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The Sundance Times
Sundance, Wyoming
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December 13, 2012     The Sundance Times
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December 13, 2012
 

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The Sundance Times Page 4 December 3, 2012 II We broke ground on our new transfer station and immediately hit rock. The site had been drilled to check for rock but the rock resided between the drill holes. It is going to drive the price up but it is all we can do. The Land Use Planning Commission has introduced a new a new zoning and planning ordinance. This ordinance is a much needed update and also condenses and replaces at least five existing ordinances. Burbach Aquatics has submitted the ground water mitigation plan to the Wyoming De- partment of Health for their review. Because we have lined the pool, ground water infiltra- tion could damage or ruin the liner, so managing ground water makes sense. We are holding off on the 21 st Street improvements because the street design includes water and storm and sanitary sewer. We are in the middle of our Level 1 water study and are waiting for recommendations on what to do. Kathy and I attended the Wyoming Business Council Meeting in Laramie to submit the Croell grant application. Mr. Croell was granted his request from the Business Council. It appears we are close to an agreement on a new site for our failing water tank. It would be premature to announce any details but we are close. The culvert replacement on Industrial Road is under way but will not be completed until spring. The chlorinator building for the west well is about to go to bid. We have to chlorinate the water because we use the well year round and that is a requirement. Saturday at the North East Leaders Meeting there was some discussion concerning the Supplemental budget and Governor Mead's continued support of local govemment. It ap- pears the Governor will be getting some additional funding for us. I would like to wish everyone a safe and Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Paul Brooks, Mayor POWDER RIVER MANUFACTURED HOMES 1300 W 2nd St. Gillette WY LARGEST SELECTION OF HOMES IN THE TRISTATE AREA MODULAR CUSTOM DEALER Custom Floor Plans Welcome! Design Your Homel Call Us! BUILDING YOUR DREAMS ONE HOMEATATIME (307) 687-0333 TOLL.F. EOE7) 687-0505 1-888-468-0333 KARRIE JO TRACY SUZANNE NESS www.powderriverhomeswy.com CALL TO BOOK YOUR HOLIDAY PARTIES! zl4 E. Morn SlreeL Saada.(e WY 307-283-3644 Tuesday+Wednesday: Price Bottles of Wine Wilh Dinner Thursday: Chicken Fried Sleak Friday:Chile Rellenos. Saturday: Prime Rib LONGHORNf'-B ............. AR OPEN AT II A.M DALLY ........... CLOSED MONDAY 214 Easl Mail1 Sl~v~'l, Stmda~ e, Wyomhlq 307 28.] :]644 BAR MENU SERVED 11-9:30 STEAKS AVAILABLE SUNDAY EVENING _!. Over 50 Years Combined Experience. The choice of body shops is always yours. 2922 S. 4th Ave. * Spearfish, $D 57783 "Just off Heritage Drive" Regarding the article "War on Coal" by Travis Deti in last week's paper, I must agree wholeheartedly. For anyone who doubts what President Obama's real agenda is, let them recaU his exact quote of "Under my plan, electricity rates will necessarily skyrocket." I think that sums up his administration's agenda pre- cisely. He is not concerned about OUR rates, OUR jobs, or OUR economy, but rather he is only interested in his greenie agenda and wasting taxpayer dollars with such shams as Solyndra and the like. Unfortunately, the people have spoken and weql have to endure the war he has waged against us for another four years. Our only hope is for our Congress to re- sist and they can only do so if you make your voices heard. Mac Frank Ella's & The Longhorn will be closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Free Tom & Jerry's at Longhorn Bar Sat., Dec. 22 from 4-6 p.m. so muc BY JIM WILLOX Chairman Wyoming County Commissioners Association Transportation Committee DELBERT EITEL Co-Chairman Wyoming County Commissioners Association Transportation Committee In Wyoming, one of the many duties of a county commissioner is to set policy that provides for the health, safety and welfare of its citizens. Our state highways and county road systems are how the majority of Wyoming citizens travel our vast state. Our roadways are how our children get to school, how expectant parents get to a hospital for the birth of a child, how we get our agricultural products to market, how heavy industrial traffic gets to the oil field or the mine, how tourists see our beautiful mountain vistas, how our high school and collegiate athletes get to a game and how we travel to see our friends and family during the holidays. It is no secret that for most commissioners, the highest vol- ume of calls and "hey, I e got a question for you inquiries con- cem roads. Outside of law enforcement, the county road and bridge department is generally the largest and most visible de- partment, and roads have the most extensive capital need in any county. We are constantly looking for ways to improve and maintain our county road systems. Yet for the last 14 years, the revenue stream from the