Jonesboro mayor asks council to hold sales tax ordinances to three readings

Jonesboro mayor asks council to hold sales tax ordinances to three readings
Ordinances regarding a proposed sales tax increase in the City of Jonesboro went before the full city council for the first time Tuesday night.
Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin gave a presentation to the council about the proposed one cent sales tax that he said would benefit numerous road, bridge and overpass projects as well as help economic development in the city.
Though Mayor Perrin called passage the sales tax a "very critical decision," he requested that the council hold the ordinances for their full three readings before voting.
The council will decide whether or not to put the issue before the voters.
The city proposed that one cent sales tax increase in early August. If approved for a special election, the sales tax would appear in the form of two separate ballot items.
The first ballot item would be to approve a 7/8th of one percent sales and use tax. That portion of the tax would go to road, bridge and overpass projects planned in the city.
The second ballot item would appear as a 1/8th of one percent sales and use tax for economic development.
Though no vote was made Tuesday night, some citizens still voiced their opinions on proposed road projects that the tax would fund.
Jonesboro resident Harold Carter said he's not opposed to the tax going before a vote but thinks plans for an eastern bypass connecting Highways 49 and 63 won't alleviate traffic congestion in the long run.
"They still have to handle a lot of traffic and it attracts people out of there and that's why the businesses want to be there," Carter said. "$34 million dollars is a lot to spend on something that's just slowly but not too slowly going to develop into another Red Wolf Boulevard."

A proposed eastern bypass is just one of many projects that would be funded through the sales tax. In total, Mayor Perrin has said he expects the road projects to cost taxpayers around $150 million dollars.
As many of the road projects involve state highways, Mayor Perrin has stated that he hopes AHTD will fund a portion of those projects.
The council will have their second reading on the sales tax ordinances September 1. However, in order to have a special election on November 11, the city will have to call a special council meeting on September 8 to vote.

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