Voters will still get say on one cent tax

File photo

Matt Adelman


A month after first approving and two weeks after tabling the second reading of a resolution endorsing the a permanent one percent sales tax in Converse County, the Douglas City Council reversed course last week and voted down the proposal. 


While the idea still had some life left in it as the Glenrock, Rolling Hills and Lost Springs town councils have their own versions to consider, the fact that the Douglas council rejected its resolution carries some weight given that the city is the entity that suggested moving forward initially.


The Glenrock Town Council gave its first nod to their resolution two weeks ago and the second approval last week just hours after the Douglas council voted theirs down.


The Glenrock council met Monday night in a work session to discuss numerous items, including the sales tax proposal. Town Clerk Tammy Taylor said the town is going to let the matter go.


“We understood that the commissioners would only entertain it with unanimous support. With Douglas backing out, there is no reason for us to go forward with it,” Taylor said Tuesday morning.


Taylor said she is checking into whether or not the council can just let the original resolution die or if they will have to vote to kill it.


However, it may not make that much difference, as the final say on the effort to make the sales tax permanent rests with the Converse County commissioners, who said they wanted at least three of the four municipalities to approve a resolution supporting the idea before they would consider it.


With Douglas now out, the other three would all have to approve it even to get to the county commission, and even then there is no guarantee they would support it.


The tax is currently in place through a vote at a general election every four years; the most recent one was in November where it passed easily 3,089 to 1,887. However, that was closer than officials would like and closer than it had been in previous election, spurring the discussion of the need to make it permanent.


The Douglas council indicated they heard from constituents that they supported the tax but wanted to keep letting voters decide, according to City Administrator J.D. Cox.


“They expressed that they wanted to make sure that voters had a voice and perhaps it wasn’t being seen in that light,” he said.


Cox said he wasn’t entirely surprised by the vote.


“I knew they had reservations. So, no, it didn’t (take me by surprise),” he said.


County Commission Chairman Jim Willox said the county will wait to see what the other municipalities decide before making any decision about putting the tax on the commission agenda, but the fact that Douglas – which first pushed this idea – has rejected it would play a role.


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