fuel tax has not changed. The fuel tax is a major component of each county's road and bridge budget, with 26 cents of every dollar collected distributed to counties for their transportation system. Yet in the same 14 years, the cost of a basic maintenance item, a road grader, has increased over 55%. The math is simple, the answer is simple as well, but it requires that we all contribute. In addition to the use of roadways by Wyoming citizens, the majority of our roadways are used by out-of-state travelers passing through. It is estimated that 52% of highway users are out-of-state travelers, and the vehicle miles traveled in Wyoming has increased 64% from 1990 to 2009. Good roads are crucial for our economic vitality. The county commissioners across the state feel a strong sense to protect and promote our local economies. Annually, $24 billion dollars in goods are shipped from sites in Wyoming and another $28 billion dollars in goods are shipped to sites in Wyoming, mostly by truck. Our roads are crumbling, and by 2030, 82% of Wyo- ming's roads will be listed =in poor condition if nothing is done to stop the deterioration. To maintain Wyoming's roads, high- ways and bridges, $135 million dollars annually in revenue is what is needed to keep Wyoming roads in their current state (no improvements factored into this cost). , , enfly Wyoming receives about 35% of its state highway ; ,funding: from.the federal government. This funding is currently fiat and is anticipated to decline in the future. As such, the Wyoming Legislature has continued its work to come up with viable solutions to find revenue sources to help cover the costs of our aging infrastructure. The Wyoming Legislature has voted on bills related to fuel tax or other efforts to divert revenues to highways every year since 2008. Now is the time to save our roads. A solution to the revenue deficit that has been proposed by the Legislature is to increase the current state fuel tax from 14 cents a gallon to 24 cents a gallon and to increase the state vehicle registration fees by $10. By increasing the fuel tax and raising the vehicle registration fees, the state could receive an additional $89.9 million dollars. Of the $89.9 million dollars in anticipated revenue, approximately $65.4 million dollars would go to state highways and $24.5 million would be distributed to local governments and state parks. Even with the proposed increases, $89.9 million falls short of the $135 million annually to maintain Wyoming roadways; however, it is a good start to addressing the funding needs. Wyoming currently has the second lowest fuel and diesel tax- es in America, and the state tax has not been increased since 1998. By increasing the fuel tax by 10 cents, Wyoming's tax rates would be comparable to surrounding Western states. Con- trary to popular belief, raising the fuel tax does not equate to a penny for penny increase at the pump in the price of gas to the consumer. In the fuel industry, taxes on fuel (federal and state) are remitted by the suppliers, not at the pump. Further evidence in support of this conclusion is visible by looking at the prices of gas and diesel in surrounding states where often- times fuel costs are lower than those in Wyoming, even though their state fuel tax is higher than the state fuel tax charged in Wyoming. How can this be? Due to competiveness of whole- sale fuels, market participants will have to adjust their price spreads to assure competition with other wholesale suppliers in surrounding states. County commissioners do not support tapping into the State's "rainy day fund to fund road repair. Using one time money for ongoing expenses is not consistent with our Wyoming values. Further, kicking the can down the road will only increase the wear and tear on our personal vehicles. High repair bills, more tires and broken windshields do have a direct effect on personal pocketbooks. We commend the Joint Revenue and Joint Transportation Committees of the Wyoming Legislature on their commitment to finding a solution to a Wyoming problem. Wyoming has invest- ed billions of dollars at the state and local levels in our roads, and like anything, it will take resources to continue to care for and protect our investment. The notion of increasing the fuel tax to protect the citizens' investment has broad support. The Wyoming Lodging and Restaurant Association, the Wyoming Stock Growers Association, the Wyoming Petroleum Market- ers Association, the Wyoming Business Alliance, the Wyoming Trucking Association, the Wyoming Contractors Association, the Wyoming Taxpayers Association, the Wyoming Highway Us- ers Federation, the Wyoming Association of Municipalities and the Wyoming Travel Industry Coalition are aU statewide groups who recognize that now is the time to commit to our roads. Please join us in supporting efforts in saving the life blood of our local economies. About The WCCA: The Wyoming County Commissioners' As- sociation (WCCA) is an organization consisting of the Boards of County Commissioners of all twenty-three Wyoming counties. The WCCA exists to strengthen the counties and the people who lead them through a program of networking, education, and uni- fied action.