Community leaders in Albany County have fingers crossed that voters will agree to renew a sixth penny tax. What's also referred to as a special purpose excise tax would pay for a host of infrastructure needs. Numerous counties also use such a tax in the state.
Laramie mayor Andi Summerville said the biggest need is street and drainage repair and $22 million would go toward that. But she says the Laramie airport also needs work and the tax would cover $7 million of those costs.
“It’s important to think of the airport as a gateway to Laramie and right now those potential recruits and new businesses are landing at a very old and antiquated airport that really can’t support the number of people going through it. So this project will really bring that airport up to 21st century standards,” said Summerville
Last year, statewide budget cuts left Albany County particularly strapped because of its lack of other tax sources. Summerville says if the sixth penny tax isn’t renewed, Laramie, Rock River and the county at large will see their infrastructure quality decline.
The sixth penny tax would help generate $65.5 million total. Summerville said, without these funds, those communities could face problems.
“If the voters choose to vote this down, frankly, from the city perspective, we don’t have any other good ideas or funding sources on where we’re going to be able to bring that capital construction money. So for parks and rec, most importantly for streets and drainage, there just is not another funding source to fund these right now.”
Summerville said the effort to purchase land outside Laramie for the Pilot Hill park is not included in the proposal but will be addressed separately in coming months.