(Clarification added on Jan. 15. Sign costs could start at $225, Kyle Lehto said, based on the size of the sign. That cost would cover an 18 in. sign, post, anchor and break-away system. A 24 in. sign could cost $250. If all signs were contracted together and include installation, costs could range between $325 and $400 each. Other clarifications were added within the story.)
By Joshua Scheer, reporter, county10.com
(Lander, Wyo.) – Fremont County Association of Governments members picked by consensus a sign template for designating projects paid for by the recently approved 1 percent optional sales tax.
Voters approved the tax in November following pledges by Fremont County governments to use the funds for road and infrastructure projects. The tax will go into effect for four years starting on April 1.
FCAG met for its monthly meeting Thursday night in Lander at the Cowfish restaurant. Former Citizens for Improved Roads PAC Treasurer Kyle Lehto presented several design options for signs to the group. He created the template pro bono and said he was not expecting any compensation.
Lehto said he had been working on the signs ideas on his own time since the passage of the tax. The templates he presented were round, similar to the penny in the center of the For Our Roads signs during the campaign. Across the top were two separate slogans: “Our Tax Dollars at Work” or “Our Pennies at Work.” On the bottom of the circle, were slogan options were “Penny Power” or “One Cent.”
The center of the sign features a figure doing construction work, which was also used during the campaign.
Lehto presented the options in varying combinations of slogans and in three colors: orange, yellow and fluorescent green.
He considered the purpose of the sign to be to remind people of where there money is going. “A sign in itself is worth how many newspaper ads or newspaper articles?” he said, explaining the sign’s wide reach and cost similar to that of an advertisement.
Cost of the signs could reach up to $400 each depending on the size. Riverton Mayor Ron Warpness said the cost of the signs was a concern, and he is not in favor of using the 1 percent tax dollars to buy the signs. Shoshoni Mayor Scott Peters agreed. None of the attendees expressed favor toward using the new tax dollars for the signs.
Lehto said he was hoping for a consensus from the FCAG members on their preferred design. He said he would then take the design to individual councils and boards for formal approval.
There was also talk about hiring one contractor to do the signs so they would be easier to procure as needed. Lehto also said it would be up to the individual governments when within the construction process to post them: prior, during, after or some combination.
Wind River Transportation Authority Manager Ben Eastmond recalled opposition to the “one cent” slogan during the campaign, as some thought it was misleading. He said he preferred using “Penny Power” versus “One Cent.”
The general consensus was the use the design that states “Our Tax Dollars At Work” and “Penny Power.”
“Thanks,” FCAG Executive Director Pam Canham said to Lehto. “You put in a lot of time and effort.”
The sign discussion was followed by brief overviews of how the various entities were planning on utilizing the new tax dollars. Lander Mayor Mick Wolfe said supervisors put together a list of projects that need to be done. The city is seeking volunteers to join a committee set the priorities.
Warpness said Riverton is also putting together a committee of residents to prioritize projects. He said applications are being filed from the throughout the city and several from each ward will be selected by the councilors from those wards.
Peters said a committee to work on the issue but noted that the roughly $100,000 Shoshoni will receive “isn’t going to go very far.”
Fremont County Commission Vice Chairman Travis Becker said the county hasn’t yet decided how to select projects yet, but the idea of a committee has been kicked around. He said if that method is chosen he would lobby for citizens to be picked who live outside of municipalities.
Pavillion Mayor Gary Hamlin and Dubois Mayor Twila Blakeman both said they will be accruing their small shares to save for projects.