City holds town hall meeting on proposed sales tax

CARAWAY, AR (KAIT) - Today is the first day of early voting in the special election on a proposed one cent sales tax for the city of Caraway.

Caraway mayor Barry Riley said the city is in urgent need of the money for repairs to streets and water lines.

Several residents who did not want to be identified told Region 8 News they planned on voting for the ordinance.

Life-long Caraway resident Cleffie Gipson said she has seen the population of the city dwindle over the years. Gipson is the site director of the Caraway Senior Activity Center. She thinks the one-cent sales tax Caraway residents will vote on Tuesday, December 13, will bring a boost the local economy. "The city is almost having more bills than they have income."

According to the 2010 census, Caraway's population is 1,279 people, a 5.2 percent decrease since the 2000 census in which the population was 1,349.

Mayor Riley said the sales tax would increase the income of the city by an estimated $4,000-5,000 a month. If residents vote against the tax, Gipson and Mayor Riley are concerned about the possible cuts to the city budget.  "We'd have to consider the senior center, park and recreation, the police department," he said. "We would have to restructure the city."

"They pay for the utilities, that is the lights, the gas, and the water here, and it runs on up there," said Gipson.

"The elderly people in this community really do depend a lot on this center. A lot of them are not able to drive to Jonesboro. We're 30 miles from anywhere."

Mayor Riley will hold a town hall meeting the day before the special election Monday, December 12, at 6:30 p.m. at city hall to discuss the proposed sales tax.

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