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On November 5, 2019 Teton County voters will be able to go to the election poles to vote on a 1% Specific Purpose Excise Tax (SPET). Ten (10) projects have been identified by the Town and County elected officials to be placed on the November ballot. SPET is a voter approved 1% sales tax paid by visitors and residents on most goods and services (excluding unprepared food) purchased within Teton County. The funds allow local government to construct community facilities, infrastructure or amenities that would otherwise require other sources of revenue, such as bonds or property tax. It is estimated that visitors to Teton County contribute approximately 60% of the total amount of sales tax collected.
Jackson Town Council Member, Arne Jorgensen, recently sat down for an interview on KJAX to talk about SPET. CLICK HERE to listen in to learn more about SPET, the projects and the process.
$2,000,000 for acquiring land, obtaining easements, planning, designing, engineering and constructing the Cache Creek Project. This project includes updating the half-mile tube that runs under downtown Jackson to protect and improve stormwater quality prior to its entering Flat Creek, as well as preventing uncontrolled and untreated discharge of potentially polluted run-off into Flat Creek. This project is sponsored by the Town of Jackson.
Brief Summary: This SPET initiative would fund property acquisition and the construction of various phases of the Cache Creek Tube project. The entire Cache Creek Tube project consists of removing and replacing 3,350 LF of a very eclectic, old, and obsolete collection and conveyance system of Cache Creek and stormwater drainage entering it. The system starts in east Jackson, works its way through our downtown, and over to Flat Creek northwest of downtown. The system is comprised of many different types and sizes of culverts which convey the Cache Creek waters through Town.
We currently have very few options to clean and/or repair the existing system; it is old and many sections currently run under buildings, complicating our ability to perform any type of best practices for managing it. Furthermore, there are many points where untreated stormwater drainage enters the Cache Creek conveyance system that ultimately is discharged into Flat Creek.
This SPET initiative takes in to account the following information:
Pollutants in stormwater may include antifreeze, grease, oil and heavy metals from cars; fertilizers, pesticides and other chemicals from gardens, homes and businesses; bacteria from pet wastes; and sediment from roadways. Clean water investments we make today are ones our community will live with for decades and possibly centuries to come.
This SPET initiative is in direct alignment with:
$18,500,000 for planning, designing, engineering, and constructing a Core Services Vehicle Maintenance Facility, to service and maintain critical response and general use vehicles of Teton County and the Town of Jackson. These include, but are not limited to, snowplows, street maintenance vehicles, law enforcement vehicles, water/sewer maintenance vehicles, and buses. Any unexpended funds, including any unused contingency funds, shall be placed into a designated account, the principal and interest of which shall be used for operations and maintenance of the Core Services Vehicle Maintenance Facility. This project is sponsored by the Town of Jackson.
Brief Summary: This Core Services Vehicle Maintenance Facility SPET initiative would allow the Town to construct a core services fleet maintenance shop to adequately service Town, County and Community vehicles, including but not limited to:
Funding Explanation: Staff is estimating the cost of this vehicle maintenance facility at $18,500,000.
Policy 7.1.c: Increase the capacity for use of alternative transportation modes.
Policy 7.1.f: Establish a regional transportation strategy.
Principle 8.2: Coordinate the provision of infrastructure and facilities needed for service delivery.
$2,000,000.00 For the purpose of planning, designing, engineering, site preparation and preliminary construction costs for a new or renovated Teton County Courthouse. Funds may also be used for security improvements to the existing Teton County Courthouse. Sponsored by: Teton County.
The courthouse was remodeled and an addition to the west side was constructed from 1997-1999. Now, the building over is 50 years old, the last renovation occurring 20 years ago.
The public services currently provided in the courthouse facility include: Teton County and Prosecuting Attorney’s Office; Circuit Court office, judicial chambers, and courtroom; Clerk of the District Court, judicial chambers and courtroom; Sheriff’s office including patrol deputies’ offices, front desk, investigations, and information technology.
