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Temporary sixth cent tax voted down in special election

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Special Election

Casper holds a special election on Tuesday November 2, 2021 to vote on a specific purpose tax.

Natrona County voted down a proposed specific purpose tax that would have added a sixth cent of sales tax for three months next year. 

Out of 7,060 people who voted in Tuesday's special election, 53% voted no on the tax. The measure lost by 446 votes.

The tax would have aimed to raise a total of $4.3 million between April and June 2022, to be split between repairs to a section of Midwest Avenue in Casper and a water line replacement serving Midwest, Edgerton and the Salt Creek oil field. 

Casper City Manager Carter Napier said Tuesday night that Casper will likely have to pull funding from other street maintenance projects to cover the costs of repairing Midwest Avenue, if the city council decides to go forward with the project. Making the final section between Walnut and Poplar streets usable, Napier said, is crucial for the developing downtown area and Old Yellowstone District.

"I don't know what Midwest or Edgerton will have available to consider," Napier said. "They have a lot less options than we do."

The towns have a combined population of around 700, and lack the ability to raise millions in existing local taxes that larger cities like Casper enjoy.

Tuesday's special election was the first in Natrona County since a 2015 referendum in which Casper residents voted to uphold an indoor smoking ban in the city. 

Just over 6,000 people voted in that referendum. In the most recent general election, more than 35,000 ballots were cast in the county. 

"That's the challenge with special elections," Napier said, "it's hard to get folks to come out and throw the lever one way or the other."

Follow city and crime reporter Ellen Gerst on Twitter at @ellengerst

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