5th Penny FAQs
5th Cent Sales & Use Tax - Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Why is this tax referred to as the Fifth Cent (or “5th Cent”)?
- The State of Wyoming collects four cents of sales tax. Cities, towns, and counties may collect two additional cents of sales tax upon approval of the voters.
- In Laramie, the 5th Cent Optional Local Sales & Use Tax supports general governmental operations and services of Albany County, City of Laramie, and Town of Rock River. The 6th Cent Optional Local Sales Tax must be dedicated to specific capital construction projects, like streets and water/sewer.
Q. What is the history of the 5th Cent tax in Albany County?
- Albany County voters have approved a 5th Cent of sales tax every four years since 1986.
- At the General Election November 8, 2022, voters will have the option to renew the 5th Cent for four years, or permanently continue the tax.
Q. How much of local government operations does the 5th Cent support?
- 5th Cent tax collections in fiscal year 2021 were $6.6 Million to the City of Laramie, supporting 18.5% of municipal government services and operations. Albany County government collects $1.1 Million, supporting 4.84% of services.
Q. Does the 5th Cent pay for any government employees?
- Yes. The tax supports personnel in critical operations of the City of Laramie, including police officers, firefighter/emergency medical technicians, street workers, paramedics, and parks and recreation staff and seasonal workers in mosquito control and cemetery maintenance, for example.
Q. How is the 5th Cent used? Does it pay for infrastructure improvements?
- Yes. The 5th Cent is used by the City of Laramie to perform maintenance on streets and alleys, storm water sewers and detention areas, and park irrigation systems to name a few.
- Albany County has used the 5th Cent for road materials, fire equipment, defibrillators, election laptops, the Laramie River Restoration Project, and to support community partner agencies.
- The Town of Rock River uses the 5th Cent for town operations, providing funding toward town hall, and for maintenance and subsidizing of water and sewer operations and infrastructure.
- Both the City of Laramie and Albany County fund non-governmental agencies with optional5th Cent sales tax. For a list of "community partner agencies" please go to: https://www.cityoflaramie.org/1018/5th-Penny-Community-Partners
Q. What other ways are these funds reinvested into the community?
- Laramie’s City Council annually provides numerous community partners with financial support from the 5th Cent. These organizations provide the community with educational, medical, economic, and social services not provided by municipal government.
- Last year, more than twenty not-for-profit agencies received funds from the 5th Cent, including the Eppson Senior Center for Seniors, Laramie Regional Airport, Laramie Chamber Business Alliance, Interfaith Good Samaritan, the Soup Kitchen, SAFE Project, Youth Crisis Center, and Laramie Main Street among other worthy organizations.
Q: What will the ballot say?
Two questions will appear on the ballot:
1. GENERAL PURPOSE ONE PERCENT (1%) SALES AND USE TAX PROPOSITION
“Shall the Board of County Commissioners of the County of Albany, State of Wyoming be authorized to continue to impose a general-purpose excise tax of 1% upon retail sales of tangible personal property, admissions and services made within the county, for general revenue purposes for the period of January 1, 2023, through December 31, 2026?”
_______ FOR the county sales and use tax for four (4) years
_______ AGAINST the county sales and use tax for four (4) years
2. GENERAL PURPOSE ONE PERCENT (1%) SALES AND USE TAX PROPOSITION TO MAKE THE TERM OF THE TAX PERMANENT
“Shall the Board of County Commissioners of the County of Albany, State of Wyoming be authorized to impose a general-purpose excise tax of 1% upon retail sales of tangible personal property, admissions and services made within the county, for general revenue purposes, establishing the term of the tax as permanent beginning January 1, 2023?”
_______ FOR the county sales and use tax being permanent beginning January 1, 2023
_______ AGAINST the county sales and use tax being permanent beginning January 1, 2023
Q: Are there other ways to renew the tax?
- Albany County, Rock River and the City of Laramie may renew the tax by a Proclamation of the Governing Bodies.
- The governing bodies chose not to renew the tax in this way and, instead, determined to refer the matter to the General Election for the voters to choose.
Q: How long will the tax last?
- At the General Election November 8, 2022, voters will have the option to either renew the 5th Cent for four (4) years, or continue the tax permanently.
Q: Will my taxes go up?
- No. This is a tax renewal. If approved by voters, the sales tax rate will remain the same at 6% on the dollar.