Over the course of 2 years, Teton County conducted studies covering seismic stability, energy use, space planning, accessibility, facility condition, and security. The results of those studies are as follows:
Seismic: The building is sound and expected to perform as designed. However, design standards have changed since 1968. However, design standards have changed since 1968. In 1968 the design standard priority was the protection of life. The new standard considers life safety as well as the building itself surviving a seismic event.
Energy Use: An energy audit has been performed showing the building to be a poor performer compared to similar buildings in comparable climates. The building has an Energy Star rating of 34 out of 100. Which means that 66% of similar buildings perform better than the Courthouse.
Space Planning: A space analysis was conducted by the National Center for State Courts, an independent nonprofit court improvement organization. An analysis of the space needed for the current functions shows that 64,000 square feet is needed. The building is currently 31,000 square feet. According to NCSC, the current courthouse layout has many deficiencies. The facility has dysfunctional courtroom and hallway layouts. There is a lack of attorney conferencing rooms, and waiting areas for the public, attorneys, litigants and service providers. The current District Courtroom built in 1968, is severely undersized and does not have adequate space for many core functions including jury trials. Another undersized County office is the 911 dispatch center. It is currently located in the Jail building but would be better suited to be located within the Sheriff’s Department.
Accessibility: Both the NCSC and the EMG Facility Condition Analysis noted the lack of accessibility in the building. Restrooms, elevators, jury rooms, and internal passages fail to meet current standards. These issues cannot be corrected within the existing space.
Facility Condition: Many of a facility’s working systems have expected lifetimes of 15-20 years. At 20 years since last upgrade, many of these systems have reached the end of their expected useful lifetimes.
Security: When this building was built in 1968, and even when remodeled in 1999, security standards were very minimal. In today’s world, security standards are much higher. While some upgrades have been made, many more are needed.
Today the County is at a decision point in determining how to meet the needs of community for the next 30 to 50 years. The studies show that the existing facility cannot meet the growing needs without either a significant remodel, an addition, or an entirely new facility.
Next steps are to better clarify which option will be pursued.
Remodel the existing facility
Increase the size of the current building by constructing an addition
Build a new courthouse and repurpose the existing courthouse for County General office space.
The County needs to get conceptual plans and cost estimates to help make the best and most informed decision.
$2,500,000 for planning, designing, engineering, purchasing and constructing infrastructure improvements at both the Teton County Recycling Center and the Teton County Composting Facility. These are needed to boost the waste diversion rate from 34% to the community’s goal of 60% by 2030. Sponsored by Teton County.
Each item in the SPET request is essential for implementing the Comprehensive Plan of Ecosystem Stewardship (CV-1), Section 2, Principle 2.5.b: Manage our waste stream for sustainability: The community will minimize the amount of solid waste it directs to landfills.
Teton County and Town of Jackson are committed to the Road to Zero Waste. In 2014, the Teton County Commission, and in 2015, the Town Council, signed resolutions declaring an initial goal of 60% waste diversion from landfill by 2030. The current waste diversion rate is 34%. To work toward achieving the goal, improving infrastructure is necessary to offer expanded, efficient and convenient public services.
The infrastructure improvements will also offset the expenses of sending material to the landfill. There is a cost to recycling, however it is still less expensive than sending material to an out of state landfill. Clean, sorted materials generate the highest commodity revenues. Buyers are no longer accepting recyclable materials mixed with trash, and sorting materials makes them salable. These infrastructure improvements provide more options for the materials other than the landfill.
The amount for this proposed 2019 SPET ballot item is $2.5 million and includes:
Residential Outdoor, Covered, Screened Recycle Center Residential Recycling Area Improvements - $400,000. This will allow bins that are currently inside to be moved outside, opening space on the floor for a sort system. A covered, screened area also helps eliminate waste blowing around the recycling center and allows greater access for the public to recycling bins.
Sort System for Recycle Center - $1,400,000. A sort system for the Recycle Center will allow ISWR to accept and sort partially mixed materials. It will reduce the number of “sorts” required by the public, increasing convenience. Increasing convenience will increase participation in the recycling program. By minimizing the need for increased manual labor as volumes increase over time, both time and money are saved, as well as reducing workplace hazards. Additionally, a sort system will decrease rejection of loads due to trash contamination.
