Justices of the Peace discuss redistribution of tax dollars

Justices of the Peace discuss redistribution of tax dollars

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The Craighead County Quorum Court meeting got heated Monday night during discussions on the distribution of certain tax dollars.

Justices of the Peace had varied opinions on redistributing money that comes into Craighead County through the statewide half-cent sales tax that passed in 2013.

The tax, which raised Arkansas taxes from 6 percent to 6.5 percent, expires in 2023. It increases the amount of state aid to cities and counties for road projects.

Craighead County Treasurer Terry McNatt told the court that they receive approximately $770,000 per year through the tax.

Right now, 60% of the money that comes into Craighead County goes to the road department. The remaining 40% goes to county general.

However, Justice of the Peace Josh Longmire presented an ordinance Monday night to change that.

The ordinance stated that since the county road department has come in under budget at least $600,000 each year for the past three years, the money should be redistributed.

"What have we done with all this money for three years? Nothing!" Longmire said.  "Buying equipment is not fixing the roads."
Longmire suggested that 40% go to the road department, 40% go to county general, and the remaining 20% go to capital funds to build that account back up. The money could also be used as a savings account.

"If we need that money, it's not going away. It's going to be put over there and if we need it, we can bring it before the full quorum court, we can allocate it for a disaster," JP Garry Meadows said.

Not everyone was on board with the idea though.

"To say since we're getting extra money to fix the roads we'll take it away to put it somewhere else to give someone a raise or something or another is uncalled for," JP Ray Kidd said.
When it came down to a vote, only five of the twelve Justices of the Peace present voted for the ordinance.

JP Ken Stacks was absent.

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