Voters urged to renew county fifth-penny sales tax and lodging tax

Nov. 2 – CHEYENNE – Voters in Laramie County are being asked to renew the county’s one-fifth-penny sales tax and lodging tax in the Nov. 8 general election ballot.

Both measures appear on the ballot every four years, and have never been without renewal since their inception.

A “yes” vote will support maintaining a 1% county sales and use tax that funds a variety of government services. A separate ballot measure would again authorize a 2% tax on the “price paid for rooms in hotels, motels, trailer parks, campgrounds, ranches, short-term condominiums and other similar establishments. “.

Cheyenne and county officials are urging voters to pass the measures, saying they have major community impacts and help fund public services.

fifth penny

The Fifth Penny Sales Tax has been used in Laramie County since 1978. It was created to fund road maintenance and improvements and other infrastructure projects, as well as local agencies such as Cheyenne Fire Rescue, the Laramie County Sheriff’s Department and Cheyenne Animal. Control.

Of the 23 counties in Wyoming, only one does not have the same sales tax rate as Laramie County.

The Laramie County commissioners have the power to institute the tax by resolution. In an interview, County Commissioner Chairman Troy Thompson said the governing body never wanted to take the vote away from residents.

“The fifth penny is vitally important not only to city and county government, but to some of these partner agencies, like the library, who use these funds for materials,” County Commissioner Gunnar said. Malm at the Wyoming Tribune Eagle. “In the county, it’s obviously a big chunk of our public works budget. The other big chunk that comes from fuel taxes comes from the state.”

Malm said the tax is not based on achieving a full collection amount like the one-sixth-penny sales tax, ending the tax when the goal is met. Instead, it is continuously collected throughout the four-year period.

While the city has specific projects and allocations set aside, the county breaks it down into percentages. Thompson said public works receives the largest share, at 69%. The library receives 10%, about 6.5% is spent on health and welfare, 5.5% goes to public safety, 2.5% to fire protection and the other smaller portions go to the general government, capital expenditure, economic development and recreation.

Cheyenne plans to use $40 million for road maintenance and construction, and another $10 million will go to other agencies. This money will be allocated for items such as emergency equipment, replacement police cars or upgrades to fire and rescue vehicles, and community recreation facilities.

Lodging tax

Visit Cheyenne President and CEO Domenic Bravo is a leading supporter of the Laramie County lodging tax.

It has been in place since the 1980s. The tax is a total of 4%, with 2% approved by the county through resolution and 2% required by Wyoming law.

Bravo pointed out that residents do not pay the tax unless they take a stay. He said the return on investment for those who live here is high.

“We’re saving Laramie County families about $700, or nearly $800 a year in taxes they don’t have to pay. In addition to not paying the lodging tax, we’re making them also save sales tax just by enticing visitors to come,” he told WTE. “There are many other features that the accommodation tax simply serves to improve the quality of life for our residents, while at the same time being a major economic driver.”

The levy also funds nearly 90% of Visit Cheyenne, which itself promotes the local tourism industry.

According to the Visitors Bureau’s 2021 annual report, $415.7 million was spent traveling to Laramie County. Nearly $16.6 million has been generated through revenue from state and local travel taxes, and more than 3,000 jobs are supported by tourism.

“It’s actually converted into direct spending in our community, which is pretty impressive,” Bravo said.

Jasmine Hall is the Wyoming Tribune Eagle state government reporter. She can be reached by email at [email protected] or by phone at 307-633-3167. Follow her on Twitter @jasminerhphotos and on Instagram @jhrose25.

Sallie R. Loera