Shoshoni loses property tax appeal at county hearing, plans to take case to State Board of Equalization

The Fremont County Commission has denied Shoshoni’s property tax appeal for the town medical clinic.

“We lost,” Shoshoni Mayor Joel Highsmith said during a Shoshoni Town Council meeting Tuesday. “They agreed to keep taxing us (on) the clinic.”

The vote was 3-2, he noted, with commissioners Mike Jones and Clarence Thomas siding with Shoshoni.

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“Two of the county commissioners looked at the information and thought, ‘Yeah, Shoshoni’s right, why are we taxing them?’” Highsmith said. “But we had three of them that decided, ‘Yeah, we want that money, we’re going to tax Shoshoni.’”

One of those three commissioners was Larry Allen, whose district includes Shoshoni, Highsmith pointed out.

“He voted against the best interest of Shoshoni,” Highsmith said. “(I’m) pretty disappointed.”

More appeals

Shoshoni plans to appeal Fremont County’s decision to the State Board of Equalization, town clerk Chris Konija said later this week.

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From there, he said, any further appeals would go to district court, followed by the Wyoming Supreme Court – “if we took it that far.”

“Our governing body said that we’re going to fight it all the way to the end,” Konija said. “It’s a matter of principle. … We’re trying to take care of our citizens.”

The decision to tax Shoshoni’s medical clinic is “inherently wrong,” Konija said, because it “disincentivizes” small towns from responding to the needs of their communities – in this case, for health care.

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“When there’s a deficit of health care in your community and you have citizens that can’t travel (to) get preventative care … they’re very negatively impacted by that,” he said. “We’re just (trying to) seek justice, and we’re trying to do what’s right for our citizens and ensure they have access to health care.”

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