Q: Will food be taxed?
- No. Food sales are exempt from sales tax.
Q: Will our taxes be higher than other counties?
- No. 22 of Wyoming’s 23 counties have the same sales tax rate as Albany County. Sales Tax in Ft. Collins is at a rate of 7.55%.
Q: How much of the sales tax do visitors and tourists pay?
- In 2021, domestic and international travelers spent $194.8 Million in Albany County and contributed $4.6 Million in sales taxes, which is roughly 20% of all sales tax paid. Travel-generated tax revenues help support infrastructure and public services.
Q. When could the tax be back on the ballot if it is not renewed in November 2022?
- If both propositions to renew the tax are defeated, it could be re-submitted to the voters in eleven (11) months.
Q. When would the tax stop if it is not renewed in November?
- If the tax is not renewed it will stop being collected after June 30, 2023.
- If the proposition to continue the tax as permanent fails but the proposition to continue the tax for the next four years passes, the tax will continue through December 31, 2026, and only renewed if the electors vote in favor of it again in November 2026.
- If the proposition to continue as permanent passes, the Fifth Cent Tax will be a permanent part of the tax structure, regardless of the outcome of the proposition to renew every four years.
Q. Is this tax different than the lodging tax?
- Yes. Albany County voters have approved a separate lodging tax that is paid by people using hotels and motels. The lodging tax generated $1,243,000 in 2021 which the Tourism Board used to promote tourism in the County. To learn more about the efforts of the Albany County Tourism Board go to visitlaramie.org.
Q. Who pays this tax?
- Anyone who purchases goods in Albany County pays this tax —students, residents, and visitors alike.
Q. How is the optional sales tax distributed?
- The State of Wyoming collects the tax and distributes it to Albany County, the City of Laramie, and Town of Rock River, based on population. The State deducts a 1% administrative fee before distributing the funds, providing 99% of the tax to our local governments.
Q. How is the sales tax used?
- The optional one cent sales tax can be used for general operations of government. Albany County has used it for road materials, fire equipment, defibrillators, election laptops, the Laramie River Restoration Project, and to support community partner agencies. The City of Laramie has used it for streets and alleys, parks and trails, ambulance services, firefighting services and equipment, drainage, police services and equipment, and to support community partner agencies. Rock River has used it as a general fund for town operations providing funding toward the town hall, the maintenance and subsidizing of water and sewer operations and infrastructure. Both the City of Laramie and Albany County fund non-governmental agencies with optional sales tax. For a list of "community partner agencies" please go to: https://www.cityoflaramie.org/1018/5th-Penny-Community-Partners
Q. What items are not taxed?
- Food and services are not taxed.
Q. What is the date and time of the election?
- Tuesday, November 8, 2022, from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., or until the last person in line at 7:00 p.m. has voted.
Q. Where can I vote?
- The county’s website has information about your polling place: Please call 307-721-2546 or for more information, go to: https://www.co.albany.wy.us/182/Polling-Places
Q. How do I vote absentee?
- Early voting begins September 23, 2022, at the County Clerk’s Election Building on the East side of the Albany County Courthouse at 525 Grand Avenue. A qualified voter may apply for an absentee ballot at any time either in person or in writing to Albany County Clerk, Courthouse, Suite 202, Laramie, WY 82070; by telephone at 307-721-2546; or go to: https://www.co.albany.wy.us/166/Absentee-Ballot-Requests.
Q. How can I register to vote?
People can register at the polls on Election Day. To register to vote, you must be:
- 18 years of age on Election Day;
- U.S. Citizen;
- Resident of Wyoming and the precinct in which you register;
- Withdraw voter registration from any other jurisdiction, if applicable;
- Present a valid Wyoming driver's license if you have one; if not, provide the last four digits of your Social Security Number. (If you have neither, indicate this on the Voter Registration Application form.)
- Not been convicted of a felony, or if convicted, have had civil or voting rights restored.
- Not adjudicated mentally incompetent.
Q. Where can I get additional information?
City of Laramie:
- website: https://www.cityoflaramie.org/998/Pennies-Build-Community
- email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- call: 307-721-5226
- website: https://www.co.albany.wy.us/164/Elections
- email: email@example.com
Town of Rock River:
- email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- call: 307-460-8752