Randolph County asks for 1/2 cent sales tax increase

POCAHONTAS, AR (KAIT)- Randolph County residents may be paying more on taxes after the November ballot. The County proposed a half cent sales tax because of an increase in costs in many departments.

"We know it's a bad time to ask for a sales tax," says Quorum Court Member Scott Baltz. He says the sale tax increase is a must for Randolph County to move forward. "We have made cuts, we froze salaries last year, and our people work hard," he says. The County hasn't raised the sales tax since 1997, and are dealing with several shortfalls in the county budget

"A lot of them are due to the increase in fuels, basically lost income from turn backs and 911 fees. You know we just need some help," says Baltz. Help from the county, asking for a 1/2 cent sales tax on the November ballot.

"We expect to raise about 800,000 dollars, which it won't create any new services but it will basically maintain what we got," Baltz explains, which would be divided between law enforcement, Road Department, and County General. "We have to keep the roads grated. The Sheriff's Office vehicles have over 100,000 miles on them, when they need to go, they need to be able to get where they're going for the safety of the citizens," he says.

The sales tax would last for 5 years, and after that time citizens would have to vote on it again for it to remain in place. "We feel that a sales tax is the fairest way, that way people that come in can help pay for it. If you buy 500 dollars worth of taxable funds, it's two dollars and fifty cents," says Baltz, but he fears if it doesn't pass, it could mean problems for the county.

"Things will not be as good as they have been. We have three choices spend the hospital fund money, we raise the millage, or we cut services. Those are our three options, and two of the three are just not real good," says Baltz.

Several town meetings are planned throughout the County:

9-20-10 7:00 p.m. Water Valley Fire Department

9-27-10 6:00 p.m. Dalton Fire Department

10-4-10 6:00 p.m. Biggers City Hall

10-5-10 6:00 p.m. Warm Springs Fire Department

10-7-10 7:00 p.m. Maynard Fire Department

10-11-10 6:00 p.m. Reyno City Hall

10-18-10 7:00 p.m. Pocahontas Community Center