Economic development provides information on quarter-cent sales tax

FORT LARAMIE – The Fort Laramie Town Council convened on the evening of Oct. 12 for their monthly meeting at Fort Laramie Town Hall. Mayor Joyce Evans was present with Councilmembers Ryon Brown, Mike Doan, Laura Curtsinger and Kelly Loveland.

Brayden Connour, chief executive officer for Goshen Economic Development, presented on the quarter-cent sales tax up for vote this coming election, Nov. 8. Connour explained how the tax is used and how it has benefitted Fort Laramie and Goshen County. He started by providing a definition of economic development.

“Expansion of the local tax base to achieve economic prosperity without increasing taxes,” he said. “We are the owner of Cold Springs Business Park on the south end of Torrington, and we are the marketing agent for the City of Torrington for their industrial park...our number one goal, you can put a star or an asterisk or whatever next to this, would be to develop and expand local businesses.”

While recruiting new business in the area is a goal of Goshen Economic Development, Connour says developing and expanding existing businesses is their top priority. 

Connour told the council Goshen Economic Development has invested $82,450 on expenditures in Fort Laramie. Of the funding, $10,305 was put toward the senior center, $11,254 for the water well project, $3,750 for an irrigation infrastructure project, $10,331 for the gym floor, $7,500 for the splash pad, $20,000 for the community building purchase, $13,775 for a water meter project, $5,000 for welcome signage and $535 toward light pole banners.

“We try to be as best of service to our local businesses for them to develop, find new markets, hopefully expand, increase wages, increase employment opportunities…that is our overarching goal in our operation,” Connour said. “The majority of our operations support comes from the quarter-cent (tax).”

He explained how the sales tax revenue to date was $5.6 million. With that $5.6 million, they leveraged the earning and received an additional $2 million. They then spent $7.1 million on Goshen County projects and businesses.

Connour cited Kelly Sittner, former Goshen Economic Development president and current president of First State Bank, stating, “this isn’t a tax, this is an investment.”

He added, “stagnation is not in the recipe for prosperity.”

Connour asked Evans to consider signing a letter to the editor showing support for the quarter-cent sales tax. Evans signed the letter, showing the town’s support of the quarter-cent sales tax.

Decilla Watson and the Town of Fort Laramie will be hosting a Halloween party on Friday, Oct. 28 from 2:30-4:30 p.m. in the Fort Laramie Community Center. 

Watson and her husband donated candy and prizes for the event and will be bringing deli meats, cheeses and bread for sandwiches. Watson and the town said everyone is welcome to attend. They ask that children be accompanied by parents for the event. 

Donations of non-perishable and boxed dried goods for their local food pantry would be greatly appreciated. 

Councilwoman Loveland requested permission to partner with the Lingle Volunteer Fire Department for a giving tree Christmas program. The departments intend to work in cooperation with Lingle-Fort Laramie Schools to partake in delivering Christmas gifts to underprivileged families.

Should the program move forward, donations would be requested to help provide Christmas gifts to these families. The council approved supporting the venture.

In addition, the Fort Laramie Volunteer Fire Department is planning to host a community-wide Christmas Party on Dec. 10. More details will be provided upon their release.

The Fort Laramie Town Council will be hosting a public forum on Friday, Oct. 28 at noon to present a letter of interest for a grant to help fund the Fort Laramie water and sewage project and a Fort Laramie Community Center heating, ventilation and air condition project. The grant sought is through the Wyoming Community Development Association. 

Public Works Supervisor Jared Loveland reported on the progress made on the streets project. He said the project remains underway and they are hoping to have less streets blocked off very soon. In addition, the town’s water tower passed its inspection. The inspectors are slated to be back in 2024 for another inspection and to drain the water tower to clean out any accumulated sediment in the tower. 

Loveland said he and his crew fixed the waterline break on Highway 26, but they are going to have to team up with the Wyoming Department of Transportation to finish the job, ensuring they have complied with all asphalt depth requirements set by the state. 

Fort Laramie Volunteer Fire Department Chief Pete Howes reported on his department, stating they had one fire call, three ambulance calls, a meeting and three training dates since the last town council meeting. 

Fort Laramie Police Chief Michael Staiger reported he had made half as many traffic stops in the past month, he estimated around 50 stops, due to an improperly function lightbar. The town luckily received a grant, and their police patrol vehicle will be outfitted with a new lightbar. 

Staiger also reported he had acquired two grants from the Department of Transportation for specific enforcement, driving under the influence and seatbelt enforcement. The grant was awarded to the town in the amount of $3,500. Staiger said he will be using the grant money to fund the DUI and seatbelt enforcement over the course of the next year. 

Staiger said he responded to 64 incidents throughout the month and spend some time working on amending outdated town ordinances.

He plans to submit the ordinances to the town attorney. Upon final approval, they will be presented to the council. The council will then hold three readings of the proposed amendments, requiring passage by the council at each reading, before they would enact.

Councilman Doan told the council he had submitted hazard mitigation plans to the Federal Emergency Management Agency to evaluate the gymnasium for a tornado shelter. Included in the plans was also flooding abatement plans for the town.

FEMA will then do a study to determine the viability of the community center as a shelter. If approved, the town would be eligible to apply for future FEMA grants. 

Currently, the other shelter in Fort Laramie is the First Presbyterian Church located at 220 Laramie Avenue. 

Doan reported he will be attending an oil spill training exercise at Fort Laramie National Historic Site. He said the National Weather Service will also be hosting a presentation on Nov. 1 at the Torrington Fire Hall about snow squall warnings. Loveland added to this, stating AirLink would be coming to Fort Laramie at the end of October for a landing-zone training. 

Doan urged residents to sign up for Code Red, an emergency notification system utilized throughout Goshen County to notify residents of local emergencies and critical community information. 

To sign up for Code Red, visit

The next Fort Laramie Town Council meeting will be on Tuesday, Nov. 9, at 7 p.m. at the Fort Laramie Community Center/Town Hall. 


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