mills City Council create a new 5th-Cent ordinance? And even if they do... Will it pass?
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