Lander-area 1 percent sales tax projects discussed in LEADER meeting

Lander Community Resource Coordinator Gary Michaud discussed the future community center among other topics during Wednesday morning's LEADER meeting. (Joshua Scheer photo)

Lander Community Resource Coordinator Gary Michaud discussed the future community center among other topics during Wednesday morning’s LEADER meeting. (Joshua Scheer photo)

By Joshua Scheer, reporter,

(Lander, Wyo.) – City of Lander Community Resource Coordinator Gary Michaud gave a brief presentation early Wednesday to LEADER Corporation about the upcoming implementation of the optional 1 percent sales tax.

Fremont County voters approved the measure by a narrow margine in November. The optional sales tax passed with 51 percent of the vote.

Michaud said the tax, which goes into effect on April 1, is estimated to raise an additional $7 million in sales tax countywide. “All the exemptions (including groceries) are still in place,” he added.

In 2012, roughly $30 million in sales tax was collected across the county, he said.

Of the new revenue, Fremont County will receive 49.1 percent, Riverton will receive 26.3 percent and Lander will receive 18.6 percent. For Lander, he said that percentage would amount to about $1.4 million annually.

LEADER attendee Rick Fagnant expressed frustration at the division of funds, stating that the county should apply its percentage to the necessary departments and then free up other funds to help other projects and areas. Former state Rep. Del McOmie said the percentage division is due to population, noting that those people who choose to live in the county rather than within city limits contribute to the division.

Michaud listed a number of streets in the city that could be the recipient of the new funds. The work, in total, amounts to an estimated $6 million. The roads listed were: Black Boulevard, Cascade, Cliff, Dabich, Fremont, Jefferson, McDougall, Spriggs, Tweed Lane (corner), Washakie, Washington and Welch.

Michaud went on to explain a committee will be formed to work with the Lander City Council on prioritizing projects. He was unsure when the council might proceed with any of the mentioned repairs.

During the presentation, Michaud gave status updates on several other Lander projects. He provided information about the planned community center. A story with the latest details can be found here.

He also gave updates on the rodeo grounds relocation project. The environmental assessment process is ongoing and could be complete in a few months. The assessment is being done on the preferred site, which is located behind the Fremont County Transportation Shop on Highway 287 northwest of town.

A proposed arts and sciences center has scored $35,000 so far, Michaud said. That funds will go toward planning. Michaud said 700 surveys related to the proposed center were returned. Of those, 88 percent said such a place would benefit the local economy and 71 percent said they attend art-related functions each year. Additionally 65 percent of respondents said they are art hobbyists and 32 percent are science hobbyists.