Jonesboro voters are going to the polls today to decide how a sales tax can be spent. Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin says the issue is important because the results from the election will decide how quickly the city can pay off projects in the future.
“We have spent a lot of time in the last months with focus groups and visiting with civic clubs in telling our story,” Perrin said. He says there are two parts to the story. “The public safety sales tax will expire at the end of this year. This means that in 2015, the citizens of Jonesboro will be paying a half-cent less tax than they are now. The second part of that is that would take $7.5 million out of our revenue stream that we need to balance our operating and maintenance account and still give us an opportunity to do some of our capital improvements.”
In 2000, voters approved a permanent one cent city sales tax. Half of the money generated is spent on capital improvements and other half goes to general operations. He says this issue asks for the tax money to be reallocated.
“What we are asking the people to do is to put all of that in the general fund, because in the last four or five years we have done extensive capital improvements. There are numerous areas where improvements have taken place, such as flood control, retention pods, our new police station and the municipal building. Just about every department has had some type of capital improvements.”
If voters approve the special provision, Perrin says money can be redirected to pay those projects off more quickly. If the measure does not pass, the tax will remain the same. Craighead County Clerk Kade Holliday says 425 people have voted early on the issue and polls will close at 7:30 tonight.