The Casper City Council and Natrona County have made Optional 1-Percent Sales Tax funding applications available for social service projects that would benefit the community from fiscal years 2020-2023, a city official said Tuesday.

"We are opening up our 1-Cent 16 community projects funding allocation," said Fleur Tremel, assistant to the city manager and city clerk.

"We're hoping to receive some applications from community groups all around Natrona County on any projects they might want to accomplish in the next four years starting in fiscal year 2020," Tremel said.

As in the past, county residents can make suggestions for funding priorities ranging from infrastructure, capital purchases, building projects.

After the priorities for major projects are set, the city will offer about $2 million for social service agencies such as the Wyoming Medical Center Foundation, Tremel said. For example, the Foundation recently broke ground for a new Masterson Place for families who need a place to stay while loved ones are being treated at the hospital.

After those recommendations are considered, Casper City Council votes on them and voters can see where their tax money will go, she added.

Over the decades, the optional 1-cent sales tax has paid either partially or in full for City Hall, the Hall of Justice, the Casper Events Center, and capital purchases including police cars and fire trucks. Among other projects, No. 15 paid for two fire stations.

Casper does not use its revenues for operations, but smaller municipalities such as Midwest and Edgerton do, Tremel said.

The revenues are distributed based on population to Casper, the other municipalities and the unincorporated areas of Natrona County.

The vote whether to renew the optional 1-cent sales tax will be on the Nov. 6 general election ballot. The state mandates a 4-cent sales tax, and counties have the option to add up to two more cents. Natrona County voters approved the first extra 1-cent sales tax, sometimes referred to as the "fifth cent," in the early 1970s and have renewed it ever since. Voters renewed it -- Optional One-Cent Sales Tax No. 15 -- by 71 percent in 2014.

Estimated revenues for No. 15 for fiscal years 2016-2019 initially were pegged about $68 million total, but the energy crash in late 2014 cut back the projected revenues to about $52 million to $55 million, Tremel said.

If voters renew it -- No. 16 -- in November, the revenues will be collected starting at the beginning of the 2020 fiscal year, which is July 1, she said. Estimated revenues would be about $52 million to $55 million, she added.

So now is the time to propose projects for the next four years.

Funding applications and instructions are available online at the city's website or at the City Clerk’s Office, 200 N. David St., Casper, WY 82601.

The deadline for submission of proposals is 3 p.m., Friday, Aug 10.

No late applications will be accepted.

For more information, call the city clerk's office at 235-8215.

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