The special election for a one cent sales tax increase in the city of Jonesboro failed Tuesday night.
According to Craighead County Clerk Kade Holliday, both portions of the proposed tax, that would have sunset after ten years, failed.
The ballot item for a 7/8 percent sales tax and use increase failed with a vote of 2,708 for and 3,966 against. Those numbers break down to 40.58% for the tax and 59.42% against.
The 7/8 percent sales tax and use increase would have helped fund 20 road projects in the city. According to the City of Jonesboro, over the course of ten years, the sales tax would have generated $144 million.
The ballot item for a 1/8 percent sales tax and use increase failed with a vote of 2,525 for and 4,141 against.
The 1/8 percent sales tax and use increase would have established a public economic development corporation. The corporation would have worked to bring more industry to Jonesboro. The City of Jonesboro estimated that in ten years, the 1/8 cent sales tax increase would have generated $20 million.
Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin was at the Craighead County Election Annex when the final numbers came down and spoke with Region 8 News about the results.
“I thought it'd be close, obviously. Any time you've got an issue like this on the ballot, you're going to have feelings, very strong feelings either way,” Mayor Perrin said. “I thought it'd be a very close vote and I didn't think it'd be... it was a little more than I thought.”
As for the plans on proposed road projects now that the tax has failed, Mayor Perrin said it’s back to the drawing board.
“I think we'll take a look and see what we can do with what we've got, with what money we have,” Mayor Perrin said. “The biggest one is obviously 18 on the overpass.”
Creating a railroad overpass at Highway 18, also known as the Highland and Nettleton Drive intersection, was one of 20 proposed road projects the City of Jonesboro was hoping to help fund with a sales tax increase.
“We should be able to go out for bid next mid-year of 2016,” Mayor Perrin said. “So we definitely want to get that done. The other projects are obviously gonna have to be put on hold.”
Mayor Perrin told Region 8 News that the city will go back into budget talks for 2016 on Wednesday.
“We’ll do what we can do in 2016 and see what money we have and that’s going to be slim, I can tell you,” Mayor Perrin said. “So we’ll just do what we can with what we’ve got and go forward."
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