Volume 103, Number 19 - January 11, 2007
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Sales tax proposed to address meth
“Meth is escalating in town and nothing is being done about it,” said a member of the public at Monday’s well-attended Marbleton Town Council meeting. Det. Sgt. Casey Lehr replied methamphetamine use was not greater in Sublette County than anywhere else in the nation. Lehr cited increased drug enforcement tactics, reduced dealers and users. Last year, the sheriff’s department confiscated 3.2 pounds of meth, compared to only 3 grams the year before. Lehr and Patrol Lt. Hayes Randol said they have heard that dealers are scared and “rightfully so.”
A woman in the public spoke up adding, “There are people doing it [meth], going to court, and the court is setting them free.” Lehr pointed out that the county is limited on the resources for helping meth users. He said there is only one facility in the area, High County Counseling, which is an outpatient facility and typically will not be successful treating meth addictions. In addition, Lehr and Randol strongly urged people to remember that many of these problems cannot be addressed by the Sheriff’s department.
The public continued their comments with the complaint that “the kids are getting addicted and not getting caught but [the authorities] are worrying about suppliers.”
There were also concerns that new drug programs may be started in Pinedale, but, as one woman asked, “What about the ones that don’t have a ride to Pinedale?” Randol said that many of the accusations were “going beyond the scope of the Sheriffs office.” Randol explained the scope of the Sheriff’s office was to stop the problem from spreading. One concerned citizen said, “This can’t be a finance issue. Sublette County is wealthy enough to spend money to help this problem.”
That question spurred further discussion and questions about raising a tax. One citizen cited Rock Springs, which had raised its taxes and taken a percent out to help address meth problems. “We cannot do that without a one percent sales tax and we cannot pass a sales tax. We are one of only three counties in the state that doesn’t have a tax,” said Councilmember Sue Hoefer.
She pointed out that a sales tax might pass if the public knew it was targeted at helping meth problems. “We could do so much good with that money,” Hoefer said.
Hoefer thought that in order to pass a sales tax, two thirds of the voters would need to sign a petition to put it on the ballot, and then the whole county has to pass it.
“Get it on the ballot. Get it passed. Get some help,” Hoefer said.
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