CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - The Wyoming Supreme Court has ruled against a small town that sought to avoid paying taxes on a daycare business.
The justices ruled Wednesday in favor of the Laramie County treasurer and assessor, saying the town of Pine Bluffs in southeastern Wyoming can't claim the daycare is exempt from property taxes just because it owns the business.
Pine Bluffs began operating a daycare in a community center in the 1970s and moved the business into a separate building in 2009. The nonprofit daycare has consistently operated at a loss, according to the Supreme Court ruling, but has provided a needed service while privately run daycare facilities have come and gone over the years.
The daycare offers basic education to preschoolers and became even more important after schools in the town of 1,100 people near the Nebraska line went to a four-day week, the justices noted.
When Laramie County officials sought to collect property taxes on the daycare, Pine Bluffs appealed in 2015 in a case that also went before the state high court.
The justices ruled in that case that Pine Bluffs needed to appeal to the county and state boards of equalization. Pine Bluffs did and both boards ruled against it, prompting the town to take the matter back to court.
A District Court judge sided with the town. The state Supreme Court overturned that ruling, saying the town owed property taxes in part because the daycare was a service normally provided by private enterprise.