Lodging tax and general purpose excise tax to be considered by voters in November | Local News
SHERIDAN — Two Sheridan County tax staples will be back on the general election ballot this year, following the approval of two resolutions by the Sheridan County Commission earlier this week.
The commission voted unanimously to pass resolutions placing a 2% countywide lodging tax and a 1% general purpose excise tax on the ballot at its Tuesday meeting.
Visitors staying in overnight accommodations pay the lodging tax, and Sheridan County hotels, bed and breakfasts, cottages, and RV parks collect it. It doesn’t affect local residents, said Shawn Parker, executive director of travel and tourism for Sheridan County.
Sheridan voters originally approved the lodging tax, which funds the marketing efforts of Sheridan County Travel and Tourism, as a citywide tax by Sheridan voters in 1992, and it was approved every four years since. Initially set at 2%, it rose to 4% in the early 2000s, Parker said. It became a departmental tax in 2018.
The tax is dropping back to 2% this year, following the approval of a 5% statewide lodging tax by the Wyoming Legislature in 2020, Sheridan County Chief Administrative Officer said. Renee Obermueller.
“Legislation passed by the state implemented a statewide lodging tax, and (the county is) guaranteed at 2% already by the state,” Obermueller said. “So instead of implementing a 4% accommodation tax, we are implementing a 2% tax because we already have the 2% guarantee from the state. So it’s a reduction from what we originally presented on the ballot, but it is not a reduction in taxes collected.
Typically, the tax receives community support, Parker said. In the general election 2018the countywide lodging tax was successful with more than 65% of respondents—or 7,793 county residents—voting in favor of the tax.
The General Purpose Excise Tax – formerly known as the One Cent Optional Sales Tax – has been continually renewed by Sheridan County voters since 1988. The tax is an additional cent of the sales tax collected on items subject to sales and use tax. It does not apply to most purchases of food, rent, real estate or gasoline.
In the past, GPET funding has been used for projects involving roads, infrastructure, public safety, parks and trails, services for the elderly and economic development in communities in Sheridan County, said County Commissioner Christi Haswell.
“Communities in Sheridan County have made it clear that they appreciate the benefits that flow from this,” Haswell said. “I appreciate that we put it on the ballot for them to vote on. It does a lot of good in our communities.
In the 2018 general election, the general purpose excise tax was successful with over 69% of respondents – or 8,267 county residents – voting in favor of the tax.
The general election will take place on November 8. If the ballot proposals are approved by Sheridan County voters, revenue collection for both taxes will begin in July 2023 and end in June 2027, when they will be reviewed by voters.
Stephen Dow is a reporter for The Sheridan Press.