City of Green River Gives Update on Sixth Penny Tax Collections

City of Green River Gives Update on Sixth Penny Tax Collections

Mark Westenskow and other city staff participated in a state of the city address on Wednesday.

GREEN RIVER — The City of Green River has collected just over $2 million for the Special Purpose Tax, or the sixth penny tax, according to Public Affairs and Grants Manager Ryan Rust.

During an update on the state of the city during the Green River Chamber’s Lunch and Learn Wednesday, Rust said total collections for the tax is $7.89 million. The tax was approved by voters November 2022 for a total amount of $83.5 million. Green River will be allocated about 26% of the total collections.

According to Rust, an average of $1.4 million needs to be collected each month to fully collect the total amount in five years. Since July, the county has collected over $1.5 million monthly, even collecting up to $1.7 million in September and more than $1.8 million for October. Rust said that while he cannot say with certainty, as of now it is a possibility that the total will be collected before the five-year time frame is up.

Advertisement - Story continues below...

Rust also said that of the entities receiving these funds, four entities have bonded, three have opted for cash funding, and one, Superior, has gone for a mix of bonding and cash funding. Green River is one of the entities doing the cash funding option. He said the city looked at bonding and decided it was not the best fit for Green River as city officials didn’t want to pay additional fees on the funds. Rust also said that with bonding, the IRS will sometimes require the funds to be spent in a certain time frame, and they decided they didn’t want to put those barriers on the money.

Public Works Director Mark Westenskow said the sixth penny tax was approved for several streets projects. Those include River View Drive, both east and west, which are both slated to be done in 2024; Faith and Evans Streets, which is to take place in 2025; and Easy Street, Wilkes Drive, Indian Hills, and Bridger Drive. Cape seal projects are also planned throughout the city.

Ryan Rust discusses the sixth penny collections.

City Administrator Reed Clevenger said the city needs to do a better job of sharing what the sixth penny does in the community to show that it is a valuable tax for the city. He said that the sixth penny is the biggest contributor to funding roads projects. Westenskow said that the 2012 sixth penny tax is funding several roads projects taking place in 2023 such as major patches on River View Drive, Bridger Drive, Wild Horse Canyon and the underpass, and smaller patches on Fir, Elm, and Yates, Monroe and Andrews, W 4th N and N 8th W, and Juniper and Ironwood, as well as cape seals to happen in the future.

“We would like to be able to touch every road in every decade,” Westenskow said. He said that this is achievable through doing cape seals, which are cost effective ways of maintaining roads without having to do full rebuilds.

Clevenger said the reason the sixth penny is collecting at a faster pace than the five-year projection is because of the current sale tax revenues being higher than what was budgeted. Clevenger said the city has been fairly conservative the fast few years when budgeting sales tax revenues, budgeting for $850,000 per month for fiscal year 2024. Actual sales tax has so far been averaging over $1 million each month.