Extra dollars come in on county sales tax

Posted 6/18/19

The $13.68 million sales tax approved by Park County voters has turned out to be a more than $14.69 million tax — and counting.

The extra $1 million that had come into county coffers through …

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Extra dollars come in on county sales tax

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The $13.68 million sales tax approved by Park County voters has turned out to be a more than $14.69 million tax — and counting.

The extra $1 million that had come into county coffers through the end of May can only be used on the projects that were OK’d by voters, such as improvements to Absaroka Street in Powell.

Voters agreed to pay an extra 1 percent tax on sales back in 2016. That temporarily raised the tax rate from 4 to 5 percent to pay for upgrades to roads, bridges, sewer systems and other infrastructure projects across Powell, Cody, Meeteetse and rural Park County.

All of the extra money will be divvied up based on the same percentage as the rest of the tax dollars. Of the money that’s come in so far, the City of Cody is set to receive an extra $369,000 (above the $5 million it had been set to receive), the City of Powell is getting an extra $315,000 (above the $4.25 million plan), the county is getting an extra $160,000 (over $2.43 million) and the Town of Meeteetse is getting another $214,000 (above the initial $1.5 million).

Elected officials guessed it would take 30 months to collect the $13.68 million approved by voters, projecting it would end this October. However, business was better than expected in Park County, and leaders were able to instead end the tax on April 1.

Shutting off the tax is not as simple as, say, flipping a light switch. Tax dollars sometimes trickle into the Wyoming Department of Revenue months after the actual sale, making it difficult to determine exactly how much money has been raised.

Further, to give vendors enough time to prepare, the state only allows counties to change their tax rate at the start of a quarter. So, the full $13.68 million and a little bit extra had been raised by the end of February, the tax had to continue through the end of March.

The county received another $514,685 of sales taxes in April from the extra 1 percent tax, but that figure dropped to $93,000 in May and a smaller sum is expected to trickle in this month.

The tax was approved by voters in 2016 by a roughly 53-47 percent margin.

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