Due to the downturn of the oil and gas industry, Park County’s total property valuation is estimated to have dropped from $706.2 million to $629 million in 2021.

Local valuations for business and residential property increased by $24.5 million, but since these properties are taxed at a much lower rate they make a much smaller impact.

Oil and gas is taxed at 100% of market value in Wyoming, while residential property is at 9.5%. The recent real estate boom was not enough to counter the lost oil and gas revenue.

Oil and gas still made up less than 34% of total valuation. Aside from 2017, it was the lowest valuation the county has experienced in 15 years.

As bleak as this downturn may seem, it’s actually a continuation of a decade-long trend of dwindling mineral royalties in Park County and Wyoming. Since 2016 oil and gas valuation has not made up more than a 36% portion of revenue in Park County.

“In the end, we don’t want to depend on mineral revenue the rest of our lives,” county assessor Pat Meyer said.

He said he is optimistic that the next few years will bring a brighter outlook, and pointed out gas prices have already returned to more than $3 per gallon at the pumps for unleaded gas.

In a presentation he made to Northwest College in late 2020, he estimated that there would have to be 3,509 more $300,000 homes or 4,484 more $215,500 homes built to balance the decline of oil and gas revenue at current levels.

Because of the decrease in valuation, a number of critical entities like schools, fire departments, hospitals and cemeteries received as much as 40% less in funds in regards to their respective mill allotment this year. Local K-12 schools receive about 70% of total valuation through 43 mills, while Park County government only gets 12 mills, and each fire district gets three.

Northwest College, for instance, which receives four mills with a board option for five, will get about $77,000 less in funding this year.

(2) comments

Tom Conners

Many years ago Park County,especially Cody, had plenty of jobs...before the powers that be decided to turn Cody into a tourist trap. How many of local seasonal workers can get by on meager wages coming from tourist jobs? Instead of depending so much on fossil fuels extraction for revenue...perhaps y'all should have diversified your economy better. This applies to the entire state also. Now...it's time to pay the fiddler.

Ragnar Fallbrook

Why is Wyoming not the leader in the US in Nuclear Power? We have the greatest amount of uranium available for mining and refining in the entirety of the US, and Nuclear Power is also one of the most "green" clean energy sources currently available to humanity.

If you disagree, you are misinformed, or are falling for propaganda. I propose we engage in proper education and training such that Wyoming can become the leader in both uranium production, as well as nuclear power production in the entirety of the United States. Technology has advanced tenfold since the last 'indecent' of nuclear accidents. The only things holding us back are federal regulations and illogical fears of nuclear power. With proper training, well funded personnel, and usage of new technological expertise, Wyoming could easily become the number one provider of electrical power for the entirety of the United States which could easily leapfrog our state into the future instead of relying on quote-unquote "clean coal" which anyone with two brain cells to rub together could tell you is anything but "clean."

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