Jonesboro City Council sets date for special election regarding sales tax

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Voters in Jonesboro will soon vote on an ordinance amendment that would change how a city tax is allocated.

At Tuesday night's meeting, the city council set a special election for August 12.

In 2000, the city passed a permanent 1% sales tax that generates $15 million annually, with half of it restricted to capital improvements, and the other half going to general revenue.

In 2010, the city passed a .5% temporary sales tax that generates $7.5 million annually and expires December 2014.

The ordinance amendment would allow voters to decide whether to lift the capital improvement restriction and direct all of the 1% sales tax revenue to the general revenue fund.

"We've got to make sure that the city can operate under the one-cent permanent tax like the half-cent is not even going to be there," said Councilman Gene Vance.

Mayor Perrin said the council adopting the amendment and voters passing it would allow city administrators to direct the money where it is most needed.

"Not having to put some in capital improvements when you don't need it in capital improvements will allow us to take it and put it in what I like to call day-to-day operations," he said. "We will always focus on public safety and not only that, but the quality of life for this city."

Perrin explained the city has two more years left to pay for projects that cost nearly $3.4 million. If voters passed the ordinance, the money that is not used for capital improvement would go towards that total.

He said if the measure does not pass, city money "will be tight" for the next two years.

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