Don't Forget SPET This Off-Season
It seems that everyone is already talking about the 2020 election, but we can't afford to forget that Teton County has 10 critical funding measures up for voter approval on this year's November 5 ballot.
So, before you drive to the desert, fly to Mexico, or simply check out for the off-season, please remember to vote on the SPET (Specific Purpose Excise Tax) measures.
Early voting has begun, so you can now vote on any business day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Teton County Clerk’s Office at 200 S Willow St in Jackson.
On the November 5 election day, you will be able to vote from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Teton County Library or the Old Wilson Schoolhouse Community Center.
I've been getting three questions on the SPET measures from several folks, and I wanted to share my responses with you.
Will these measures increase the sales taxes?
No! Sales tax in Teton County will remain the same at 6 cents per dollar no matter how many measures pass. If approved, each measure will simply extend the existing sales tax at the current rate. Remember that visitors pay about 60 percent of our county’s sales tax, so most of the funding will come from out-of-towners.
Should I vote for every measure I support or should I just pick the items that I support the most?
These measures do not compete against each other. Every measure that receives 50 percent plus one vote will be funded. Elected officials and staff from the county and town have vetted each measure. Each one represents community values – from protecting the environment and providing affordable housing, to keeping our kids and community safe. These are important priorities.
Which measures should I support?
All of them!!! Here’s why, in the order they appear on the ballot:
Downtown Water Quality: $2 million
This project will reduce water pollution from snowmelt and stormwater run-off in Cache Creek as it runs through town, mostly underground. Vote yes if you endorse better water quality in Flat Creek.
Core Services Vehicle Maintenance Facility: $18.5 million
The town and county need an adequate garage to maintain snowplows, law enforcement vehicles, search & rescue vehicles, buses, and other public vehicles. Please vote yes if you agree that the town’s mechanics should have a decent place to keep our motor vehicles running and not have to work on snowplows outside during snowstorms.
Teton County Courthouse: $2 million
Our courthouse building needs improvement. Vote yes to plan and design a new courthouse building with better security and other improvements for our courtrooms, sheriff’s department, and justice center.
Recycling: $2.5 million
This measure upgrades our recycling center. Most importantly, it funds a food-sorting system so that we can compost food waste. Vote yes if you agree that composting is better for the world than hauling food waste to Idaho Falls and dumping it in a landfill.
Fire/EMS Wildland Firefighting Apparatus: $1.6 million
This measure will replace four aged wildland firefighting engines. Vote yes if you don’t want your home to burn down in a wildfire.
Gregory Lane: $8.5 million
Here’s an opportunity to improve water quality flowing into Flat Creek and make it safer for children to walk to school along Gregory Lane. Please vote yes if you agree that basic street, sidewalk, and stormwater management improvements are overdue in this mixed residential and industrial corridor.
Deed Restricted Housing Fund: $5.5 million
Our community is experiencing a workforce and affordable housing crisis. Vote yes if you agree that we need to mitigate this crisis, so more people who work here have a chance to live here.
Café Genevieve Block: $4.4 million
No, we are not finished with this community-driven effort to protect the Café Gen block! Vote yes to protect a portion of the block for the historical society and museum to relocate three historic cabins to the site.
Recreation Center Expansion & Renovation: $22 million
Vote yes for an indoor climbing wall, indoor walking/running track, and other critical improvements to our heavily-used recreation center. Vote yes for a healthier community.
Wildlife Crossings: $10 million
This measure provides funds to design and build wildlife crossings, which reduce collisions between motorists and wildlife. Please vote yes for wildlife, for people, and for protecting this ecosystem.