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Investing in streets, sidewalks, is economic development

Oct 16, 2012 John C. Darrington, Richland, Wash.


I had the great privilege of serving as the interim city administrator of Riverton from April to September of last year. Most mornings, I would arise early for an invigorating walk around the town.

During those walks, I noticed the deteriorating conditions of most streets along with spalling concrete curb, gutters and sidewalks.

I discussed with the city council the options for maintaining this vital infrastructure, specifically, the optional 1 percent sales and use tax. From my 20 years in Wyoming, I came to understand and appreciate what this revenue source could do for a community. I could see a visible difference between communities with the 1 percent and those without it.

Good streets, drainage systems, and safe sidewalks are all part of economic development. Companies looking to relocate want excellent public infrastructure for their company and their employees.

Also, it has been my experience that private investment follows public investment. People are more inclined to upgrade homes and properties when the community allocates money to improve and enhance the public streets, curb, gutters and sidewalks running in front of their property.

Finally, the optional 1 percent is a tax that everyone pays including the tourists who come through the county. It is an investment in your future.

For these reasons, I encourage Fremont County to approve the optional 1 percent. Be sure and vote "yes."

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