What is the ¼ Penny?
The ¼ cent economic development tax would apply to taxable goods purchased within Campbell County. This tax does not apply to food, gasoline, home purchases, prescriptions, or rental payments.
Who pays for it?
Anyone who buys taxable goods in Campbell County contributes to the total collected. Guests to our county, tourists, and part-time residents will cover an estimated 20% of the tax burden.
Is it permanent?
The citizens of Campbell County would vote on the ¼ penny every four years, providing an additional measure of accountability.
How are the funds to be used?
Funds generated by this effort will support both Gillette College and Energy Capital Economic Development, in an effort to create economic stability and growth in Campbell County.
How much will the tax cost me?
A ¼ cent tax costs the consumer one penny for every four dollar purchase of taxable goods. A family of three, with an average income of $45,000, will pay an estimated $27 per year, or slightly more than 50 cents per week.
Here are a few examples of how the ¼ cent would impact purchases:
What are the current sales tax rates?
For Campbell County, 5% for a $1.00 purchase. Goshen County is the only county in the State currently utilizing the economic development sales tax, bringing their rate to 5.25%. Below please find the current sales tax rate in adjacent counties:
Crook County 6%
Converse County 5%
Johnson County 5%
Sheridan County 6%
Weston County 6%
What is the voting procedure?
The vote will take place on Tuesday, November 7, 2017. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Please check with Elections Office for polling locations. The polling locations are the same as 2016. You must be a Campbell County Resident to vote in the election.
How do I absentee or "early" vote?
Absentee ballots are available from September 22 to November 6. You may request an absentee ballot by phone, in writing, or in-person from the Elections Office. Absentee ballots must be mailed before November 7, as they will not be accepted after 7 p.m. on election day. On November 7, you will not be able to absentee vote instead you need to vote at your designated polling place.
Wyoming government, industry and academic leaders will welcome Japanese energy officials for a conference on the future of coal Sept. 21-22 in Gillette.
Organized by the University of Wyoming’s School of Energy Resources at the CAM-PLEX Wyoming Center Equality Hall, the “Wyoming/JCOAL Workshop: The Future of Coal” is a result of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed by Gov. Matt Mead and the president of Japan Coal Energy Center (JCOAL) in July 2016.
Topics scheduled for discussion are areas of potential collaboration, knowledge sharing and partnership between Wyoming and JCOAL in the areas of coal trade and exports; economic development; clean-coal solutions; and carbon capture, utilization and storage.
The two days of panel discussions and other presentations begin at 8:30 a.m. each day. The opening session will include a welcome and remarks by Mead and by Osamu Tsukamoto, president of JCOAL.
More details of the workshop, including a draft agenda, may be viewed at the University of Wyoming website.
JCOAL operates under the supervision of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan, and is supported by more than 120 member coal-related businesses, including Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd., Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems, Nippon Steel and Toshiba.
The MOU covers technical cooperation, research and development, communication and information exchange, and facilitating coal exports and sales. The university, the Wyoming Infrastructure Authority and the Wyoming Business Council are the primary agencies working with JCOAL.
On August 8 & 9, the Joint Revenue Committee met in Thermopolis to discuss the revenue shortfall in Wyoming's budget. A deadline of November 10 looms ahead of next year's legislative session, to report on possible revenue generating options to offset the hundreds of millions in deficit.
Campbell County Commissioner Rusty Bell, who also sits on the Chamber's Business Advocacy Committee, provided comment to the Joint Revenue Committee about the optional statewide sales tax.
A proposed extra 1% sales and use tax would reportedly generate $140 million annually. Commissioner Bell stated to the committee that any sales tax imposed at the state level would make it harder for optional 1% sales and use taxes on the local level to be passed.
Other ideas being discussed by the committee are broadening the state sales tax to include items not currently taxed, like groceries. A grocery tax at the full sales tax rate currently exists only in South Dakota, Mississippi, and Alabama. According to projections, taxing groceries, newspaper sales, farm implement sales, religious and charitable sales, manufacturing machinery sales, repairs to railroad rolling stock, and data centers would generate $234 million in additional revenue.
You can download a full report here:
Astronomy magazine is predicting that this month's eclipse will be the most-viewed ever. They're basing that on the attention it's getting from American media, the good coverage our highways will give for it, the typical weather this time of year, and the number of people who will have access to the eclipse's path. They also recently published a list of facts about the eclipse. Here are a few of our favorites:
1. Solar eclipses only happen at New Moon. The Moon has to be between the Sun and Earth for a solar eclipse to occur. The only lunar phase when that happens is New Moon.
