College asking voters to help fund construction

Laramie County residents will have some decisions to make regarding taxes this election season.

There are three ballot propositions on the Nov. 6 general election ballot, and all three will impact taxes paid in Laramie County. Here is a look at the three proposals:

 

LCCC one-mill levy

Laramie County Community College is seeking public support to raise $6 million to fund renovations to the Fine Arts building and the construction of a new performing arts center.

 

The renovation and building project will cost $14 million total, but the Wyoming Legislature agreed earlier this year to provide half the funding if the college could fund the other half. The LCCC Foundation raised an additional $1 million for the project, and now the college is asking Laramie County voters to fund the other $6 million through a one-mill property tax.

 

A mill levy is property tax that is based on the value of a home. For example, a house worth $250,000 is estimated to cost about $24 per year in taxes toward the project, or about $96 over the four-year lifetime of the levy. Residents who own more expensive property would pay more while those who own less expensive property would pay less.

 

Property owners already see LCCC listed on their tax bills. By state law, all community colleges receive four mills of property tax, and each college has the option to renew its own fifth mill. Voters approved a bond issue of $25 million in 2014 to fund the construction of the Flex Tech and Clay Pathfinder buildings, and tax money will be collected until the bond is paid off.  

 

Constructed in 1982, the Fine Arts building currently fails to meet coding requirements for the Americans with Disabilities Act; lacks necessary electrical capacity, ventilation, lighting, heating and cooling; and there is insufficient soundproofing in many of the spaces used by the music program. LCCC is the only Wyoming community college that does not have a performing arts center, which requires the music program to rent space off campus for performances.

 

Sales and Use Tax

Commonly referred to as the “fifth penny,” this is a sales tax that is used for general fund expenses in Laramie County. First approved by voters in 1978, the revenue from this tax is divided between the Laramie County Commission, the Cheyenne City Council and the town councils in Burns and Pine Bluffs.

The Cheyenne City Council has traditionally used the majority of the money collected for street repair and construction with some money set aside for police and fire support. The city has said it expects to collect approximately $42 million from the tax if it passes.

 

Lodging tax

The ballot proposal for the lodging tax is asking for a renewal of a 4 percent tax on rentals of  “hotels, motels, tourist courts, trailer parks, campgrounds, dude ranches, short-term condominiums and similar establishments,” according to the ballot language. This tax has been on the books since 1987, and it is largely used to fund tourism promotions through Visit Cheyenne.

 

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