Commissioners unanimous ‘no’ on Sixth Penny Tax


GOSHEN COUNTY – After the urging of representatives from each municipality to take a vote on whether the Sixth Penny Tax would go to the ballot, during their regular meeting on Tuesday, the Goshen County Commissioners (GCC) voiced a resounding ‘no.’ 

At the request of the commissioners, each municipality presented projects along with estimated costs totaling approximately $14 million during the last GCC meeting. 

After hearing proposals, the commission determined it would only be fair if the county also received the same amount as each municipality combined, bringing the total to approximately $28 million.

Commissioner Justin Burkart, previously in favor of voting this initiative onto the ballot, said the $28 million proposal altered his decision. 

Prior to the vote, Fort Laramie Mayor Joyce Evans voiced her agreement of $28 million being too high a number but asked the commissioners to recall why it would be that amount.

“And that is because the commission, instead of coming up with projects, took what we had as projects, said they needed just as much no matter how much that had been. If it had been $10 million more, you would have asked for $10 million more, too which I don’t think was fair,” Mayor Evans said. 

“I do think rural people are benefiting from what happens in the communities, just as we benefit from what happens in the rural community. I’m not saying that there should be a division. But what I’m saying is the county didn’t say ‘we need to do this project. It’s going to cost X number of dollars’, even though that’s what you asked for towns to do. And we did. So, the reason that amount, that bottom line has moved…to $28 million is because the county just said we’ll take whatever you have and that would be fair, which is not logical. And so, when you vote, bear that in mind.” 

In other items, Goshen County Sheriff Cory Fleenor presented his report to the commission and discussed the jail services contract with LaGrange. 

County Treasurer, Leticia Dominguez reported sales tax was down about $42,000 this month.

The County Assessor report was to renew the GIS services contract which was approved.

County Clerk Cindy Kenyon presented the clerk’s report included updated warrants, employee bonds, the earnings report and an amendment to the employee handbook. 

Also presented by Kenyon was the resolution on election districts.

“As you know we had a very controversial strip that came up the bottom of the county in the last redistricting and that is gone,” Kenyon said. “We also are sharing to the north which, Goshen County is a wedge between the biggest County and the smallest county which is a tough spot for us to be. What it’s resulted in is us being split four ways when we only needed to be split two ways.”

Kenyon said almost everyone in the county will still be able to vote at their same polling place. 

Dee Ludwig, a representative from the Goshen County Library Board presented the library report, stating a new copier is being purchased which will be partially paid for through a humanities grant; the April book sale was successful and the next will be held in October; The 100 year anniversary continues with a May Day Basket class being held on April 30; staff and volunteers are gearing up for the Summer Reading Program with a kick-off event to be held on June 4; Cristine attended a national conference for the Public Library Association in Portland recently with the expenses paid for by a state library grant and the collection is being weeded and new books are being purchased to fill in the gaps.

Ludwig also mentioned the library received a grant from the Goshen County Recreation Board.

“This grant will enable the library to create an outdoor space behind the Foundation’s Activity Center,” Ludwig said. “The library hopes to leverage this space and increase the ability to provide services and activities to patrons as well as creating space for interactive story times and STEAM activities for youth, and outdoor space for library WIFI and a place to host community events.”

She mentioned this project will take three to five years to complete and the Rec Board grant will help in getting the project started.

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