Money from 1 percent tax has very specific purposeMay 5, 2017 Ron Warpness, Riverton
After reading the editorial titled "Glad for a tax?" I felt compelled to comment. I, too, have been following the county's use of the 1 percent monies by Mr. Pendleton and his office. It is great that the citizens of Fremont County had the vision to see this common need and the good that can come from this unified effort. Its passage was not easy, and there were (are) many still opposed to any type of tax.
There continue to be many needs in our community, as you were quick to point out, and for the most part I agree with them. However, how to pay for them is the "rub." Those of us who worked long and hard on the passage of our 1 percent gave our word to the public that the monies raised would only be used in a very specific way. To "Fix Our Roads" (FOR) "and related infrastructure."
Your suggestion that it could possibly be expanded to subsidize Denver Air Connection is a serious breach of our word and probably the law.
I also would like to suggest that these funds are to "supplement"
not "supplant" the budgets of the cities and county. I feel, therefore, that it is walking a very thin line when, at the transportation budget hearing, Mr. Pendleton suggested that "if cash from the 1 percent fund could be redirected to fundamental maintenance" it would solve many of our problems.
It was never the intent of the 1 percent committee to have this funding take over the fundamental responsibility for the county's roads.
You also suggested that "if the designated use of the 1 percent money is "tweaked a bit" it could be used to meet more fundamental requirements. I agree, if we had given our word that that is how this money could be used, I would have no problem
with looking at such "creative" use of this revenue stream, but it is not.
I would like to suggest that another 1 percent tax be put on the ballot at this time that could satisfy all of the unmet needs and wants. The community of Jackson has such a "sixth cent" initiative on the ballot that was voted on Tuesday. There were 10 such items on the ballot for a total cost of around $68 million.
I would like suggest that we thank the citizens of Fremont County for giving us our 1 percent and all of the blessings that it is bestowing on us and to stop tryingmess it up.
Editor's note: One of the projects approved in the Teton County Special Excise Tax vote mentioned in this letter was for land acquisition for a Central Wyoming College education center in Jackson.