GREEN RIVER– The Green River City Council hosted a workshop Tuesday night to discuss their options for the 6th penny special purpose tax. They council collectively decided to present the Sweetwater County Commissioners with a proposed amount of $52,921,492.
The $52 million dollars would allow the City of Green River to work on several economic development, water, wastewater, street, and parks and recreation projects, as well as a sponsored project with Castle Rock Hospital District.
The council emphasized their desire to prioritize road work, which makes up nearly 70 percent of the 6th penny funds being asked for. The City of Green River will be asking for $20.8 million for street replacements, and $3 million for street overlays.
The total amount of 6th penny needs for the city totals over $96 million, and the city personnel was able to prioritize projects and cut that amount down by over $43 million.
Voters approved $74.8 million in 2006 and $81.8 million in 2013 for the 6th penny tax.
Projects the city is hoping to fund with the 6th penny tax includes:
Economic Development Projects:
- UP Train Depot development- $300,000
- The total amount needed for the train depot is $3 million. The $300,000 will cover a grant match for the project.
- Airport Updates (tied to federal and state grants)- $57,045
- The amount needed is $2,190,922, which would get them $6 million in grants. With the $57,045, they can pace the pojrect and do vault, fence and wildlife fence, and get monies in from federal government.
- Fiber Runs and connectivity/wifi- $250,000
- The total amount needed is $500,00. The $250,000 will go towards setting up a public wifi system.
- Water line replacement for road reconstruction- $6,500,000
- These monies will cover the cost of the water lines underneath the roads the that the City is looking to replace/repair and would be done at the same time as reconstruction.
- Wastewater Treatment Plant (design and construction)- $7,500,000
- Street replacements- $20,800,000
- Total with water line replacement (listed above) is $27.7 million of non-funded, non-scheduled street repairs.
- Street overlays- $3,000,000
Parks and Recreation Projects:
- Parks and Rec Facilities (Rec Center renovation)- $10,000,000
- Estimated amount for renovation is $10-12 million.
- Infrastructure (Green Belt)- $1,200,000
- This would fund overlay and lighting on the Green Belt, which would improve safety and beautification.
- Infrastructure (Riverbank stabilization)- $500,000
- The total amount needed is $1 million. The $500,000 would cover two riverbank stabilization projects grants and other funding sources would be used to cover the other $500,000 needed.
- Castle Rock Improvement (new building)- $2,814,447
- Castle Rock’s new building is estimated to cost $11,257,787. The $2,814,447 would help cover construction payments so Castle Rock can focus on expanding services such as MRI and Dexa systems.
Reed Clevenger, Green River City Administrator, said they could reduce lower priority streets to cut the total amount needed down to $49,471,492. However, each of the council members said they should ask for the $52 million and see what the Sweetwater County Commissioners decide to cut.
Mayor Pete Rust said they will more than likely have to make adjustments after the commissioners look at their needs. Rust said by asking for the $52 million, the City will have more flexibility to make those adjustments.
Councilmen Robert Berg and Jim Zimmerman both said streets are a priority, so that is not where they want to cut.
“When we’re asking people to vote to tax themselves, we need to give them something they can see,” Zimmerman said. He added that hidden projects that residents can’t see, drive on, or feel are hard to sell.
Educating the Community
Mayor Rust said marketing the 6th penny tax to the residents will be very important in getting their proposal passed by the voters.
“Education and marketing is huge,” he said.
He said it will be important to educate the community on past 6th penny projects and relate them to proposed projects to show how the tax benefits the residents.
Rust even suggested using strategies such as putting color coordinated balloons on completed projects and proposed projects to help raise awareness of what the 6th penny tax does.
The City of Green River will present their needs to the County Commissioners by September 30, allowing the commissioners to look them over. Then on October 8, the communities will meet to touch base and prepare for the County’s decision.
On October 15, the commissioners are expected to make their decisions and take action at their regularly scheduled meeting.