GREEN RIVER — The Sweetwater County Commission responded Tuesday to a report it received about a sixth-cent tax meeting Aug. 27 at the Sweetwater Events Complex
Commissioner Lauren Schoenfeld served as the county liaison at the sixth-cent meeting and shared information during Tuesday’s regular commission meeting, and her fellow commissioners each had the opportunity to respond.
Schoenfeld said that plans proposed by municipalities and other groups on Aug. 27 totaled more than $228 million. Most projects focus on infrastructure needs, while others deal with development and quality of life. That amount would take 12.77 years to pay off.
The consensus is that the cost is too high, and Schoenfeld said that the group responsible with preparing a proposal would like to know the amount that the commission would find acceptable. Last week, Schoenfeld said she thought four years was a reasonable duration for the tax, and she encouraged organizations to pare down their lists.
Commissioner Roy Lloyd said that he didn’t think taxpayers would agree to a number that large. Commissioner Jeffrey Smith agreed, saying that having the tax for almost 13 years is a bit much.
“I’m not opposed to doing a sixth penny at all,” Smith said, but added that decisions need to be made about what should and shouldn’t go from the list of projects.
Commission Chairman Wally Johnson pointed out that great projects have been done by through special purpose taxes in the past, but the commission needs to be fiscally responsible and be careful about what is presented to voters. He proposed a total amount of about $80 million. He also said the decision should be made only after the commission looks at summary information.
The reason that the proposed projects add up to $288 million is a direct result of the lack of state revenue distribution to communities to fund these types of projects, according to Commissioner Randy “Doc” Wendling.
“It’s storming, and they’re sitting on a rainy-day account,” he said.
He said the sixth penny is very important, and added that bills are currently being written for the upcoming legislative session to benefit municipalities.
Wendling said that he would be willing to look at an amount up to $100 million. He stressed the importance of having a process in place for maintenance after projects are completed and said that entities need to take a look at what is done in fee structures in order to generate revenue.
Johnson wrapped up the discussion by saying that it’s important to hear from people in the county as well to discover the threshold of spending that they would accept.