Opportunities to Learn and Grow Our Community

Chamber Staff - Meredith Sopko

Meredith Sopko
Director of Marketing and Communications
Sheridan County Chamber of Commerce

This article originally appeared as a “Community Perspective” column in The Sheridan Press, October 26, 2013.

As I sit in my office and look out the window at our beautiful view, I am struck by the thought of how lucky we are to have the opportunity to live and work in a place that offers such a strong sense of community along with so many opportunities that are not necessarily enjoyed by all rural areas.

One of the opportunities that we enjoy is Leadership Sheridan County, and it is time, once again, to apply for the 2014 class.

This annual Sheridan County Chamber of Commerce program, in its 21st year, begins in January and culminates with a graduation ceremony in September, and is designed to inspire a new generation to assume leadership roles in our community. The program is delivered through an initial retreat, seven regular full-day monthly modules, each module focusing on a different aspect of our community, and an optional trip to Cheyenne and our state legislature.

This program is not only a great opportunity to learn more about Sheridan County, but also to network with other professionals with diverse backgrounds. Applications and information are available now, so go to the Chamber’s website (www.sheridanwyomingchamber.org) or call 672-2485.

We are also very pleased to announce that the Chamber’s Governmental Affairs Committee and the City of Sheridan are bringing in Tom C. Hirsig, Wyoming State Insurance Commissioner, to speak about the Affordable Care Act, with a specific emphasis on the Wyoming perspective. Mr. Hirsig will be here on Thursday, November 14, from 7:30 to 8:30 am, at City Hall’s council chambers. This is open to the public, is free, and will be re-broadcast several times on local Cable TV Channel 12 for those who may be unable to attend the live session. This is your opportunity to learn more and get your questions answered.

Finally, our community has an opportunity on November 5 to renew Sheridan County’s specific-purpose Capital Facilities Tax, which is an optional one-cent tax that is assessed in addition to the state’s 4 cents per dollar base sales tax.

One 31 percent of the base sales tax collected here actually returns to Sheridan County, but 100 percent of the optional Capital Facilities Tax revenue goes directly to the county and municipalities.

The revenue generated from this tax is used for projects such as road and bridge repair, water and sewer system updates, and other needed infrastructure projects and improvements in Sheridan, Sheridan County, Dayton, Ranchester, and Clearmont.

Now, you may think that it is a stretch to view the renewal of this tax as an opportunity, but the projects that this tax revenue funds, most definitely, are “opportunities.” In many cases, the projects themselves offer opportunities for other improvements to be made; for example, needed street repairs, which otherwise may have to be put off, can be done sooner and more efficiently because a water main has to be replaced or a new sewer line is being installed (as the street is being torn up already for that project). 

Revenue generated gives the county and municipalities the opportunity to leverage those dollars for additional funding in the form of grants. As an example, between fiscal year 2006 and fiscal year 2013, for every $1 of Capital Facilities Tax funds used, the municipalities and county were able to get an additional $.062, which adds up to an additional 410.7 million in grant money. Another oppotunity, and one that probably has the greatest impact on our citizens, is the jobs created and supported by these projects.

The final point I would like to share is all of you have the opportunity to exercise our right to vote on November 5, and we encourage everyone to take advantage of that opportunity.

It is amazing the opportunities that present themselves just by looking right outside our own window.

Thank you 2017 Community Partners

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