Cave City proposes first-ever city sales tax

CAVE CITY, AR (KAIT) – Cave City hopes to no longer be oneof the only towns in Sharp County without a city sales tax.

The Cave City Council decided to hold a special election sothat voters can choose whether or not to support a one percent sales tax tobenefit the city.

If the sales tax is approved, city officials plan to use anynew revenue to not only pay for additional law enforcement but to also fund afew other improvements in the works.

For years Police Chief Nathan Stephens says Cave City haswanted to hire a fourth officer so that the town could finally have patrols24-7.

"With an additional officer, that's just staying a stepahead of the bad guys," he said. "It's always easier to stay a step ahead as itis to try to take a step and catch up."

The problem, however, is the expense. Hiring another officerwould likely cost the city about an extra $60,000 a year. Chief Stephens saysthe city could afford to spend that only if voters approve the first sales taxin the town's history.

"I'm proud of Cave City for making it as long as they can[without a sales tax]," he said, "but it's just come to a time where we'regoing to have to have it to keep the city continue growing."

The city has proposed establishing a one percent sales tax.If it's approved, officials have estimated that it would generate around $130,000annually. They, however, expect to collect more revenue than that based solelyon the booming alcohol sales locally.

Chief Stephens says the city will split any revenue itcollects in half. Part will go toward paying for a new police officer – an effortthat longtime resident Melissa Morris supports.

"Because of the new wet county, I believe anything that'scollected from that that goes to the city is a good thing," said Morris, whohas yet to decide if she'll actually vote in favor of the new tax. "But at thesame time we also need the officers to keep the streets a little bit safer."

The other half of the revenue will go toward differentmaintenance and repair projects for city agencies, like the fire department andstreet department.

"There's just a lot of ideas that's been kicked around that'sreally good ideas and would really look nice in our city," Chief Stephens said,"but we need some extra money to do that."

He says those ideas have included building a 'pocket park'next to the city's renowned welcome sign. The local firefighters, he claims,also have several equipments needs that have currently gone unfunded. He saysthe revenue could also help cover the cost to repair a few roadways. That'sapparently a good enough reason to vote for the tax, according to residentAudie Medley.

"Out here on thestreets, there's a couple of potholes here and there and it wouldn't hurt tohave them fixed and benefit on that, too," he said, "so I'm all for it."

Chief Stephens says it's never easy to ask people to raisetaxes, but he's confident that this one will pass.

"The city has tried to put off doing this as long as theypossibly could," he said. "They hate to ask for any more burdens on thetaxpayer, but it's just coming to a time where we're going to have to have thatmoney to keep the city nice and neat and continue growth.

"I would like to think that the voters have enoughconfidence in the aldermen and the mayor and I to know that we wouldn't come tothem and ask for this if it wasn't needed."

Voters can cast their ballots on the one percent sales taxproposal during an upcoming special election, which will be held on October 8.

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