2. Eclipse totalities are different lengths. The reason the total phases of solar eclipses vary in time is because Earth is not always at the same distance from the Sun and the Moon is not always the same distance from Earth. The Earth-Sun distance varies by 3 percent and the Moon-Earth distance by 12 percent. The result is that the Moon’s apparent diameter can range from 7 percent larger to 10 percent smaller than the Sun.
3. Everyone in the continental U.S. will see at least a partial eclipse. In fact, if you have clear skies on eclipse day, the Moon will cover at least 48 percent of the Sun’s surface. And that’s from the northern tip of Maine.
4. Cool things are afoot before and after totality. Keep your eyes open during the partial phases that lead up to and follow it. Around the 75% mark, you’ll start to notice that shadows are getting sharper. The reason is that the Sun’s disk is shrinking, literally approaching a point, and a smaller light source produces better-defined shadows. At about 85% coverage, someone you’re with will see Venus 34° west-northwest of the Sun. If any trees live at your site, you may see their leaves act like pinhole cameras as hundreds of crescent Suns appear in their shadows.
5. Nature will take heed. Depending on your surroundings, as totality nears you may experience strange things.
Look: You’ll notice a resemblance to the onset of night, though not exactly. Areas much lighter than the sky near the Sun lie all around the horizon. Shadows look different.
Listen. Usually, any breeze will dissipate and birds (many of whom will come in to roost) will stop chirping. It is quiet.
Feel. A 10°–15° F drop in temperature is not unusual.
6. Maximum totality is not the longest possible in 2017. The longest possible duration of the total phase of a solar eclipse is 7 minutes and 32 seconds. Unfortunately, the next solar eclipse whose totality approaches 7 minutes won’t occur until June 13, 2132. Its 6 minutes and 55 seconds of totality will be the longest since the 7 minutes and 4 seconds of totality June 30, 1973.
7. Only one large city has a great view. The 609,000 people lucky enough to live in Nashville, Tennesee, will experience 2+ minutes of totality. According to Astronomy, Denver will only reach 92% totality, which means Gillette is a better place to be during the eclipse!
Get your plans together for the eclipse! Travel may be difficult and interruptions in delivery services may make any last minute necessities difficult. Make sure your prescriptions are filled the week before, and you have plenty of groceries.
And make sure you know the "official" Wyoming Eclipse hashtag brands to use: #WYEclipse #ThatsWY and #WYSkies.
Gillette Main Street vendors reached a compromise with the City on July 18th, to change a parking fine increase ordinance from a fee of $15, to $7. Previously the City wanted to increase the $2 fine for overstaying a 2 hour parking limit to $15, something most business owners on Gillette Avenue objected to.
John Daly, owner of Daly & Sorenson, a law office on Gillette Avenue, spoke to the Council on August 1 about how construction around the courthouse has already affected both where he and his clients can park, and their access to the courthouse.
"I own five lots either on Main Street or near Main Street," he told City Council last Tuesday. "The impact of increased parking in this parking deal is that those people move in to our off-street lots. So there's a parking problem for us. While this may satisfy some merchants on Main Street, it doesn't satisfy those of us who have businesses where people take more than two hours."
Daly cited the other law offices, the multiple banks on Main Street, and even Dunlap Photography as businesses where clients will spend more than the two hour limit. He then contrasted with how anyone can park for free for weeks at a time at Wal-Mart and other stores in the Powder Basin Shopping Center. He preferred the City either throw out the ordinance amendment, or make all parking in the City free.
"We cannot afford to go around with our two officers for $2 a ticket. It does not pay. Seven doesn't either, really, but that is the compromise," Mayor Louise Carter-King told Daly.
The City Council voted unanimously to change the parking fee to $7. A charge of $5.00 for "extended overtime" parking for each successive 30 minute period thereafter stays the same, as well as a $10 fine for not paying a parking ticket within 24 hours.
Sprout Social recently surveyed 1,000 Millennials (people aged 18-34), Generation X'ers (people aged 34-54) and Baby Boomers (everyone over 55) to see how they engaged with brands on social media. It's no surprise to learn that Facebook dominates in terms of usage across generations, but it may concern some to know that focusing all your social media marketing strictly through Facebook ignores the Millennial's preference for other platforms -- namely, Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat.
While social media users in their thirties and up far and away prefer Facebook, Millennials seem to split their time evenly between the three biggest platforms right now (Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat.) This is important because the same survey found that almost half of everyone aged 18-34 not only follows, but has loyalty to brands on social media. They're also twice as likely to interact with these brands versus anyone over the age of 55.
