Officials discuss Cap Tax renewal
Date posted: October 8, 2013
SHERIDAN — Officials from the city, county and town of Dayton gathered at the Sheridan City Council meeting Monday to launch a series of presentations about the Capital Facilities Tax, an optional one-cent sales tax used for specific infrastructure projects around the county. Presentations about the tax and how it will be used will be held throughout October.
Sheridan County residents will vote on whether to renew the tax in a special election to be held Nov. 5. The election will work like a standard election with all polling places in operation. Absentee voting is open.
The current $25 million Capital Facilities Tax is expected to expire in summer 2014, Sheridan County Administrative Director Renee Obermueller said. The renewed tax will expire when $40 million is raised, which is estimated to take eight years.
County Commissioner Terry Cram opened the presentation, noting that voters in Sheridan County have voted to renew the tax continuously since 1989. He also stressed that the tax will not increase the sales tax over the currently assessed 6 percent tax, which consists of the four-cent state sales tax and two one-cent optional taxes that the state allows counties to assess on top of the state tax.
Since 1989, $102 million has been raised for community infrastructure through the Capital Facilities Tax. Mayor Dave Kinskey noted that amount is likely closer to $200 to $300 million when considering that tax funds are used to leverage state and federal grants, allowing larger projects to be completed.
Cram also said that Sheridan County residents will pay approximately $19.8 million of the total $40 million collected with businesses and travelers picking up the remaining $20 million. The Capital Facilities Tax is expected to leverage more than $55 million in grants and agency matches.
Funds from the tax raise approximately $5 million per year, which is split between the city, county and municipalities of Dayton, Ranchester and Clearmont. Each entity must list specific uses for the tax that may include improvements to roads, bridges, utility lines, water systems and other infrastructure needs.
City Clerk Scott Badley said all the proposed projects are “have to have” projects and not “want to have” projects.
In the past, the city of Sheridan has used the tax for improvements on North Main Street, the Sugarland Drive water main, the West Downtown street and utility improvements near the YMCA and much more.
If voters approve the renewed Capital Facilities Tax, the city will receive a total of $22.9 million. Proposed projects include replacement of streets, bridges, water and sewer mains around town in areas such as the Lewis Street bridge, the north Sheridan interchange, Loucks Street and North Heights.
County Public Works Director Rod Liesinger highlighted proposed county projects, which include grading, resurfacing, chip sealing, widening, fencing and cattle guards and application of magnesium chloride, a dust suppressant, to more than 220 miles of county roads through 2021.
The county will receive a total of $12.7 million in cap tax funds if the tax is renewed.
The county maintains more than 500 miles of county road and uses the cap tax to keep the roads safe and passable, Liesinger said. He also noted that 10 of the 40 bridges in the county are deficient and in need of repair, which is enabled by Capital Facilities Tax funds.
Dayton Town Councilman Dennis Wagner said Dayton would use its $1.92 million primarily for major upgrades to the Dayton Lagoon for wastewater treatment. Nearly $1 million will also be used for street maintenance and water and sewer projects.
“Our streets, I’m proud to say, are always in excellent shape,” Wagner said.
Badley noted that Ranchester will use its $1.92 million for street, utility and facility projects. Clearmont will receive $560,000 for use on streets, facilities and utilities, including paving two major streets and several side streets.
Following the 45-minute presentation, Junior Councilor Tyler Julian said that he has traveled the state a lot and is always impressed by how well-maintained Sheridan is.
“I would say that’s because of this tax,” Julian said. “I’m 18, so I can vote, and I will vote for this tax.”
For more information on the proposed specific purpose Capital Facilities Tax, including past projects and additional future uses, visit www.sheridancountycaptax.com.
The Sheridan Press will be publishing an in-depth special section about the Capital Facilities Tax Oct. 19.
Upcoming cap tax presentations
• Wednesday: Chamber of Commerce Monthly Luncheon, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Holiday Inn
• Thursday: Chamber Government Affairs Committee, 7 to 8 a.m., Sheridan College Main Street location
• Thursday: Dayton public meeting, 6 to 7 p.m., Tongue River Valley Community Center
• Oct. 15: Ranchester public meeting, 6 to 7 p.m., Ranchester Town Hall
• Oct. 16: Dayton Town Council meeting, 7:30 to 8:30 p.m., Dayton Town Hall
• Oct. 17: Sheridan County public meeting, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., Sheridan county Courthouse
• Oct. 21: Clearmont Town Council meeting, 6 to 7 p.m., Clearmont Town Hall
• Oct. 30: Chamber Coffee, 8 to 9 a.m., Ranchester Community Center
• Nov. 1: Chamber Coffee, 8 to 9 a.m., the Ranch at Ucross