Food Waste Sorting Equipment for Compost Facility - $350,000. Automated equipment will remove contamination from food waste and will allow for a more efficient sorting process, with greater safety for operators, less rejection of loads, and a cleaner, higher-quality end product for sale. Without a high-quality finished product, a food waste composting program is not viable. Sorting equipment will allow ISWR to manage material in a more sustainable way by needing less trucking and providing more composting to the community.
Truck Scale at Recycle Center - $350,000. A truck scale will be used to weigh vehicles as they enter/exit. This will allow ISWR to provide weights of materials to customers. It will increase efficiency in weighing commodities on site and accurately collecting and tracking data and revenue.
$1,600,000 For the purchase of four wildland firefighting engines. Funds will be used to replace existing wildland firefighting engines with new vehicles.
Wildland fire is a growing threat to our county and our community. Jackson Hole Fire/EMS is responsible for defending all private lands within Teton County from the effects of wildfire. We also partner very closely with Teton National Park and Bridger Teton National Forest to defend the whole county against the effects fire.
Jackson Hole Fire/EMS is experiencing increased wildland fires locally and regionally. This has created increased demands on wildland fire apparatus.
The current wildland truck fleet is primarily made up of retired military chassis vehicles. The newest of those vehicles is 1983. Current fleet is aging and unable to be properly maintained. Parts for the military chassis are unavailable. These vehicles are being forced into retirement due to a lack of and growing concerns of the safety of operating these vehicles in steep terrain.
It is the intent of this SPET measure to replace four of these apparatus with new vehicles to improve the efficiency and reliability of wildland firefighting operations as well as significant improvements in safety of their operation.
Current JH Fire/EMS Wildland Firefighting Apparatus
Sample Replacement Vehicle
$8,500,000 for acquiring land, obtaining easements, planning, engineering, designing and constructing the Gregory Lane complete street, water, sewer, and stormwater project. Improvements to the Gregory Lane area are needed for safety, sidewalks, vehicle access, and snow/stormwater drainage. Improvements include but are not limited to sidewalks, and other safety features to assist students going to school; water, stormwater, and sewer infrastructure; rebuilding the existing roadway with curb and gutter; widening Gregory Lane; and driveway approaches. This project is sponsored by the Town of Jackson.
Brief Summary: This SPET proposition would generate funds to fully design and construct needed infrastructure improvements on Gregory Lane to address sidewalks related to Safe Routes to Schools, major stormwater issues, and complete streets the project calls for: Major storm drainage improvements, Sewer improvements including lowering the sewer, Rebuilding the existing street including asphalt pavement, curb & gutter, sidewalks, and driveway approaches, along with streetscape improvements including pavers, irrigation, trees, shrubs, signage and streetlights.
This road corridor is listed in the Community Streets Plan as an implementation priority in Group 1 (road corridor enhancements). Previously, the town hired Charlier Associates to conduct a Charrette and report. Charlier Associates and the community came up with a recommended alternative plan. The Comprehensive Plan Illustrations of Our Vision, District #5 West Jackson states "the key challenge for this district will be to address transportation congestion, safety and connectivity issues." It points out "possible solutions will come in many forms but complete street improvements to collector roads including High School Road, Middle School Road, Gregory Lane and South Park Loop are in need of improved alternative mode connectivity throughout this district. Lastly, we need to point out storm water management is severely lacking and in major need of improvement to help protect both residents and the Flat Creek Watershed.
Funding Explanation: This SPET initiative is proposed at $8,500,000.
This SPET initiative is in direct alignment with:
$5,500,000.00 for the purchase of appropriately zoned land to develop permanently deed restricted housing thereon and/or the purchase of deed restrictions to house the local workforce. Funds will be placed in the Jackson/Teton County Housing Authority Housing Supply account. The Jackson Town Council and the Teton County Board of County Commissioners must authorize and direct the expenditure of these funds.
This project is sponsored by Teton County.
