It is remarkable the number of political candidates on the ballot for a mid-election cycle event. In my 40-plus years of voting in Sheridan County, I have never seen such a number of candidates in contested races. From coroner to governor and Congress, we have a broad choice. We should applaud and support those that have put their hat into the political ring. Responsive local government is as important and vital to economic development.
Why is it important?
First of and foremost the Optional One-Cent Sales Tax will be on the ballot in November. Some of our candidates state clearly no tax. From our perspective, the Optional One-Cent Sales Tax has been a great foundation for many organizations. For the city(s) and county one-cent money assists for infrastructure and planning grant applications among many other things. Forward Sheridan does apply for and receive some one-cent funds. Sheridan is unique and highly valued place: the revenue one-cent tax provides is a bit of buffer for our elected leaders to address and resolve some local needs. Yes it is a bit staggering with some of the “asks” brought forward by community organizations. The “ask” will be vetted by the political officials. Elected officials, if they chose to seek input and respond to the community, will make responsible decisions for the use of these monies. The presence of the Optional One-Cent Sales Tax encourages the opportunity to respond; absence of the money there means significantly reduced options.
Secondly — the wide selection of fine candidates brings a variety of perspectives. FS, as an entity, reached out to some of the Sheridan City Council and Board of County Commission candidates to open a dialogue with them. Our questions to the candidates were focused on their (the candidates) understanding of the process and value of economic development as it pertains to our mission, their thoughts on tax issues such as lodging and one-cent taxes and on the value of commercial air service. Our response, from the candidates was mixed. Some did not respond at all. But those candidates that did converse provided FS board members with clear insight as to what they view as important issues. More importantly, since Forward Sheridan has a constituency of 40-plus businesses with more than 2,100 employees within the community our access to communicate business concerns and issues with our officials is valued. We feel that our day-to-day business people do have some valuable insight and opinions to share and hopefully affect community government. Regardless, the forums and publications present some differing viewpoints — the key is to vote.
Another community issue at the forefront is the MOA Consultants team addressing the veterans assisted living project. There will be a public meeting Aug. 28 at 9 a.m. at Room 210 of the Sheridan County Courthouse. The consultant was here during Rodeo Week. Now they are coming back to gather more community information. Please contact me at Forward Sheridan if you would like background information. This is a project to construct an additional 24 beds using the Greenhouse style format for veterans. This is a collaboration between the Veterans Affairs Department, Wyoming Health Department and others. The Greenhouse is a community-owned facility.
Jay Stender is the executive director of Forward Sheridan.