Voters in three Wyoming counties will head to the polls on Nov. 7 to determine the fate of three measures aimed at raising money for education, economic development and health care.
In Laramie County, voters are being asked to approve a bond for almost $29.5 million to finance construction projects at Laramie County Community College, while voters in Campbell County will decide whether to impose an extra sales tax in part to provide a steady source of revenue for Gillette College. Reinstatement of a 1 percent sales tax to raise almost $2 million for repairs, improvements and equipment at the Niobrara Community Hospital is at stake in Niobrara County’s special election.
Here are the details of the election in each county:
If approved, the special election issue in Laramie County would raise almost $29.5 million for LCCC with a general obligation bond to be paid with property taxes over the next 15.5 years.
The bulk of the money, $11.2 million, would be used to renovate the college’s Recreation and Athletics Center, while another $8 million would be used to build a new residence hall and $7 million would go to the renovation of the college’s Fine Arts Building and construction of a performance hall. Another almost $3.3 million would be used to cover various fees and contingency costs.
The actual cost of the Fine Arts Building renovation and performance hall construction is estimated at $14 million. LCCC trustees plan to ask voters to finance half the cost and approach the Legislature to ask for the remaining $7 million.
In Campbell County, voters are being asked to approve a 0.25 percent economic development sales tax, to be used largely to provide a steady stream of revenue for Gillette College, which is a part of the Northern Wyoming Community College District.
The college has been supported in part by the City of Gillette and Campbell County. Approval of the excise tax would free the city and county of an annual obligation estimated at $855,000. It would also help offset a shortfall of $900,000 the college faces because of cuts in grants.
The college would receive 65 percent of the income from the tax, while another 30 percent would go to Energy Capital Economic Development to support its efforts in Campbell County and strengthen its operations in Wright.
The remaining 5 percent would be held by Energy Capital Economic Development to pay for collaborative projects with the college.
Wyoming law allows local governments to impose sales taxes of up to 1 percent for economic development. If approved, voters would decide on its renewal in 2020.
Niobrara County voters are being asked to reinstate a 1 percent sales tax to raise money for the Niobrara Community Hospital.
The tax is expected to raise about $2 million over 3.5 years to pay for repairs, improvements and equipment at the hospital. Top priorities for work on the hospital include a new roof for its nursing home, the replacement of its emergency generator, general repairs to the building and heating/air conditioning system repairs and upgrades.