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On Tuesday, April 7th, the Fremont County Commissioners will discuss and vote on a proposed one-half percent (1/2%) economic development tax. The Commissioners’ vote on Tuesday is not to approve the tax, but to allow it to be on the 2020 primary ballot in August for Fremont County residents to vote on, according to an open letter to the Commissioners from Wind River Transportation Authority Manager Gary Michaud.

Behind this resolution is a committee of private citizens, elected officials, and local economic developers. The committee has brought this resolution before 5 Fremont County Municipalities, and they have all said, “yes,” except for Dubois, shared committee member Mick Pryor.

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The planned ballot verbiage created by the committee is as follows:

PURPOSE/BALLOT QUESTION: “Shall the Board of County Commissioners of the County of Fremont, State of Wyoming, be authorized to impose an excise tax for economic development of one-half percent (1/2%) upon retail sales of tangible personal property, admissions and services made within the county as defined by Wyoming state statutes, the purpose of which is for economic development. Economic Development shall be defined as any project that retains or increased employment, and/or results in a net gain of money into the community. Thirty percent (30%) of the net proceeds of the tax shall be used to support transportation infrastructure such as commercial air service and ground transportation: the remaining seventy percent (70%) will be allocated to the County and 6 Municipalities based on population to manage and invest in economic development projects of their choosing. Economic Development projects on the Wind River Indian Reservation are eligible for county allocation. If passed, the tax shall become effective on March 1st, 2021, and as provided by W.S. 39-15-203(a)(v)(C) the same proposition shall be submitted at the general election in 2024.”

Economic development could include several things to “move the economic needle,” explained Pryor. One example is having the funds available to apply for state and federal fund matching grants. Another example is Goshen County, which has a similar tax, has been able to provide retail businesses grants right now during this economic downturn.

Once again, this will be coming before the Fremont County Commissioners on Tuesday, April 7th. As with all agenda items, community members can reach out to their district’s Commissioner to have their voices heard. Their information can be found by clicking here.

The open letter from Gary Michaud can be viewed here: Open Letter to Fremont County Commissioners

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