A penny saved is a penny earned, and in Wyoming’s Laramie County, a penny tax is how most capital improvements in its various communities are funded. Prior to a recent special election in which nine separate propositions to be supported by an additional 1% sales tax were put to a vote, the Cheyenne Board of REALTORS® launched a quick campaign to educate voters and get them to the polls. Using the REALTOR® Party’s Mobile Alerts and Consumer Advocacy Outreach programs, they raised awareness in their voting community: seven propositions passed, all of which will enhance Laramie County’s safety and quality of life.
Lisa Tabke, Association Executive of the 350-member Cheyenne Board, first learned about the Consumer Advocacy Outreach program at the AE Institute, not long before the election. When one of her members began campaigning hard for one of the propositions, which involved the construction of an overpass over the Union Pacific Railroad to connect the business and residential districts of his community, Tabke realized her board could be promoting voter awareness of all the propositions on the ballot, through the Consumer Advocacy Outreach program.
“We didn’t take a stance on any of the propositions,” she explains. As voter turn out in Laramie County is typically lower for special elections, their goal was simply to get the word out and explain each of the items on the ballot. For this, they turned to the REALTOR® Party. “The staff at the National Association of REALTORS® did it all for us!” says Tabke, “It’s a wonderful resource. We gave them our information, and they put together a text alert to our members, and two email messages to consumers in the Homeownership Matters database. It was all really well done, and couldn’t have been easier at our end.”
The seven propositions that passed include the railroad overpass; construction of new fire stations, a new courthouse, and an all-purpose event facility; the expansion of the county jail; and a variety of public safety and infrastructure upgrades. The total project cost approved by the voters amounts to nearly $90 million, and the county will be collecting those funds in the new Sales & Use tax come October, one penny at a time.
Tabke reports that her members are very pleased with the results, noting that her board has an active Public Policy Committee monitoring these matters. She adds that the REALTORS® are fortunate in having a strong relationship with both the County Commission and the Cheyenne City Council, both of which reach out to them about real estate issues, and that this most recent advocacy effort will only strengthen those bonds. Although this election was not about real estate, per se, says Tabke, “Anything that can improve our communities and draw visitors to Laramie County is a good thing for REALTORS®, their clients, and their neighbors!”
To learn more about how the Cheyenne Board of REALTORS® used the REALTOR® Party Consumer Advocacy Outreach programs to support a tax campaign that will enhance the quality and safety of its communities, contact Association Executive Lisa Tabke at 307-634-0363.