Town Council votes to diversify revenue with half-mill of property tax

JACKSON, Wyo. — For the first time in over 40 years, the Town Council voted to levy a half-mill of property tax, which would bring in about $250,000 annually.

The Town’s half-mill would lead to an increase of $47.50 annually for a property valued at $1 million. The first tax collection of the half-mill for the Town will be in November of 2021.

The Town has not collected property tax since the 1970s. Various Town Councilors have stated that this will follow Teton County’s use of mills to support Fire/EMS, a joint department with a continuous rise in calls for service and the need for related resources.

Since the 1970s, the Town has generated 74% of its revenue from Sales and Use tax and has lacked diverse tools for revenue for more than 40 years. For the last forty years, property taxes have been collected and utilized by Teton County, the School District, the Library, the Fair, the Conservation District, and Weed & Pest, but not the Town.

Due to a limited range of options, the Town has to make major budget reductions whenever the national and local economy enter downturns.

One of the Council’s aims in diversifying Town revenues is to help ensure that core municipal services like safety, pathways, snowplowing, and public transit remain in place and that the organization can continue to make the necessary investments today that will lead to the best possible future.

“The Town was able to arrive on this side of the COVID-19 pandemic well-positioned because of budget cuts, federal recovery dollars, and sales tax surpluses,” said the Town in a press release today. “These sources of revenue are providing a short reprieve but cannot be relied upon for the long-term. Relying only on current revenues, budget projections show that the cost of services will outpace revenues in the next decade.”

Town Council’s decision to implement property tax arrived following considerable discussion about potential tax relief for residents that cannot keep up with increases. The Council and Town staff are looking into potential grants and other local and federal programs that provide property tax relief, and discussions about potential programs will continue.

About The Author

Buckrail @ Caroline

Caroline Chapman is a Community News Reporter who recently made Jackson home. Born and raised in Connecticut, she enjoys reading non-fiction, skiing, hiking, and playing piano in her downtime. She is most passionate about delivering and pursuing stories that directly impact the lives of individuals in the community. Her favorite aspect about living in Jackson is the genuine admiration that Wyomingites share for the land and the life that it sustains.

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