County Commission Candidates Air Views on Taxes

Commission candidates Chris Schock, left, and Antonio Pickering. (Photo by Pat Blair)
Commission candidates Chris Schock, left, and Antonio Pickering. (Photo by Pat Blair)

The capital facilities tax allowed Clearmont to match grant money for town projects, and Sheridan County, with a $14.7 million annual budget, can't afford to lower, or lose, taxes.

Those were the views of two of Sheridan County's 10 Republican commission candidates at a recent forum in Sheridan.

Chris Schock, former mayor of Clearmont, said both the capital facilities and 1 percent optional sales taxes are important to the town.

Commission candidates were asked their view on the capital facilities tax, county-wide lodging tax and the optional 1 percent sales tax that goes before voters for renewal in this year's general elections.

Schock said the lodging tax is also a smart tax because it's paid by the tourists who use the county's motels then leave.

Commission candidate Nick Siddle said $14.7 million isn't much money for a county the size of Sheridan.

Candidate Antonio Pickering said he thinks the capital facilities tax is great for one-time projects but shouldn't be used for funding day-to-day operations of the county. He added that he's really against the one-cent tax.

Allan Kinnison said he's been looking into the county's budget, and it seems it would be really hard to continue the services of Sheridan County if the capital facilities and one-cent taxes aren't re-enacted. He noted that both taxes require a vote of Sheridan County residents.

Dennis Heizer said the taxes have provided millions of dollars in equipment to the county, and asked how many employees would have to be fired without the taxes. He said he thinks the county needs to keep both taxes.

Christi Burgess Haswell agreed with the candidates who said the county needs the funds the taxes provide, and said she supports the taxes overall.

Dennis Fox said he was in favor of the people keeping more of their money in their own pockets and deciding how the money would be spent. He said the capital facilities tax is okay if it's used for capital facilities. But he said the one percent sales tax has been in place for 35 years, and we need to take a break. He said the people can vote the tax out in November and keep more of their money in their own pockets.

Terry Cram, who's running for re-election to the commission, said most people don't realize that under Wyoming law, county commissioners can opt to implement the one-cent sales tax without submitting it to a vote by the people. He said many Wyoming counties, including Johnson, have done that, but Sheridan County has chosen to let the people decide.

Carl Clements also noted that the people decide whether to continue the one-cent sales tax. Jason Szewc said the one percent tax should not be used for day-to-day expenses of the county. He said he would also like to see better marketing of tourism in the county.

View more photos below.

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Commission candidates Jason Szewc, left, and Nick Siddle. (Photo by Pat Blair)
Commission candidates Jason Szewc, left, and Nick Siddle. (Photo by Pat Blair)
Commission candidates Allan Kinnison, left, and Dennis Heizer. (Photo by Pat Blair)
Commission candidates Allan Kinnison, left, and Dennis Heizer. (Photo by Pat Blair)
Commission candidates Christi Burgess Haswell, left, and Dennis Fox. (Photo by Pat Blair)
Commission candidates Christi Burgess Haswell, left, and Dennis Fox. (Photo by Pat Blair)
Commission candidates Terry Cram, left, and Carl Clements. (Photo by Pat Blair)
Commission candidates Terry Cram, left, and Carl Clements. (Photo by Pat Blair)
SheridanWyoming.com

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