GILLETTE, Wyo. — For the first time since 2018, the Optional One Percent sales tax will go before Campbell County voters for approval during the fall 2022 General Election.
The Optional One Percent has stood for over 40 years after it was first approved in 1978 and then re-approved every four years since by Campbell County voters. It supplies the local government with critical funding for infrastructure and social service agencies.
This year, with the tax in the hands of voters once again, it’s all-hands-on-deck for local government with the City of Gillette getting the ball rolling by announcing the first Optional One Percent listening session in 2022 where residents can learn more about the tax and publicly state their opinions about it, according to a city press release.
As of July 22, there is no end time for Tuesday night’s listening session, according to City Communications Manager Jennifer Toscana, which is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. in the council chambers at City Hall.
Toscana said that the city hopes to get the word out about how the sales tax is used, and to let voters know to be watching their mailboxes for an Optional One Percent survey they can submit to show how they think it should be used.
The survey is a partnership between the City of Gillette, the Campbell County Board of Commissioners, and the Town of Wright, Toscana said, adding that the tax itself is heavily influenced by Campbell County voters who can expect to see the survey by the end of July.
In the last 10 years, the city’s portion of the Optional One Percent has provided more than $165 million for streets, sidewalks, public safety, utilities, drainage, and around $17 million for social service agency funding, according to the city website.
Between 2019 and 2021, the Optional One Percent paid for the installment of over 27,000 feet of water and sewer lines as well as 400 feet of drainage channel, per the city.
The tax also paid for nearly 58 miles of road surface repair and over 14 miles of new road surface in addition to over 19,000 feet in new pathways and sidewalk repairs, the city says.