$4,400,000.00 for the purchase of land for the locating of a Historical Museum upon portions of the property known as 135 and 175 East Broadway Avenue (the Café Genevieve Block). Following the purchase, the remaining funds will be used for relocation of historic structures and artifacts, including the rehabilitation of those structures, construction of one or more new structures and related site improvements on the site, and designing, planning, engineering, constructing, and/or furnishing of the Historical Museum building and site. In the event the Café Genevieve Block property is not acquired and approved for location of a Historical Museum, the funds will be used for the purchase and development of land, relocation and rehabilitation of historic structures and construction of one or more new structures and related site improvements, at such alternative location as may be approved jointly by the Jackson Town Council and Teton County Board of County Commissioners.
Brief Summary: The Jackson Hole Historical Society and Museum (JHHSM) is a local non-profit that has partnered with Teton County and the Town of Jackson for decades to provide museum services and heritage management for the community. The JHHSM has a museum collection of over 35,000 historical objects, photographs, and archival records and helps strengthen our shared local identity through education, public programming, and research. The JHHSM has a museum collection of over 35,000 historical objects, photographs, and archival records and helps strengthen our shared local identity through education, public programming, and research.
The JHHSM’s lease is also terminating at 105 Mercill Avenue, their primary classroom and collections storage facility, to make way for workforce housing. The JHHSM has been working towards land purchase to create a permanent home for Jackson Hole’s history for a number of years and now has an opportunity to be a part of the historic Genevieve (Van Vleck) block in downtown Jackson.
The partners of the “Save the Block” campaign are now working on a Development Plan for the property, which will include subdividing the Block into smaller parcels to be sold to partners. The Jackson Hole Historical Society and Museum has the option to purchase the southeast corner of the Block and develop a new Museum campus, which will include relocating and preserving historic buildings from 105 Mercill Avenue and new construction to accommodate exhibits, a classroom, event space, archives and reading room, and offices. The JHHSM has completed preliminary due diligence to ensure the feasibility of this site. Once funding is secured, the JHHSM will purchase the land and will embark on a year+ planning process to master plan and design the campus. This process will include input from the Block partners as well as the Public.
This project is important to establish the JHHSM as a lasting community asset, to permanently protect Jackson Hole history, and to help steward the community’s vision for this historic Block. To maximize all funding sources available for this project, the JHHSM will match public funding from SPET through private fundraising. This public-private partnership will establish a forever home for the Jackson Hole Historical Society and Museum and Jackson’s history.
Teton County Comprehensive Plan Principle 4.1 – Maintain Town as the central Complete Neighborhood
Teton County Comprehensive Plan Principle 4.4 – Enhance civic spaces, social functions, and environmental amenities to make Town a more desirable Complete Neighborhood
Teton County Comprehensive Plan Principle 4.5 – Preserve historic structures and sites
$22,000,000.00 for designing, planning, engineering, construction, and equipping the renovation and expansion of the Teton County/Jackson Recreation Center. The renovation and expansion includes an additional gymnasium, indoor walking/running track, indoor climbing gym, wellness and fitness opportunities, outdoor aquatics splash pad, general youth-to-senior recreational amenities, associated building infrastructure, King Street extension, storm-water management systems, and associated site parking, multimodal circulation and landscaping. Any unexpended funds, including any unused contingency funds, shall be placed into a designated account, the principal and interest of which shall be used for operations and maintenance of the Teton County/Jackson Recreation Center.
Proposed Recreation Center Amenities:
Proposed Associated Community Infrastructure
What are we asking for$22,000,000 to expand facilities and services at the community recreation center to include:
Why are we asking for this project:
In 2006, 2012, 2016 P&R conducted a series of statistically valid community needs assessment through Leisure Vision Institute. The survey results consistently indicated a high need, and a high needs not being met for Indoor health and fitness, indoor climbing, and outdoor aquatic features. In 2010 voters approved a P&R SPET measure to design and plan future expansion to meet these needs. In 2017 voters approved a P&R SPET to upgrade existing amenities in the recreation center. The current SPET is a continuation of this process and our commitment to meeting the needs of the community.
