2017 Specific Purpose Tax Information Guide – Pine Bluffs

The May 2nd Specific Purpose Tax Ballot contains many important infrastructure projects for Pine Bluffs. A total of $5,000,000 has been allocated for water and electrical improvements, replacement and refurbishment of existing facilities, acquisition of equipment, debt reduction, routine road maintenance, and the expansion of the cemetery. These projects are spread across Propositions 5 through 9.

Proposition 5 includes renovation of the clean water system, electric infrastructure improvements, and a new Public Works facility.

$2,000,000 has been allocated for Phase 1 of the Clean Water System Renovation. All waste water from the community flows into a series of lagoons where sewage is broken down by natural resources (bacteria, sunlight, oxygen, wind). For a lagoon to be able to handle the flow properly and be healthy it must meet several requirements. Our sewer lagoons, which include an overflow lagoon that handles any excess waste, receives regular maintenance; however, after more than twenty years of routine servicing, these lagoons need more costly repairs to include lining and valve replacement. In addition, electronic components that alert technicians of well levels and status also need upgrades which will be purchased with this funding.

The second project in Proposition 5 is electric infrastructure repairs and upgrades. With just under 20 miles of overhead distribution lines throughout the town, and the substation to support that distribution, the town's electric infrastructure needs repairs and upgrades. The $950,000 will pay for servicing the substation to include replacing breakers and pole structures, burying a segment of distribution line in the downtown area, replacing aged copper line with aluminum, and expanding service to new facilities.

Pine Bluffs is also seeking $390,000 to construct a new Public Works facility. Funds will be used to demolish two smaller shops and sheds and construct a 14,000 square foot facility to centralize Public Works equipment and materials. Centralization will effectively streamline work flow, reduce utility costs, and enhance security for inventory. This new facility will also provide the needed covered space to protect public works fleet vehicles and equipment during storms.

Proposition 6 includes $75,000 for the refurbishment of recreational facilities. The majority of this funding will be used to upgrade our ball field which has dugouts that are more than 35 years old; they are small and lack air flow. The media will be replaced with the correct scoria mix and the infield will be reseeded. Finally, the small play area attached to the ball field will receive a face lift and the parking area will be graded allowing for better drainage. Remaining funds will be used to replace many trees throughout our parks that were killed during last July's terrible hail storm.

$40,000 for upgrades to the town cemetery is included in Proposition 7. Cremation rates in the western half of the United States are steadily outnumbering burials, and it is no different in our small community. With more and more individuals pre-planning for future funeral costs, it is evident that columbaria will provide an increased number of resting places in our cemetery to meet future needs. The plan includes placing a 48-niche granite columbarium that allows for future expansion. Each niche can hold up to four cremains, keeping families close.

Proposition 8 includes funding to reduce outstanding debt and acquire new equipment.

The town is seeking $1,050,000 to reduce existing debt. Almost 10 years have passed since the town worked through significant water concerns – specifically the grim realization that wells were either drying up or not producing the flow needed to sustain the community. Since then town has moved forward with several loans and grants to support water projects; in particular, acquisition of irrigation wells to provide additional water supply. By reducing our outstanding debt, we can better serve the community.

The second project in Proposition 8 for Pine Bluffs is $195,000 for new town equipment. With vehicles and equipment within the Public Works fleet surpassing 20 years old and in need of significant repairs, the town intends to replace and upgrade equipment as needed.

Pine Bluffs is requesting $300,000 for street and alley maintenance in Proposition 9. Approximately eight years have passed since crack and chip sealing has been done. Crack and chip sealing prevents water from penetrating the road structure, slowing deterioration and extending the pavement life. This sixth-penny funding will provide four years of crack and chip sealing for our town roads along with alley grading and curb/gutter repairs.

We are very grateful to the citizens of Laramie County for their support of past specific purpose tax propositions. It is almost impossible for a town the size of Pine Bluffs to self-fund these types of infrastructure projects, particularly utility upgrades. Pine Bluffs does not have a large enough customer base to pay for utility upgrades. Small communities rely on the sixth penny to fund large capital construction projects.

Councilman Alan Curtis has been a member of the Pine Bluffs Town Council for more than 7 years. As homeowner and active businessman in the local community, Alan has dedicated his time to helping build the community, its infrastructure, and amenities. For questions regarding our proposed projects, please email Councilman Curtis at acurtis@rtconnect.net or call (307)245-3746.

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