Blytheville sales tax, bond issue approved

Blytheville sales tax, bond issue approved

BLYTHEVILLE, AR (KAIT) - A proposed half-cent sales tax and bond issue involving the Blytheville Police Department were approved by voters Tuesday.

In unofficial numbers, the half-cent sales tax was passed by a 633-400 margin (61.2% to 38.8%) while the separate bond issue was approved by a 644-369 vote (63.5% to 36.5%).

In late April, the Blytheville Police Department received a 48-hour notice to vacate and cease operations from a portion of their building due to hazardous conditions.

According to Blytheville Police Chief Ross Thompson, agents from the Arkansas Department of Labor came to inspect the police department on April 21.

Thompson said after the on-site inspection, state officials gave the city 48-hours to vacate the dispatch, patrol and lobby area of the building.

They were also given six months to completely move out of the old building.

"They found that it was imminent danger to the employees that operated out of a portion of this building," he said. "We had to be compliant within 48-hours and we were."

Thompson said they immediately took action by relocating our communications and patrol operations into the remaining portion of the building.

BPD was able to relocate to the second floor; which Thompson said was not affected by the 48-hour time limit.

However, Thompson said the portion that BPD had to vacate was also their 24-hour emergency service.

"With patrol officers, dispatch communications, we had some temporary holding cells," he said."When we would bring people in and book them in, that portion of the facility was what we had to stop those operations in."

To help solve this issue, Thompson said they were able to utilize some of the office space on the administrative half of building.

"We've relocated our lobby," he said. "It's still accessible 24-hours a day to the community. We have an intercom system that we will operate off of if somebody comes in and needs police services, and assign an officer to assists them."

Thompson said the Blytheville Police Department are looking to move into the National Guard Armory Building at 1700 S. Division Street. The bond issue will cover the cost of improvements to the building.

Mississippi County Election Commission chairman Tom Wiktorek said the commission will certify the vote at 10 a.m. Friday at the Moore Center.

Copyright 2017 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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