Public forum to be held in Jonesboro about August sales tax election

Jul 23, 2014

The city of Jonesboro is holding a public meeting Monday night concerning a special sales tax election that will be held next month.  The Jonesboro City Council has set an election for August 12th.  In 2000, voters approved a permanent one cent city sales tax.  Half of the money generated can be spent on capital improvements and the other half goes to general operations.  The tax generates about $7.5 million dollars annually for the city.  On August 12th, voters will be asked to lift the capital improvement restriction and let all of the money go toward the general revenue fund.  Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin says the change would allow city officials to direct money from the tax to go where it is most needed.  Perrin says the city has two more years left to pay for projects that cost almost three and a half million dollars.  If the voters approve the special provision, Perrin says money can be redirected to pay off that total more quickly.  Perrin says a public meeting will be held Monday night at seven p.m. in the City Municipal Building in Council Chambers.  The public can watch a video, ask questions, and provide their input.  Perrin urges the public to attend the meeting Monday night.   

(This press release is courtesy of Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin's office.)

JONESBORO-The City of Jonesboro will sponsor a public forum on the special sales tax election on Monday, July 28, 2014 at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers.

The City Council last month approved a resolution setting a special election for August 12, at which time Jonesboro voters will be asked to drop the restrictions on one-half of the existing permanent city sales tax.

As passed by the voters in a special election in 2000, one-half of the 1-cent permanent city sales tax can be spent only on capital improvements. The other half can be used for general operations. The resolution on the August 12th ballot would allow all proceeds from the tax to be spent on general operations.

Mayor Harold Perrin said the forum will give citizens an opportunity to see a video explaining the program, question city officials and provide their own input.

Perrin said the city will not seek to extend the temporary one-half percent tax passed for public safety purposes in 2010. It will automatically expire December 31, 2014.

“This means that the citizens of Jonesboro would get a tax decrease,” he said. “After a great deal of study, we concluded that making this change would allow us to make best use of our available funds.”

“With all the building improvements and additions we’ve made over the past few years, our city government infrastructure is in good shape, and we have less need for capital improvements money,” he said.  “If that changes in the future, we can go back to the voters and ask for another temporary tax.”

The existing capital improvements tax does not raise enough money to fund a major project like an eastern bypass or water park, the mayor said, and a bond issue and election would be necessary in such a case.

Currently, the public safety sales tax brings in about $7.5 million in revenue annually.  Perrin said if the restrictions are lifted, he would expect about $3 million to be budgeted for general operations next year and that would still leave more than $4 million for capital improvements.

Perrin said the special election was needed because the city should be well into its 2015 budgeting process by the time of the November 4th general election.  The change, if approved by the voters, would take effect January 1, 2015.