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Gillette City Council approves 1% excise tax ballot initiative; voters to decide this fall

A snapshot of the Gurley Overpass in Gillette. (Ryan Lewallen/County 17)

GILLETTE, Wyo. — The Gillette City Council gave the nod Tuesday night for a ballot initiative to go before Campbell County voters that, if approved during the upcoming General Election, will authorize a 1% excise tax to fund three large-scale projects. 

The decision came during the council’s regular meeting on April 16, placing the city in line with the Board of Commissioners, which earlier this month approved a joint resolution between Campbell County, the City of Gillette and the Town of Wright regarding the ballot initiative. 

The Wright Town Council has not yet considered the proposition but anticipates doing so during its next meeting, per the city. 

With the council’s decision, however, Campbell County voters will likely have the final say this fall on whether to tax themselves an additional 1% to raise funding for three propositions, one from each entity, totaling nearly $250 million. 

The city’s proposition seeks to raise $30 million in funding for the construction, related improvements and maintenance of a new bridge — the Mike Enzi Memorial Overpass — to replace an aging Gurley Overpass, the only bridge in city limits providing motorists a way across the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad. 

The Town of Wright intends to use the tax to raise $12 million to improve the Sagebluffs Addition, a 40-acre plot of land in southern Wright earmarked for new housing construction. If approved, the funding would pay for streets, curb and gutter, pathways, site grading, water and sewer, electric power, gas and other utilities. 

At $207.8 million, the county’s proposition seeks to raise the most money to fund the planning, engineering, construction, equipping, maintenance and furnishing of a multi-use indoor arena and related improvements at CAM-PLEX.

Each proposition stands separately from the others, which means voters will be able to vote for one, some, none or all to pass, according to the city, which says for any proposition to pass it must receive a majority of “for” votes compared to the total number of votes cast during the General Election this fall. 

If approved, the tax would continue to be collected until the quarter after the total amount approved is received, the city says, adding that any excess tax collected during that time would be used to maintain the capital facilities or improvements.

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