Performer’s perspective: Why you should vote yes for LCCC mill levy

Ever since grade school I’ve been involved with the performing arts. My involvement spans from being in grade school choirs that sang “Deck the Halls” on a stage in a cafeteria and singing numbers from “Grease” in a high school auditorium, to singing a beautiful arrangement of “Amazing Grace” with a collegiate choral group on the stage of Carnegie Hall in New York City.

The 2017-18 LCCC Cantorei choral group pose for a picture inside Carnegie Hall with the Choirs of America festival guest director, Anton Armstrong of St. Olaf College in Minnesota.

Let me tell you, I’ve had my fair share of experiences performing on many different stages throughout my life so far. And I must admit, coming from a performer of many years, it’s very discouraging to know that the community college, where I chose to further my education, hasn’t had the opportunity to invest in building a performing arts center of its own.

When I first heard that Laramie County Community College was going to have an item on the ballot concerning expansion in the Fall semester of 2017, I was psyched about it. I became really motivated and involved. I urged everyone in my classes to vote for the bond to go through because that would’ve meant the addition of a performing arts center on the campus. I even went as far as to write a letter to the editor in response to a woman in the community who was uninformed about what the bond election could do for LCCC, and it was published in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle.

It was very upsetting when the news spread that the bond proposition was shot down. I saw first hand the frustrated reactions of my peers that were either music majors or students involved with the performance groups at LCCC.

I didn’t care that I would graduate and be done with LCCC by the time construction began. I wanted to help plant seeds in a garden that I would never get to see fully grown. I wanted future students and community members to have that experience of performing on their own campus and attending events in that space.

Now history is repeating itself this semester as LCCC is again proposing a bond that, if approved, would grant the money to LCCC that would give the college the means to construct a performing arts center. I hope the outcome is the opposite of last year.

I know what you’re thinking, “The money’s got to come from somewhere.” I’m not dismissing that point, I promise. Here’s the run-down of the financials of this entire issue (which you can find at https://transformlccc.com/#your-taxes). The entire project, according to transformlccc.com, is to cost approximately $14 million. Now, that may seem like a pretty overwhelming number but let’s break it down.

To start off, what’s actually being voted on Nov. 6, along with the general election, is a mill levy. A mill levy is “a property tax that is based on the assessed value of a property,” according to transformlccc.com.

So, let’s say that you own a home and its assessed value is $250,000. If this levy were to pass, a year down the road, the tax collected would be $24 and four years down the road, $96 dollars would be collected. To make it better, the life of this levy is only four years. So, if your property value is around $250,000 or less, you’ll pay $96 or less. In my opinion, $96 for a performing arts center for the community college is an AMAZING trade off.

Going a little further with the math, $24 a year breaks down to $2 a month. Now, I think that most can admit that they spend more than $2 a month on something as simple as a cup of coffee. That cup of coffee has the potential to grant future LCCC students the opportunity to become more connected and grounded to the college. (You can still get your coffee, if you really want).

You must be thinking, “there’s no way $96 from every property owner could add up to $14 million.” You would be correct. LCCC needs $7 million to match the $7 million that the Legislature offered during its last session. LCCC already has $1 million banked in private donations from the LCCC Foundation, leaving the price tag for the public at $6 million.

Now that I just melted your brain with all those numbers (I know, I know, but it’s crucial number crunching), let’s get back to the potential impact that this levy could have on LCCC and the community.

I understand that not all property owners in Cheyenne are enthusiastic about paying more money every year for something that they won’t get to use. But here’s the catch: it wouldn’t be JUST for LCCC students.

A performing arts center has the potential to attract events that could add to the local economy and quality of life. For example, LCCC could possibly have comedians, musicians or even political candidates come and use the space, which in turn will attract more people to the campus and the Cheyenne area. I know that the University of Wyoming has this type of space and is able to offer more events on campus than LCCC does and are a stronger entity because of it.

I want to address the naysayers that are leaning toward voting against this levy, please think about the HUGE impact that your affirmative vote could make. The community as a whole could grow from this money: future LCCC students and Cheyenne families alike.

I know that my sarcasm and humor may come off as a little brash, but I’m being genuine when I say that I really hope that everyone who reads this realizes that their vote matters. You have the power to make a difference in the lives of every Cheyenne resident, college student or not.

Coming from a performer, an LCCC student and a Cheyenne community member, I strongly encourage every Cheyenne resident to vote yes on the 2018 LCCC mill levy on Nov. 6. Your small input could transform the entire future of not only LCCC, but the entirety of Cheyenne.

If you want to find out more about LCCC’s 2018 mill levy, please go to https://transformlccc.com for more information. If you’d rather speak with someone about it, please contact the LCCC Foundation office by calling 778-1285 or emailing office@lcccfoundation.edu.

About Courtney Walston (13 Articles)
Courtney Walston, a third-year student studying Mass Media at Laramie County Community College, hopes to someday become a photographer for National Geographic. Walston has already earned one degree from LCCC in Interdisciplinary Liberal Arts. Walston was the senior editor of the East High School newspaper her senior year and was involved with yearbook as well. She enjoys photography and frequently shares her work on her website, Instagram and Facebook. Walston is an active member of Phi Theta Kappa, the honors society at Laramie County Community College, and retains a position on the Honors In Action team. She’s hoping to utilize the leadership experience she’s gained from this position to assist Wingspan. Walston is a semi-professional photographer that is aspiring to transfer to the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia and receive a bachelors in Fine Art Photography. She also likes to her call herself a cat lady; as she has 3 cats at home and loves all of them dearly. To contact Walston, email her at cwalstonwingspan@yahoo.com or follow her on Twitter @Courtney42158656.

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