Blytheville City Council votes to move forward with special election

BLYTHEVILLE, AR (KAIT) - The Blytheville City Council unanimously voted to move forward in holding a special election for the proposed 1-cent sales tax increase for Blytheville residents.

The city council intends to use the temporary tax levy to pay off the city's $3.2 million IRS debt.

Tuesday night Blytheville mayor James Sanders presented the city council with a resolution to research the most effective way to pay the debt. "(The resolution would give me the authority to contact bond agents and to discuss ways of setting up a special election for this tax."

The council voted 6-0 to allow Mayor Sanders to develop a plan that includes consulting with bond agents about a payment plan. "The tax advocate is currently trying to talk to the IRS about entering an agreement."

Former council member Carol White thinks the tax would be a burden on Blytheville residents. "We feel that it is irresponsible for the city to immediately go to the voters."

Mayor Sanders said Blytheville residents would not be the only debt contributors. "The sales tax would be paid by anyone who travels through this area."

After Mayor Sanders and the special council finalizes a plan, the city council will vote on an ordinance that details how long the increase will last, whether any city property will be included in the IRS deal, where extra funds will go and when the special election will take place.

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