Why is the Recreation Center a Community Need?
The recreation center is a key public resource that provides year around opportunities for physical well-being, social interaction, and community engagement. These opportunities are keys to our quality of life, and fundamental on why we chose to live in Teton County. Increased physical activity opportunities provided by the center helps control obesity, boost the immune system, diminish the risk of disease and increase life expectancy, as well as reducing depression, relieving stress, improving self-esteem and personal growth.
Beyond our individual quality of life, outcomes of participation in parks and recreation services and programs provide significant economic benefit through reduced health care costs, increased volunteerism, and visitor services. By providing opportunities to strengthen family bonds, promote cultural diversity and understanding, and stimulate a greater acceptance of others, these recreation opportunities build better and more livable communities.
$10,000,000 For purchasing land, obtaining easements, planning, designing, and constructing wildlife crossing structures of various types and locations identified in the Teton County Wildlife Crossings Master Plan. The funds may also be used to provide other measures to reduce vehicle collisions with wildlife, including but not limited to, signage, safe lighting, wildlife detection systems, fencing, and other protective measures to reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions. Sponsored by Teton County.
The Yellowstone/Teton area is known for its diverse and abundant wildlife population and is one of the only remaining regions in the U.S. with a complete set of large predator/prey populations.
Preservation of wildlife is critical to maintaining the tourism-based economy of Teton County, to preserving the local ecological environment and protecting what is both a local and national treasure.
The Jackson/Teton County Comprehensive Land Use Plan seeks to include wildlife crossings and other mitigation standards in road design, limit human/wildlife conflicts, and reduce transportation impacts to wildlife and natural and scenic resources.
The Jackson/Teton Integrated Transportation Plan that was adopted in September 2015 directed that Teton County will develop a County wildlife crossing plan to enhance wildlife permeability and reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions (WVCs) on the major highway corridors in Teton County and shall:
“Utilize existing science-based research when designing wildlife crossings and planning for wildlife permeability along each corridor.”
The 2018 Teton County Wildlife Crossings Master Plan sets priorities based on human safety, economics, and biological conservation parameters.
It serves as a guiding document and identifies suitable mitigation measures given the context of the individual sites. The purpose of the report is to provide Teton County with information and tools that identify high priority road sections that qualify for the potential implementation of mitigation measures for large wild mammals and aquatic species.
The measures are aimed at reducing wildlife-vehicle collisions with large mammals, providing safe crossing opportunities for large mammals, and making stream crossings passable for fish species.
Now: Voters may request an absentee ballot by calling 307-733-4430, or by completing an Absentee Ballot Request Form (found at http://www.tetoncountywy.gov/269/Absentee-Voting) and e-mailing it to firstname.lastname@example.org). Absentee ballots will start being mailed out September 26, 2019. Voters can drop off the form in person at the County Clerk’s Office or send in the mail:
September 26: In-person absentee voting begins in the Teton County Clerk’s office at 200 S. Willow Street, lower level, from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Monday – Friday.
November 5: Election Day. Voting Centers are open from 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. at:
The Specific Purpose Excise Tax is a voter-approved 1% sales tax paid by visitors and residents on most goods and services (excluding unprepared food) purchased within Teton County. The funds allow local government to construct community facilities, infrastructure or amenities that would otherwise require other sources of revenue, such as bonds or increased property tax.
No. Our sales tax is currently 6%. If any of the proposed projects are approved then our sales tax rate will remain at 6%. If all 10 items fail then sales tax will drop to 5%.
Approximately $14-15 million is raised by SPET each year. If the tax revenue collection rates remain constant, collection will take approximately 5 to 6 years to acquire the funds to pay for the projects on the November ballot if all are approved.
No. Each proposed project is an independent and separate question. Voting for or against one item will not help or hurt the outcome of another proposal.
The SPET tax is a normal funding tool that the State of Wyoming allows local governments to fund community facilities, infrastructure or amenities that would otherwise require other sources of funding, such as bonds or increased property tax.