If you're interested in marketing towards this age group, you're going to have to venture outside of Facebook. For those of you already keeping a company Instagram to push promotions and sales, keep up the hard work. And consider something else the Sprout survey discovered: Generation X'ers are more likely to purchase something from you because they follow you on social media, more than any other age group.
It's also fairly easy to keep them happy and following, as well: Don't be spammy, annoying, or offensive, and seven out of every ten Gen X'ers will choose your brand first.
For the complete survey results, click here.
As the conversation in Washington pivots from healthcare to tax reform, so, too, does the chatter around the country during this August recess period. While lawmakers are back home this month, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce hopes too that representatives will be thinking about their promises to the national Chamber association.
President & CEO of the U.S. Chamber, Tom Donohue, issued an open letter to Congress on July 20. In part, it stated:
"In the last election, the Chamber endorsed 240 candidates. In the upcoming cycle, in addition to looking for candidates who support free enterprise, we will be focusing on individuals with a demonstrated willingness to govern, which means reaching consensus so that legislation can be passed and enacted into law. We are a quarter of the way through this Congress, but we are not yet where we need to be on key issues like health care, tax reform, and rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure. Promises were made; promises must be kept."
A consensus statement was issued by Congress, agreeing that tax codes need to be amended to drive economic growth. The U.S. Chamber's message to Congress included the following:
The hit Food Network program Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives has been to Wyoming in the show's ten year run on cable television, but it's only visited six Wyoming restaurants, and frustratingly, they were all in Jackson.
Anyone who's actually ventured out in Gillette knows our town's secret foodie revolution. From award-winning barbecue at Jo-Bawb's, to Mexican-Italian fusion at Armando's Tacos and Pasta, we have surprising and delicious choices for dinner in Campbell County.
Recently the Chamber posed a survey to its Facebook audience, asking which of our member restaurants deserved a shot on a television show like Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.
The top three results are in: Pizza Carrello, The Coop, and The Main Bagel are Gillette's favorite Chamber restaurants. Pizza Carrello, with its premium ingredients, and original wood-fired pizza combinations, has come a long way in five years. They earned Entrepreneur of the Year from the Chamber in 2012, and moved from a pizza cart on the street to a 140-seat restaurant on South Douglas Highway. So it's no surprise they took first place in our friendly poll.
The Coop combines rotisserie chicken with multiple different cultural influences. You can grab an outstanding chicken pot pie, lettuce wraps, or incredible empanadas. The Main Bagel is another homegrown favorite that serves everything freshly made, with the best ingredients, not least of which is their bagels! From breakfast to dinner, they have a fantastic menu, as well.
Probably the most frustrating part of this is that the show is produced by a Denver-based company called Citizen Pictures. You won't have to drive far to visit some of the best pizza, barbecue, tacos, and sandwiches in Wyoming -- we're right here in Gillette!
If you want to tell the show that, send your suggestion to email@example.com.
State economists have released data from the first quarter of 2017, and while the smaller picture may show declines in sales tax revenue and incomes, the big picture shows a decrease in unemployment, and a rebounding real estate market.
Not only have permits for new residential construction gone up across the state from this time last year, the U.S. housing market has met levels from before the housing bubble burst. Visits to major tourist destinations like Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons are down from last year's 100th anniversary celebration of National Parks, but visits to the state are expected to jump dramatically this quarter due to the total solar eclipse sweeping across the state in August.
The biggest news out of the Department of Administration & Information's analysis is that despite seeing a statewide average 2% drop on sales and use tax collections the first part of 2017, exploration in to new energy sources and production have led to a boost in the sale of equipment and services in mining, keeping Campbell County's revenue drop in the single digits, while other counties saw a 15-35% drop in revenue. Overall, however, it is the smallest average decline in revenue in the past two years.
You can read the entire report by clicking here.
Yesterday the mercury nearly reached the century mark, with the high on Wednesday at 99°. Today the National Weather Service is predicting a high of 95°, and while that's not quite a record-breaker, either (in 1936, the record for July 5 was 102°, for July 6 it was 107° in 1981), it's going to stay pretty hot this weekend, with temperatures in the high 90s.
If you're going out adventuring this weekend, make sure to pack plenty of water and sunblock!
The temperatures aren't the only thing to worry about. A ban on open burning goes in to effect Friday at 12:01 a.m. The partial ban will prohibit outdoor burning on private and public lands, though trash fires will be allowed in a container overnight, and charcoal grill fires will still be allowed. Here's a complete list of exceptions to the burn ban, released by the Campbell County Fire Department:
The ban is enacted by Campbell County officials and will remain in effect until it is rescinded by the board of commissioners.