Failed Tax Vote Leaves Casper and Edgerton Looking for Other Options
On Tuesday, Natrona County voted against approving a special purpose tax 47% to 53%.
Now the projects that were seeking funding, the Midwest Avenue project and the Salt Creek Waterline project, don't have the money they need to be finished.
Carter Napier, city manager for the city of Casper, said that the city managers office is going to have to pull money out of other projects in order to finish the Midwest Avenue project.
"I'd be real hesitant to suggest to council that we just leave it alone. Chances are what we'll have to do is defund other streets projects in order to put the dollars and cents together to make that last phase happen. We're gonna have poplar rebuilt here as well and to have that portion undone with regard to the increase in traffic as well as the burgeoning development there, I just don't think we'll have the option to leave it open."
While Napier had hoped to be able to pass the tax, he understands the difficulty in selling that to people in Natrona County.
"A tax question is always a challenging questions, so I wasn't totally sure what to expect...I thought it was a pretty it was a pretty reasonable approach to take to the community, but evidently the community did not see it that way. County I should say."
When it comes to next steps, Napier said they are working on getting a proposal ready for council to look at, and will have it ready at some point in the near future.
Salt Creek Waterline
Cindy Aars, joint power board clerk with the city of Edgerton, said they aren't sure what the next step is, as the vote was their last option.
"Honestly, we do not know. We already have 67% of the funding we need for the waterline, is already obligated by the Wyoming water development commission, but we have to come up with the other 33% and that's approximately $2 million. We have already looked to SLID, and USDA, and everything else...This was our last resort, we have pretty much looked everywhere else to avoid having to borrow a sum that would basically be out of reach for our customers to pay."
Aars said it's possible for them to get a loan to make up the two million dollars, but paying that back may be difficult.
"We could get a loan probably, but we only have at this point in time 250 actual customer base, households that we service, between the two towns. By state statute, any time we take out a loan for that water system, the repayment of that loan has to be collected from the customers, no matter how good an interest rate we got, even spreading it out over 30 years, would cost our customers more money than they could afford to keep living here."
From what she's heard, Aars said the reason the vote didn't go through was because the vote included the waterline project and the Midwest Avenue project.
"What I'm hearing from most of the comments that I've read online and heard from other people, if it had just been our project, they would not have objected. But most people did not think that the Midwest street project for Casper was either not that important or Casper should be able to find funding for that elsewhere."