Voters crush sales tax

Big Horn County voters voted two-to-one, 67 percent, against the sixth-cent sales tax proposal, soundly defeating the $24.8 million worth of projects in the nine municipalities, 3,486-1666.

None of the 13 precincts supported the initiative with the largest margin in Lovell with 81 percent opposed, 1,192-278.

In the south portion of the county, Burlington had the tightest margin with only 14 votes separating those in favor (125) and those against (139), just 52 percent.

In Basin, the proposal was defeated 505-239, 67 percent. Otto had 84 votes against and 38 in favor, 68 percent. Manderson voted 91-65 against, 58 percent. Hyattville voted against it 66-18, 78 percent.

In Greybull, where the initiative began to build a new swimming pool, voters defeated the tax 626-430, 59 percent. Greybull voters also defeated the school bond to help renovate or construct the pool, 535-493.

In the north end, the closest race for the sixth-cent was in Deaver, 52-46 against, and Frannie, 52-43. Cowley opposed the tax 284-147, Byron 203-117.

Big Horn County Commission Chairman Jerry Ewen said, “The people’s wish is pretty clear.” The commissioners did not put a project on the ballot but gave final approval to a resolution to put the initiative on the ballot.

“That’s why we do things this way. It’s the democratic process and the people have spoken.”

He said there were some valid projects proposed and now communities will have to “get creative in funding those projects.”

“I think we need to look forward because all of these projects are viable projects,” Lovell Mayor Bruce Morrison said. “We look forward to doing them at another time. I agree with those who say there’s a need to trim them down. If we trim ‘em down to a reasonable level I think people will be more willing to go with us.

“It’s by no means a dead issue. We’ve got to find ways to fund community projects.”

While the new tax proposal was defeated, voters in north Big Horn County overwhelmingly supported their senior service center, extending the mill levy for the North Big Horn County Senior Service District 2,071-306, for 87 percent of the vote. Every precinct supported the continuing property tax.

The South Big Horn Senior Citizens Service District tax was approved in the south end of the county, as well, 2,093-564.